Conor Deasy is a graduate of the Diploma in Personal Training and is now enrolled on the Certificate in Strength & Conditioning. Conor has been working with Dolphin RFC throughout the summer assisting with the S&C aspects of the senior men’s team who compete in the All Ireland League. They are coming towards the end of their preseason and the league is kicking off this month.

“Working with Dolphin RFC this season has been my first real introduction into the world of sports/S&C coaching. I managed to secure the role while still completing my Diploma in Personal Training and S&C at Setanta College. Although I felt slightly unprepared and maybe even overwhelmed by the opportunity I had been given, I was excited and looking forward to the challenge of it.  

The transition into becoming a part of the coaching team at Dolphin RFC was made easier through many conversations and pre-training run-throughs with the head coach, other rugby coaches, and the primary strength and conditioning coach. Talks with more experienced players and the physio team also helped to give me a better gauge of the club as a whole and settle into my role in the team.”

As you come towards the end of pre-season, what has been your biggest learning? And have you benefitted from being part of a coaching team that includes rugby coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and a medical team? 

My biggest learnings so far have been that your relationship-building skills are more important than your knowledge, and that preparation is key. From early on, I realized that I would only be a successful and effective S&C coach at Dolphin RFC by having a strong working and personal relationships with all involved in the club, from the Director of Rugby to the Players that I was charged with making bigger, stronger, and faster. My preparation before each training session and team meeting were also key to this. I knew the more prepared I was, the better I could perform as an S&C coach and be best placed to match the commitment and high standards of everyone involved with the team.    

What is the main focus pre-season and what does a typical week look like? 

There were two main focuses of preseason for S&C, building strength and reconditioning players after a prolonged off-season (due to Covid-19). Programs of anatomical adaption were incorporated prior to both strength and reconditioning programs to prepare players for an intensive preseason schedule and to ensure injuries were kept to a minimum. 

A typical week with the Dolphin RFC Senior Men’s Team: 

Monday  Gym Session 
Tuesday  Pitch Session 
Wednesday  Individual Gym Session 
Thursday  Pitch Session 
Friday  Off Day 
Saturday  Match/ Off Day 
Sunday  Off Day 


What is the most important skill you brought from Setanta College into your coaching? 

Although the multiple of modules and workshops I completed throughout my time at Setanta College have proved to be very useful, the most important skills of a coach I noticed from each of the Setanta workshop tutors are those of observation and listening. You can learn a lot about a player by just standing back and observing how they train and operate as part of a team. This also helps you to understand how to approach, talk to, and get the best out of each individual player.  

  1. Simplicity is key. If you can’t explain it in a clear and concise manner, it probably won’t work. 
  1. There are endless resources to help you, take advantage of them. 
  1. Be open to every coaching opportunity you get. The more experienced, the better. 
  1. You will never stop learning. 


What advice would you give to a student or graduate who is beginning their first coaching experience? 

  1. Be Prepared, be on time and regularly reflect on your performance as a coach. 
  1. Keep notes on everything. Even the smallest detail a player or coach mentions could help you to do a better job. 
  1. Constructive criticism can be very useful. There’ll always be something you can improve on. 
  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other students, lecturers, or workshop tutors for advice.