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Study Abroad

Visit the W5 in Belfast

November 27, 2019

W5 Belfast's Museum of Science and DiscoveryToday we visited the W5 in Belfast. The W5 is Belfast's Museum of Science and Discovery, and November is Discovery month in the city. We left this morning around 9am and walked about a mile through the city to where the W5 is located next to the SSE Arena on the Belfast Harbor. The building was absolutely massive. It consisted of a museum of science, children play areas, lecture halls, the Hockey rink, where the Professional Hockey team, the Giants of Belfast play and so much more.

For the first two hours we sat through two lectures, the first was by Rick McCann. His lecture was about different performance enhancement equipment and how they affect athletes' abilities to compete in their sport. Specifically, he was demonstrating the application of STEM to athletic performance. This lecture was extremely interesting discussing how the design of a runner's shoe can maximize their performance and help them to decrease fatigue by creating efficiency in athletic performance. He also discussed the effects of intensity and volume of practices for professional soccer players and how harder, more intense practices with less days of recovery negatively effect their ability to play in games.

The second lecture was done by our very own Dean Cris Haverty and Professor Ron Laham. They discussed the different types of models of the hierarchy in maximizing athletic performance services and the various professionals involved in the process. They discussed how an athlete's career and ability to perform is based off of their entire team that is behind them, including coaches, doctors, athletic trainers, sports psychologists, educators, and more. The presentation included a comparison of different operational delivery models that create a plan to help support a student-athletes holistically, as both a student and a competitive athlete.  At the end of the presentation we had small group discussions with students from Ulster University to discuss the merits of each operation model. We quickly learned in our conversations with Ulster University students that they do things very differently in Northern Ireland and definitely do not support student-athletes the same was US colleges and universities do.  

After a morning of lecture with students from Ulster University, Shane Johnson, the organizer of the Friendship Four Hockey Tournament took us on a tour of the arena and hockey rink. We got to go behind the scenes and see the locker rooms and the underground area. Learning how the rink gets turned over for off-the-ice events was very interesting because so much work goes into it. We also got to see a demonstration of a virtual reality simulator for hockey goalies. This technology is useful because it tracks the goalie's movements and interprets the data. If goalies can see where they need to be and what they are doing wrong at a deeper level it will be more effective than regular film analysis. Lastly, to wrap up our day at the W5 and SSE Arena, we got to watch a bit of the Colgate Raiders hockey team practice which got us all excited for the next few days as the hockey tournament gets closer!

Belfast Giants              Fish Scuplture               Scuplture