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Dr. Tom Comyns

PhD MSc BA

Biography

Tom joined the PESS Department in August 2015 as a lecturer in Human Movement Science. His research and teaching interests involve all aspects of Human Movement Science with a particular focus on Strength and Conditioning (S&C). Tom is a graduate of the PESS Department in UL. He has a BA in Physical Education (1996), an MSc in the area of motor skill acquistion (1999) and a PhD in the area of strength training for Rugby Union (2006). His research was funded by the IRFU and provided scientific evidence for optimising the potentiation benefits of complex training for Rugby players. Following the completion of his PhD, Tom worked as an S&C coach with Munster Rugby and the IRFU before taking up the post of Head of S&C at the Irish Institute of Sport, leading S&C provision and strategy for Ireland's Olympians and Paralympians. He is currently S&C coach to a number of Ireland's Olympic and Paralympic athletes. In addition, Tom is himself an Olympian and an accomplished Irish sprinter. He competed in the 4 x 100 m relay for Ireland at the Sydney Olympic Games.

Research Interests

Tom's research interests are in the area of Strength and Conditioning primarily. Currently Tom is undertaking research in the area of rugby injury surveillance, monitoring of training, strength and power diagnostics, pedagogy of the S&C coach and strength training interventions. Tom is collaborating with the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Irish Institute of Sport on these research projects. He is lead supervisor to three PhD students , including an IRC Enterprise PhD Scholar, and co-supervisor to three PhD students.

Tom is the principal investigator on two key research projects.
1. IRFU-UL Injury Surveillance project: This project will investigate the incidence of injuries within the domestic Rugby union game in Ireland. This research project is funded by the IRFU and commenced in September 2016 for an initial period of six years.
2. Irish Institute of Sport Strength and Power Diagnostic project: This project aims to develop and validate a bespoke strength and power diagnostic testing system for Irish Olympic and Paralympic athletes. This project is supported by an IRC Enterprise Scholarship.

Postgraduate Students - Current PhD Students:
Claire Brady: Development of a strength and power diagnostic system for use with Irish Olympic athletes. (IRC Scholar)
Richard Johnston: Injury surveillance within endurance sporting disciplines. (UL EHS Faculty PhD Scholar)
Caoimhe Tiernan: Monitoring in Rugby union. (PESS Department PhD Scholar)
Frank Nugent: High-intensity training in swimming. (Part-funded by the National Aquatic Centre Swimming Club)
Ciara Sinnott-O'Connor: Monitoring in Paralympic sports. (Funded by Paralympic Ireland)
Caithriona Yeomans: Injury surveillance in Rugby union. (Funded by the Irish Rugby Football Union)

Postgraduate Students - Current MSc (by research) Students:
Michelle Biggins: Monitoring and injury surveillance in GAA.
Eimear Cregan: Fundamental motor skill development in a community setting. (Funded by West Limerick Community and PESS Department, UL)

Teaching Interests

Currently teaching on the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences and BA in Physical Education. Tom's teaching interests are in Strength and Conditioning, Human Movement, Biomechanics, Fundamental Motor Skills, Athletics and Pedagogy. Currently teaching on the following modules:

BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences:
SS4411: Coaching Science (First year module)
SS4552: Immersion (First year module)
SS4308: Advanced Biomechanical Analysis (Fourth year module)

BA in Physical Education:
PY4083: Athletics
PY4102: Introduction to Fundamental Motor Skills
PY4112: Pedagogy of Health-Related Activity

Professional Activities

Employment

  • 2012 Irish Institute of Sport - Head of Strength and Conditioning
  • 2012 Dublin City University - Lecturer in Biomechanics
  • 2006 Munster Rugby - Strength and Conditioning Coach

Education

  • 2006 University of Limerick - PhD
  • 1999 University of Limerick - MSc
  • 1996 University of Limerick - Bachelor of Arts Education

Association

  • Accredited Strength and Conditoning Coach (ASCC), UK Strength and Conditioning Association
  • Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, Irish Institute of Sport
  • Member of the panel that evaluates applications by service providers for Professional Memnership of the Institute by service, Irish Institute of Sport, Professional Quality Assurance Programme Panel Member

Publications

Conference Publication

2016

Peer Reviewed Journal

2016

Effects of low volume, high-intensity training on performance in competitive swimmers: a systematic review
Frank Nugent, Tom Comyns, Emma Burrows, Giles Warrington
Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association

2010

The effect of squatting on sprinting performance and repeated exposure to complex training in male rugby players.
Comyns, TM; Harrison, AJ; Hennessy, L; Jensen, RL
Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research

2007

Identifying the optimal resistive load for complex training in male rugby players
Comyns, TM; Harrison, AJ; Hennessy, L; Jensen, RL
Sports Biomechanics DOI: 10.1080/14763140601058540

2006

The optimal complex training rest interval for athletes from anaerobic sports
Comyns, TM; Harrison, AJ; Hennessy, LK; Jensen, RL
Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research DOI: 10.1519/00124278-200608000-00003