University of Newcastle (UON) graduate, Sam Ellis, has managed to turn his childhood hobby into a full-time career.
He is now working with the Australian Sailing Team to improve their performance at major sporting events, including the Olympics.
Growing up in Lisarow on the Central Coast, Sam was about six when his dad first took him out sailing.
“Sailing has always been a huge part of my life and my dad bought me my own boat when I was 12. After that we drove all around the country towing my boat so I could race against the best competition in the country,” Sam said.
It was during these races that Sam learned what it took to gain a competitive advantage on the water and eventually led him to study a Bachelor of Exercise Sport Science at UON’s Ourimbah campus.
“I quickly learned that while being fit helped to win races, you also had to outsmart your competition, in both strategy and how you set your boat up to be better prepared for the conditions.
“When I got older I coached sailing on my weekends, which I loved. It was the combination of coaching and my own training that ultimately led me to choosing a Sport Science degree,” Sam said.
He now works as a Performance Analyst with the Australian Sailing Team (AST), developing new ways to collect and analyse data that will benefit the team.
“Essentially my role is to enhance the performance of our athletes and provide them with coaching tools to ultimately win medals for our country at the next Olympics.
“Current technologies are allowing us to look at things that have never been quantified before and it is up to my team to collect that data, analyse it and present it to our coaches in a way that will benefit our team,” Sam said.
Knowing how to collect and interpret data is an important part of Sam’s role and something he learned how to do during his studies.
“My degree definitely helped me develop the professional skills I needed to secure my dream job. While the course work helped me to develop my scientific writing, it was really the networking opportunities that helped me land the career I always wanted,” he said.