Joshua Pereira

Joshua Pereira

Bachelor of Sport and Recreation (Honours) student
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Sport and Exercise Science

As a promising tennis player and fan of all things sport, Joshua Pereira has long been captivated by the science and technology behind athletic performance. Studying sport and recreation at AUT enabled him to further his understanding of how the smallest of margins can determine an athlete’s success.

“I’ve played competitive junior tennis and at one point was ranked in the top 10 juniors in the country, with the goal to make it onto the professional tour. Though this hasn’t come into fruition, I believe that my journey at AUT has promoted new horizons through the resources and practical learning environment offered. I wanted to grasp the concepts and theoretical underpinnings within the field of sport science. From a practical point of view, I recognised that gaining a deeper insight into the current principles and key learnings would make me better equipped as I pursue my renewed goal of making my name in the performance analysis sector.

“Performance analysis is currently a niche field, particularly in tennis, which I foresee as my industry of choice as I look to enter the workforce next year. I’d love to assist tennis players on the professional tour, completing stats and video reports, finetuning their games plans and conducting oppositional analysis.”

In addition to his dream of working in performance analysis, he is also interested in trying his hand at a few entrepreneurial ventures, says Joshua who expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation (Honours) at the end of the year and has already been recognised for his entrepreneurial ideas at the 2020 AUT X-Challenge entrepreneurship competition.

Working with the best
The workplace experience as part of his bachelor’s degree has been one of the highlights of his studies, Joshua says.

“Having the opportunity to work within national sporting organisations and teams gave me a platform to apply the knowledge I gained in the classroom and refine it in a high-performance sporting context. I’ve been able to network with influential members of the field and gain insights into the current industry environment, while identifying areas where I can potentially add value to in the future.”

After completing his Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in 2019, he is now enrolled in a year-long honours degree and enjoys being able to carry out his own research.

“AUT is recognised as one of the top universities for sports science in Australasia, and I knew that the papers offered at the postgraduate level would continue to stimulate my understanding and take my knowledge to the next level. The opportunity to continue to be mentored by leaders in the field and draw on their expertise was also difficult to pass up.

“My first semester of the honours degree has been truly enriching, and the papers have given me a deeper awareness of research methodologies and effective strategies to analyse, critique and employ current literature within my assessments. This programme will not only provide me with skills for my academic journey, but will also lay a foundation as I look to break the mould and take sporting performance to future heights through sports analysis.”

The impact of emotions in tennis
For his honours degree research, Joshua is exploring how emotions can affect athletic performance.

“The influence of negative emotions hasn’t been extensively analysed in tennis, despite there being a clear correlation between this notion and adverse effects upon sporting performance. My research will examine the impact that frustration and anger can have on tennis performance in elite junior tennis players. This will be achieved by analysing both internal and external anger to substantiate the true effect of negative emotion from a results-based perspective.

“In the final year of my Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, I completed workplace experience with Tennis New Zealand and I maintain a good working relationship with the organisation. A goal of my research is to increase Tennis New Zealand’s understanding of the extent to which emotion can impact an elite junior tennis athlete’s performance, and raise athlete awareness of the need for emotional regulation. The participants and their coach will be provided with key analytical information they can incorporate into coaching practices and upcoming tournaments.”

Joshua’s research is supervised by Dr Kirsten Spencer and Associate Professor Simeon Cairns from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation, and he says he feels fortunate to have access to their knowledge and support.

Advice for other students
He would highly recommend AUT’s sport programmes to other students, says Joshua who received an AUT Vice-Chancellor’s Significant Student Scholarship to support his studies.

“If you have a passion for the sport sector and are motivated to take your knowledge and practical experience to the next level, AUT is the place for you. As students we can easily engage with staff and have meaningful discussions about assessment work, internships, thought-provoking research or new avenues for learning. The welcoming nature and positive learning environment that provides a pathway for students to become great graduates is a true credit of AUT’s proactive culture.”

Staying motivated is important, he adds.

“If I was to reinforce one piece of advice for prospective students, it would be to highlight the importance of confidence and staying motivated for the task at hand. Be prepared to work hard, put in the effort and don’t miss the chance to impress because you never know where it could lead.”

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