Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance
Health, Sport and Human Performance
- Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance
- Health, Sport and Human Performance
Watching Chiefs matches live, helping athletes improve their skills, and joining the team on overseas trips, Blair Mills is living the dream. The Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance student is the Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chiefs rugby team.
Having grown up playing the sport, Blair has long had a passion for rugby union, and has previously worked with the New Zealand Men’s Sevens team. He started working with the Chiefs in 2012, focussing the strength and power development of the Chiefs full-time squad. After deciding he wanted to develop a more robust knowledge base behind his experience, Blair decided to enrol in the University of Waikato’s Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance.
“Early on I met some key academics and quickly decided it was the right programme for me,” Blair says. “I am probably a more practically-minded person, so it was an enjoyable challenge and exciting opportunity to extend my theoretical knowledge and gain skills in academic writing.”
Blair’s thesis utilised floss bands as a means to restrict blood flow, aiming to determine whether some common athletic movements could be enhanced following the use of a floss band intervention, in an elite athlete setting. A relatively novel method in the performance setting, Blair enjoyed working with athletes to examine the potential impact of tissue flossing on ankle range of motion, vertical and horizontal force production.
“I have been able to apply some of my research to the team,” he says. “Some of the players have found flossing to be a useful method to enhance their preparation.”
Blair says the best part of his job is the people he works with. Watching the team perform on the weekend is a highlight, and he gets a real thrill when players get closer to reaching their potential.
“The work we do in the gym and on the field is designed to enhance the team’s on-field performance and ultimately help make them better rugby players. When a player beats another player one-on-one in the game or dominates a collision, it’s always very satisfying to see.”
“I have always had a passion for American sport, so that would be an exciting change to look into one day,” Blair says. “However, the quality and the ambition of the people I work with is of high priority and that will help determine the choices that I make in the future.”