Shannon O'Donnell

Performance Analyst, Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance with Honours
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Health, Sport and Human Performance
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship
  • Summer Research Scholarship with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

Shannon O’Donnell has always loved sport, and was instantly drawn to the University of Waikato’s Health, Sport and Human Performance programme. Now, with a bachelors, honours and PhD behind her, Shannon is a performance analyst for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

Shannon came to the University of Waikato on the Sir Edmund Hillary scholarship, recognising her achievements in netball and barefoot water-skiing. She kept herself busy, living in College Hall, playing netball for the Waikato and Bay of Plenty representative teams, interning for the Waikato Rowing Performance Centre, and tutoring 100-level papers. Shannon managed all this while maintaining high grades throughout her Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance.

“Balancing all of my commitments was a challenge, but I really enjoyed what I was learning,” Shannon says.

After completing her undergraduate and honours degrees, Shannon received a summer research scholarship to work with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic for ten weeks, researching the impact of recovery strategies on the performance of elite athletes. For the keen netballer, the scholarship was a dream come true, so when the opportunity arose to continue working with the Magic for her PhD research, Shannon jumped at the chance.

“Being able to work with the Magic was one of the highlights of my time at university,” Shannon says. “It was great to be able to apply the theory I was learning in class to a real-life situation.”

Shannon soon scored her current job as the Magic’s performance analyst. Her role involves attending the team’s training sessions and games, and analysing the statistics and video work for each game. She enjoys working with the team to improve their overall performance.

“I love being part of a bigger team – we all have our roles to play. Although we try not to be too numbers-focussed, it’s really rewarding when the things we have been working on start to take shape in a game.”

Shannon has developed a love for both high performance sport and academia, and her dream job combines the two disciplines.

“I would love to work at the Adams Centre for High Performance one day, combining research with the practical side of the industry. It’s an exciting time to be in Hamilton right now, as a lot of high performance sport is being centralised in this area.”

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