Entries by Craig Pickering

Sports Science Monthly – October 2020

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the October edition we start off looking at disordered eating in sport, including a look at prevalence, warning signs, and more. We then look at how training can be viewed in terms of creating synergies, monitoring training load in endurance athletes, integrated sports rehabilitation, game day priming, and more.

Developing strategic pillars for success

As the athletics season in the Northern Hemisphere comes to an end, many coaches will be evaluating how their athletes performed in the previous season, and then use this information to inform their training program for the coming, and future, seasons. This is similar to what businesses do frequently, particularly when it comes to developing a strategy to drive what they do on a daily basis towards a long-term, overall aim.

The mundanity of excellence

Successful athletes have an air of mystique about them. We spend time thinking about what it is that makes them successful; what is the one technique that they or their coach have found which has improved performance? What secrets have they uncovered that we haven’t?

The downsides of sticking with the plan

The SS Torrey Canyon was a massive Supertanker, almost 300 meters in length and 40 meters wide, that was first launched in 1958. In early 1967, the ship left Kuwait, loaded with oil and headed for Milford Haven, a port in Wales. The route took the ship past the Scilly Islands, which are located around 24 miles west of the coast of Cornwall. When sailing towards Milford Haven, ships can choose to go west of the Isle of Scilly, into the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean, or to the east, squeezing between Cornwall and the Isles. The eastern route is much faster–as it is a straighter line between two points–but the narrow channel has a variety of navigational hazards, the most famous of which is the Seven Stones reef. At nearly two miles in length, and one mile wide, the reef is a well-known danger, responsible for over 200 wrecks in its history.

Sports Science Monthly – August 2020

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the August edition we start off looking at some lessons we can learn from a recent editorial giving an elite athlete’s perspective on training and load management. We also look at the modern consensus on hamstring injury risk, coaching resilience, how the athlete biological passport has impacted performance, team comedians, and more.

The effects of lockdown on performance

As we’re all aware, the majority of the world is currently in a somewhat unprecedented state of lockdown. In some countries, this lockdown is beginning to ease, whilst in others—as I write this, particularly the US—the rates of infection are growing, suggesting that lockdown periods may continue in the future. As lockdown restrictions start to ease further, we will likely see an increase in localized lockdowns, in which smaller, local areas are subjected to increased restrictions due to local outbreak clusters as was recently announced for Melbourne.

Sports Science Monthly – July 2020

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the July edition we start off by taking a look at some lessons coaches can learn from medicine in dealing with COVID-19. In addition, we break down the latest research on hamstring strength asymmetry, resilience, willpower, nitrate supplementation and more.

Putting performance health into perspective

At the start of this article series, I wrote that my athletics career was a series of moderate successes punctuated by significant injuries, and that, over time, my performance became increasingly hampered by the long term effects of these injuries. As someone who has lived through the frustration of this process—and indeed, was forced to retire from professional sport because of it—I want to be able to help others avoid what afflicted me.

The importance of coach health and wellbeing

So far we’ve looked at athletes as the cornerstone of performance optimization, and perhaps rightly so; after all, it is the athlete who has to perform on competition day. However, an important component of getting an athlete to the point at which they are able to perform at their best is the coach.