Entries by Craig Pickering

Why Did Usain Bolt Lose?

Athletics fans love statistics, and I’m no different, which is why it was so exciting to hear that the IAAF and Leeds Becket University were to collaborate on a biomechanics project at the recent World Championships, giving us some insight into what makes up a world class performance in athletics. As the Championships finished last weekend, the first initial reports were released for the men’s 100m and 10,000m, men’s discus final, and women’s pole vault final, which you can find here. The extended analysis will come in time, but the initial analysis does contain plenty of interesting bits of information. As my athletics knowledge is primarily limited to the sprints, that is where I’ll focus. The initial report itself does a great job of presenting the pertinent points, but I hope to add a little extra context where possible.

Can You Repeat That Please?

You might not know it, but scientific research is facing a crisis. Swathes of previously accepted research findings are being called into question, as subsequent experiments have failed to reproduce the same findings as the original papers. This replications crisis is strongest in psychology, especially social psychology, but has roots in, and implications for, all branches of science. And as more coaches are looking for an edge in the latest scientific research and social pyschology findings, this has a large impact on coaching too.

The Biology of Our Behaviors

In sport, we’re defined as much by our failures as we are our successes. In my athletics career, I won a World Championships medal, a European Indoor Silver medal, a European under-23 Silver Medal, a European Junior 100m Gold medal, and numerous national senior and age group medals. I was selected for two Olympic Games and five World Championships across two different sports, and yet I’m still perhaps best known for being responsible for being responsible for the disqualification of Great Britain’s 4x100m relay team at the 2008 Olympics, in the event in which we were reigning Gold medalists.

Sports Science Monthly – July 2017

Welcome back to another monthly installment of our sports science round up. This month, we look at low carbohydrate, high fat diets; usually this is the context of endurance performance, but this time we look at it from the perspective of power performance. We also have an interesting case study of unexplained underperformance syndrome, commonly referred to as overtraining, and papers examining mechanisms underpinning muscle hypertrophy, stretching, chronotype, and the genetics of injury. As always, we finish with a quick fire round-up of other interesting papers that have caught my eye this month.

Gene Doping: A Primer

The standard story in life is that we have to play the hand we’re dealt. We can’t choose our genes, and so we have to make the most of what we have, optimizing our training techniques and lifestyle in order to reach our potential, whatever that might be. But this standard story is slowly changing and this might have a major impact on sport.

Sports Science Monthly – June 2017

Welcome back to another installment of sports science monthly. We kick off this month with a look at strength training frequency and how it might represent a worthwhile avenue for exploration in well-trained athletes looking to gain muscle. We also have a review article examining nutritional periodization, how beliefs can affect how much of an improvement you see from a sports supplement, a case report on rhabdomyolysis, and a look at a new model proposed to explain fatigue. Let’s get going.

Is There a Balance to Sports Training?

There has been a lot of talk about balance on this site over the past few weeks. Initially, Martin wrote about Peak Performance, ther new book from Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg. In his review, Martin discussed his own search for work-life balance, and how it may well be crucial in order to be successful. This article was followed up by “Balance and The Barbell Strategy”, which examines how a true balanced approach lies not in the middle, but at the two extremes.

Does Regular Caffeine Use Reduce Its Performance Enhancing Effects?

Caffeine is one of the world’s most widely used performance enhancing drugs. Its use within sport is also completely legal, and research tends to indicate that about 75% of all athletes consume some form of caffeine before competition. This should come as no surprise; caffeine reliably improves endurance performance, and, whilst its effects on power and strength performance are less clear, it’s certainly not negative.

Sports Science Monthly – May 2017

This month we take a look at new research on how genetic variations might affect psychological skills, the differences between physiological and biomechanical training load monitoring, synthetic tendons, and practical issues in sports nutrition. To start off with, however, we dive into the interplay between energy intake and overtraining syndrome.