Entries by Craig Pickering

Sports Science Monthly – October 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. With the World Athletics Championships having just finished, the October Sports Science Monthly look at a plethora of new research on the sport featured recently in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, ranging from looking at injury data from the sport, pacing, and more.. We then also dive into additional topics like pillars of injury rehabilitation, developing mental toughness, and altitude training.

Sports Science Monthly – September 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the September Sports Science Monthly we look at the continuing debate on periodization and whether periodization is more effective than simply adding variation in training. We they dive into diverse topics such as injury risk, stress for university athletes, genetics, the effect of training time on strength adaptations, and more.

Quantifying the placebo effect in sports performance

Last month, I wrote about how the coach may act as a placebo, potentially exerting performance enhancing effects through a variety of means. The research discussed in that article was just s small part of recent efforts to better understand the influence of placebo effects on sporting performance. An upcoming special issue of European Journal of Sports Science aims to dig even more into the area, including another paper on the potential to further enhance our understanding of how placebo can affect performance.

Sports Science Monthly – August 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the August Sports Science Monthly we continue a discussion we started last month and look at monitoring in sports, specifically Acute Chronic Workload Ratio and its role in injury prediction. Then we look at microbes, caffeine, Nordics, and priming for performance.

The coach as a placebo

One area of sports performance that I constantly find myself fascinated with is that of placebo effects, and its related cousin, expectancy. I find it really interesting that an inert substance can exert clear performance enhancing effects, as this has potentially huge implications for sporting performance.

Sports Science Monthly – July 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. The amount of research in sports science has exploded, and for coaches in the trenches it can be hard to keep up on it all. That is one of the reasons we have put together the Sports Science Monthly, and we start off the July edition by looking at where coaches get their sports science information. After that we look into new research on small-sided games, re-examine training load monitoring, as well as looking into other topics.

For sprinters, losing fat may be better than gaining muscle

When it comes to sprint training, two critical factors are the amount of force that can be developed and the speed at which a certain threshold of force can be reached. In training, focus often gravitates to the first point through methods like plyometrics and weight-based resistance training. While weight training, if adequately programmed, has the ability to increase strength, and hence the amount of force an athlete can produce, there is also the potential (although this is currently somewhat contentious) that these increases in strength come along with increases in muscle size, commonly termed muscle hypertrophy. Because additional muscle adds additional mass, the athlete is therefore heavier, which, in turn, may slow the athlete down. As such, resistance training for sprinters is often a balancing act between improving strength and force, whilst minimizing unnecessary muscle hypertrophy. As a general rule, we want to get stronger, not bigger.

Sports Science Monthly – June 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the June Sports Science Monthly we start off by looking at new research on how parents can affect athlete development. We then give you the latest updates on how hormones change while recovering from exercise, mental health, collagen and tendon pain, functional movement screening, and more.

The words we use matter

If you’re a big athletics fan, and you have a good memory of semi-obscure sprinters, you may well have seen me race a couple of times. In bigger races, such as those at the Diamond League and major Championships, the camera pans across the competitors as they are introduced. Whilst it is the fashion these days to appear relaxed and jovial, earlier on in my career—in the immediate post-Maurice Greene era—athletes tended to be a bit more serious during this pre-race segment. If you go back and watch races from that period, you will often see athletes talking to themselves, and this is a technique I liked to utilize pre-race.

The definitive guide to what we do and do not know about caffeine and performance

Caffeine is a performance enhancing drug. If you’ve been following my articles over the last couple of years, you’ll no doubt be aware of that, because I write about it a lot. Athletes, of course, know that caffeine has the potential to enhance their performance, which is why many of them consume it prior to training and competition. Additionally, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) know that caffeine is a performance enhancing drug and are, rightly, concerned about the abuse of caffeine in sport.