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Sports Science Monthly – April 2021

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. This month’s topic lines up with the April site theme on HMMR Media: coaching excellence. We share some research on serial winning coaches, pursuing mastery in coaching, as well as other topics like exercise dependence and genetic testing.

The psychological attributes of elite coaches

When we think about sports psychology, we typically think about how we can best prepare athletes to perform at their best in competition, and to be in a state of mental wellbeing across their careers. However, in doing so, we miss out a crucial person in the athlete development process: the coach. Coaches spend a lot of time with their athletes, and so can be a massive influence; they are also, in their own right, “performers” who can (and do) strive to be elite, just like their athletes.

Sports Science Monthly – March 2021

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. This month’s topic lines up with the March site theme on HMMR Media: sprinting. We have some new research on why sprint times slow with age, hamstring exercises for sprinting, and sex-specific injuries in running. In addition we also review some new research on sleep, predicting performance, and much more.

What makes the difference in a championship?

This weekend’s European Indoor Championships marks the return of championships to track and field. After nearly 18 months without a major championship, both athletes and fans will get a reminder about what championships are all about. Performing well at a major championship is the main goal of any elite athlete, because, when they look back at their career, it is the medals that they will count the most. Asafa Powell may have run under 10 seconds nearly 100 times, but he’s remember just as much for the fact he never won a major title. Optimizing performance on the day of competition is therefore of critical importance, and a lot of time is spent—or at least should be spent—developing strategies to support competition day performance.

Microtesting: rethinking your testing strategy to improve your decision making

A hot topic in training is that of microdosing: how can we provide very small doses of stress to provide meaningful adaptations within a training session or program? That’s the theme on HMMR Media this month. But what if, instead of thinking of microdosing through the prism of training, we think about microdosing athlete testing? Would it be better to embed small tests into training regularly rather than doing a large slate of test every month or two?

Sports Science Monthly – February 2021

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. This month we start with a look at how well genetics can be used to predict talent. Then we move on to the latest research on changing team culture, mental health, performance management, and how coaches learn.

Improving decision making in sport

Sport is full of decisions: from the tactical decisions made by a soccer player, to training decisions made be a coach, or funding decisions made by a governing body. Making decisions in sport is hard, because sporting environments are typically highly complex. But new models on decision making help us better understand the decision making process and how to improve it.

Sports Science Monthly – January 2021

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. To kick of 2021 we’ve put together one of our biggest editions yet, reviewing 12 new articles on a range of topics from a critique of data-driven coaching, repeatability of training improvements, caffeine periodization, crowd wisdom, and what coaches can learn from hunter gatherers.

On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B

A new year means new goals and targets for many teams. While targets can help motivate and orient a team, coaches need to make sure their targets are pointing athletes in the right direction. A poorly chosen target might reward the wrong behavior, and history has given us countless examples of this happening.

Craig Pickering’s top reads of 2020

At the end of each year, I like to do a round-up of the books I read over the preceding 12 months, as it often serves to remind me of some key ideas and concepts. In 2019, I read 50 books, and in 2018 it was 59; this year it was 56. Here’s the list of what I enjoyed the most or found the most useful; hopefully it’ll provide some good recommendations for you to get stuck into in 2021.