We’ve all been there. Stood over the bath (or bin), full of ice, psyching ourselves up to get in and endure the minute of cold in order to improve our recovery.
Entries by Craig Pickering
Have you ever heard the phrase “you can’t teach speed”? In my youth, and despite my complete lack of any technical ability, I was reasonably effective at both soccer and rugby. Notice that I said effective, and not good. Playing rugby at school there actually was a pre-planned move which involved giving me the ball, and getting me to run without even considering passing until I either scored or was tackled. Playing soccer, I was moved to the wing, and my team would just punt the ball into space for me to run on to. No talent required. I was successful only because of my speed – I was already a national age group champion at that point. It was here that I would hear my teachers, coaches and team-mates comment “you can’t teach speed.”
But can you?
“All other things being equal . . . ” How often have you heard that phrase? Perhaps you’ve used it yourself? (If so, please stop). The most common situation I’ve heard it used is in regards to weight training: “All other things being equal, the strongest athlete will win.”
I’ve written extensively this month about the scientific process, methods, and study design. All of this has an effect on the results. But we also need to look at a few other aspects that impact our understanding of the results. In other words, we need to ask how we can become better consumers of scientific research. For that I have a few tips that can help with interpreting scientific findings.
Earlier this month I have discussed the scientific process and how to interpret results, but at some point we also have to look at whether the process that brought about the results was valid in the first place. In my last article, I discussed a study looking at HMB supplementation and explained how the fact that the subjects included no females and no trained athletes limited what conclusions could be drawn from the findings and applied to larger populations of people. But there was another larger issue with the study design: the study had no control group.
Last week I wrote about the scientific process, and what a scientific research paper entails. In this article we will take a closer look at some issues we need to consider when evaluating the results of a given study. Taking results at face value can sometimes be misleading, as we will see.
In recent years, coaching has become increasingly science led. Where once coaching was primarily about designing a training programme, knowing the correct technique (as taught to you by someone else) and getting results, in today’s world the coach has an increasing number of responsibilities. The internet has further allowed discussion on all factors of training, the result of which is that the modern coach is expected by his or her athletes to be up to date with the latest training research, periodization, strength training methods, nutrition, recovery modalities, and biomechanical factors affecting technique, to name but a few.