Within sport, everyone is now looking at prediction. Coaches, athletes, and support staff are all searching for methods to predict various outcomes, such as injury, talent, performance, or training adaptation. The ability to successfully predict within these areas would obviously be hugely advantageous. Injury prediction could allow you to make interventions to stop that from happening. Talent prediction can allow teams to better focus resources. Predicting adaptations would allow coaches to design better training blocks or alter them based on the predicted response. In other words, prediction is the holy grail of sports science.
Entries by Craig Pickering
Elite athletes are different from normal humans. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those of us involved in sport, especially if we’ve spent time around such athletes and seen their advantages close up. In my time as an athlete, I saw some very impressive feats from some highly talented athletes – huge single leg box jumps, massive lifts in the gym, and, in one case, someone doing 40 pull-ups in under 40 seconds. As the influence of science within sport grows, coaches and support staff are spending more time reading research papers, and using the information contained within to guide their practice. However, there is a potential issue within such practice that doesn’t always get the consideration it perhaps deserves: most of these studies aren’t carried out on elite athletes.
This month’s theme on HMMR Media is around the personalization and individualization of performance. Typically, this focuses on the physical side, but at the start of this month I wrote about how a focus on differences in stress tolerance—a largely psychological aspect—might guide individualized training a bit more. But there is another area where we can turn our attention; that of ergogenic aids such as caffeine. Towards the end of last year I co-authored a paper with John Kielyon factors that might impact the individual response to caffeine intake in athletes. In this article, I want to expand on that topic, and discuss how athletes and coaches might use this information in a real-world setting.
Welcome back to another edition of Sports Science Monthly. This month, we take a closer look at monitoring post-match fatigue, the debate on hamstring muscle action, mindfulness, warming up, travel, and more.
This month’s topic on HMMRMedia is the individualization of training. The one size fits all model is a thing of the past; both scientific research and hard won experience have shown the need to individualize training. But many coaches still struggle to figure out how to start with individualization.
In recent years, the individualized training movement has grown in momentum. Coaches no longer debate the need to individualize training; instead we often focus on the best methods for individualization. Individualizing the training process is something that is very interesting to me. My doctoral thesis is built around how of genetic testing may prove useful in the development of individualized training programs. Another area that I want to look into here is that of stress, the individual response to stress, how this affects our psycho-emotional state, and how that can alter our training responses.
When we go to the doctor, we’re usually either sick or worried that something might be wrong with us. We make the trip in the hopes that we’ll be reassured or cured. What we don’t realize is tha the trip itself might play the most important role in getting better. Recent research has shown us that it is often the very act of interacting with a medical professional, or the thought that our concerns have been taken seriously, is enough to make us feel better.
Welcome back to another edition of Sports Science Monthly. This month, we take a closer look at warm downs, ice baths, carbohydrates, and some new findings regarding sleep in athletes.
It’s easy to fall into the trap as a coach of focusing primarily on physiology and biomechanics when carrying out your sessions, as these aspects are often easy to quantify, as well as giving us an illusion of prediction, increasing our confidence in the outcome. But, as is always the case, things are rarely that simple. New research continues to show how athlete choice can help a program’s effectiveness.
Every year, Edge.org asks a question to a number of eminent thinkers in science, and in 2008 the question was “What have you changed your mind about.” The answers were compiled into a book, and many of the contributors to describe changes – some small, some major – in their thinking about either their field or the world at large.