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Sports Science Monthly – June 2020

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the June edition we take a deep dive into several articles on building mental toughness and resilience in training. Mental toughness is a term that is thrown around a lot, but without many coaches knowing exactly what it is or how to train it. We then look at the importance of individualized recovery, and how coaches commonly monitor athletes. Read more

Improving athlete immune function and support

I generally consider myself to be pretty hardy and robust, rarely suffering from illness. However, when I was selected to compete at the 2007 World Championships, I came down with a really bad cold in the pre-competition holding camp, which affected my training for about a week. In 2009, the week of the European Indoor Championships, I again had a terrible cold. In 2005 and 2011, I also was hit with really bad colds in the days before running my seasons best times. Maybe I just remember those colds because they’re linked to an important event I was taking part in, but an increasing body of research shows I was not alone and that athletes become increasingly susceptible to illnesses in the run up to major competitions.

» Learn more: This article is part 4 in Craig Pickering’s Performance Health Series. Part 1 discussed the concept of performance health, part 2 reviewed leading injury models, and part 3 explains load and load measurement. Read more

Understanding and measuring load in sport

In the previous article, I wrote about a variety of different models that better help us explain and understand why injuries occur. As a quick refresher, we typically have a predisposed athlete, who finds themselves in a local environment that increases their susceptibility, and they then have an inciting event which causes the injury itself. Central to many of these models is the concept of stress or load placed on the athlete. This installment of the Performance Health series looks to help coaches understand external and internal load, and what that means to coaches. Read more

The case for performance health

More and more research shows that an athlete’s availability to train and compete is a leading factor in elite performance. In looking back at my own career, this was certainly the case. Throughout the month I will be presenting a 9-part series on performance health. In other words, what factors can increase an athlete’s availability to do what is needed for performance. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – May 2020

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. Players are key partners in building a team culture, and their contributions depend a lot on their informal roles. The first article we look at in this month’s edition breaks down key traits of cultural architects, which can assist coaches in developing their own team culture. Then we look at  ecological dynamics, acute:chronic workload ratio, training time, and more. Read more

Going backwards to move forwards

It’s a common saying in life that sometimes we have to take a few steps backwards in order to move forward. However, Aaron Uthoff, a researcher based in New Zealand, has been taking this literally with his recent research on backwards running, the findings of which we might all be able to utilize in our practice as a means of enhancing performance. Read more

But can you coach?

You have graduated with a degree in exercise science, you got you masters in exercise Bioenergetics and were a GA in the weight room at State U working with a leader in the field, Benjamin J. Bicep. You have done three internships with professional teams. You have every certification offered so that you have more letters after your name that letters in the alphabet. You know the Krebs cycle forward and backward, you can tell me the how the fascicle length changes with each exercise. Read more

April 2020 in review: legs, legs, legs

As with any area of training, when it comes to training the legs we often fall back to our same training routines and exercises. That’s a shame since it is one of the most fundamental aspects of training. We wanted to help coaches get out of that rut this month by exploring some different ways to train the legs. Through the month we published 12 new articles, 2 new videos, and 1 new podcast on the topic from a 9 different contributors. Read more

Studying the effects of bilateral vs. unilateral training

Rightly, or, as some people would argue, wrongly, resistance training is a major component within the training programs of most sports. We know from research that improvements in strength tend to lead to improvements in physical performance—such as sprint speed or jump height—and, in many cases, injury resilience. But how specific does that resistance need to be? Read more

Using the hamstrings to better assess ACL return to sport readiness

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a common sports-related injury. While conservative treatments are available, the most common treatment for sports population is the surgical reconstruction of the ligament and it is increasingly common to use hamstrings tendons autograft is such operations. 1,2,3,4,5 Read more