GAINcast Episode 219: Performance teams (with David Martin)

Sports science has changed a lot in the last few decades. In some regards it has grown, but it has also become watered down in many ways. On this week’s GAINcast David Martin joins us to discuss how teams can perfect the performance equation, get the most out of sports science, and lessons from the NBA, cycling, and even Jane Goodall.

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Notes and quotes

Dr. David Martin is currently the Chief Scientist and Director of Performance for the startup APEIRON Life. Prior to that he spent four seasons as the Director of Performance Research and Development for the Philadelphia 76ers. Martin began his career at the Australian Institute of Sport after receiving his PhD in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming. Martin remained at the Australian Institute of Sport for 20 years, working with both Winter and Summer Olympians, eventually rising to the level of Senior Sport Scientist.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 3:30 – Background and development as from his studies, to sports science, coaching, and startup life.
  • 11:00 – The golden era of AIS and meeting Vern for the first time.
  • 21:00 – What is sports science? “Any person with a degree who can put a heart rate monitor on an athlete is now considered a sports scientist. Historically, a lot of the great advice that came to coaches came from doctors or professors that loved sport, but they were curious souls. Now we try to carve out a more defined role for job security.”
  • 25:00 – Being a generalist and coordinating a performance team: “An F1 team might have 300 people supporting the driver, but only one person is going to talk to the driver in the cockpit.”
  • 30:15 – Fear of missing out “The sports scientist is there to keep you sharp. You might feel too comfortable in your roll, but a good scientist will ask challenging questions and have the facility to help while everyone else is doing their job.”
  • 35:00 – More lessons from Formula One.
  • 41:15 – The Cardiff conference and Goodall conference and moving from the lab to the field: “One lesson from Jane Goodall is that what we see in the field does not mimic what we see in the lab.”
  • 50:00 – Performance team staff dynamics: “Small teams don’t need tons of emails and communication. They need respect. If I respect you I don’t need emails. If I don’t respect someone I all the emails in the world won’t make it work.”
  • 52:45 – NBA experience and lessons.
  • 57:15 – Challenges with injury rehabilitation: “Don’t give me your injury statistics to show how good your team is. Grass huts are fine in southern Florida until the wind comes. Let’s see the hurricane come and see who is standing. If you have 5 or 6 injured athletes how do you work together to bring them back?”

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • Our monthly GAIN Master Class Series features speakers from all aspects of performance. We just announced the lineup for next season starting in July 2021 and opened up registration. You can learn more here.
  • The GAINcast is also sponsored by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • You can follow Martin on Twitter (@davidtmartin). His published research is also up on ResearchGate.
  • The topic of coordinating a performance team and the role of sports science was discussed on GAINcast 63 and GAINcast 200 with Steve Ingham, GAINcast 196 with Dave Reddin, and GAINcast 134 with Tony Strudwick. Vern also shared his own thoughts on GAINcast 27.