Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sport Science

I love science, and I think sport science is a young area of science that does not get enough love. The innovations that have occurred in the last 60 years are mind blowing! In 1954 Roger Bannister ran the mile in under 4 minutes, a feat that at that time that was thought to be impossible. Now many athletes can run under 4 minutes for a mile. What does this have to do with anything?

Load management for me. 
As a coach and an athlete, running presents a lot of issues that need to be solved. The more data an athlete has the more the coach can manage the load placed on the athlete. Managing this load is such an interesting area - for me anyway. It is about bringing many factors together and making the most out of an athlete’s training time and recovery to produce the best possible level of fitness.

I could write ten blog posts on load management and only have covered the basics. Anyway, if the athlete gets overloaded at the wrong time injury can occur, and injury is the nightmare for every athlete and coach. So many factors within running contribute to possibility of injury. Load management and technique are major factors to be considered.  Managing both these factors is done normally by planning and checking data before and after training. Currently getting real time feedback is difficult, and mostly the coach has to be present in order to watch the athlete.

To help with this issue, step in sport science. A Spanish company, Kelme, have created “a prototype running shoe with an integrated device that improves training management and prevents injuries” (Science Daily, 2014). This device is in the shoe and relays information, in real time, to the athlete’s phone. This means when athlete is working on technique the coach no longer has to be physically present. Instead the shoe can tell the athlete when he or she has gone wrong and the athlete can fix the problem straight away.

The integrated device can also, it is hoped, help prevent injury by checking load and indicating if the gait pattern changes and it is advisable to stop. It could be like having your coach on your shoulder checking you are doing everything correctly according to the coach's instructions. This is just an awesome notion. Naturally time will tell if this works well or not, and it may or may not play out the way the Kelme company hopes. But to think we are at the point where sport scientists can assist everyone in sport and not just the elite is fantastic. What could be better than becoming a better, stronger athlete with less risk of injury!

Well done sport science! You Rock!

Science Daily. (2014). Device developed for running shoes that prevents injuries. Retrieved from

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