Is Sports Science Worth the Hype?

I doubt there is a high performance team, elite athlete or everyday sporting individual that does not employ sports science in one form or another. Why you ask? At first it may have been because all the “cool” teams or the greatest athletes were doing it. I can hear it being said in the hallways “ Well, they won the premiership, they must be doing something right”. Despite this fact, sports science is still one of the most undervalued practices in the sporting world. When implemented correctly, it can often be the difference between winning and losing crucial games or reaching your 1RM on a lift. Sports science is the way of the future and it is here to stay. The majority of you, however have probably never heard of this practice and are wondering how it applies to you in your everyday life. The truth is, it is all around you, you just aren’t aware of it yet. You may be just a regular individual who participates in physical activity to stay fit or you may be part of a sports team that implements a strict regime. Sports science is crucial to any training program and I am here to tell you why.

It’s all in the data

Whilst high performance teams implement fancy GPS equipment to monitor things like distances covered and heart rates, you can find similar equipment at your local rebel store.  You see the basis of sports science is collecting data and monitoring performances. Knowing where you started and what you have done to ensure your next performance is better. Performance monitoring systems like SportsMed Elite, Baseline and FitBox were developed to take this data in and “spit out” useful information. So pick up a FitBit, Garmen or be fancy and buy an Apple watch.  Yes they may not be 100% accurate but they will tell you everything you need to know in an understandable format.

Availability

Whilst many claim sports scientist claim they can reduce athlete injuries, the main aim of sports science is in fact to improve availability. Understanding load data will highlight injury risks and should allow for adjustments in training programs. So you might need to tone down the intensity of your exercise regime, ultimately though you there will be no need to stop training.

It’s been proven time and time again

Sports science can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, so there must be some truth to it. Noted Greek physicians wrote about the benefits of improving health through nutrition and strengthening muscles. Furthermore they documented training plans and diet considerations leading up to events such as the Olympics. Yes, sports science has come a long way since then however research is still and will continue to be conducted on its benefits in sport and exercise.  Just know that experts in these fields will continue to work towards understanding the human body and it’s response to physical activity.  

Time is money and money is time

In a high performance environment, clubs just can’t afford to have millions of dollars sitting on the sideline. For the everyday individual, being injured for any period may result in a loss of motivation, derailing fitness goals. Sports Science will help you understand how far you have run, how heavy you have lifted, how high you have jumped and how long you have gone for. This information will allow you, your trainers and your coaches to make informed decisions concerning your training programs.

The reality of it is, I am a sports scientist.

I love sport, studied it at university and went on to work for some of the biggest Rugby League teams in Australia. I was the in-between man, the link between data and coaches. I informed high performance teams of athletes displaying potential risk of injury and those who could be pushed a little harder. I watched these same athletes sitting on the sideline with injuries I felt like I could have prevented, if only they had just listened. You see, what I do is based on fact, not speculation. I could tell you how far an athlete had run, their heart rate at any point in training or during a game, their max speeds and their overall wellness scores. It is this information that created a picture and it is this picture that allowed me to determine whether athletes were available to train and compete.

With that being said, I can without a doubt say sports science and the hype surrounding it is 100% necessary. It can be the difference between winning and losing. It is the difference between millions sitting on the sideline or out on the field competing. It can be the difference between being injured for 6 months at a time or continuing through an exercise program.  

In this day and age it is essential to highlight how sport and physical activity can promote health and performance whilst understanding physiological responses to exercise.