Understanding and enhancing sports performance

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Understanding and enhancing sports performance


Sports performance, at both the elite and participatory levels, requires the coordinated efforts of athletes, coaches, scientists and other professionals. One of the primary areas of focus for Sport and Exercise Science research is examining and determining the scientific bases of sports performance.

These research outcomes can be usefully applied to assessing and enhancing athletes' current physical capacities. Research into human performance focusses on assessing how the human body moves, both internally through the muscles and skeletal system, and how this movement is executed externally. We use the same techniques and principles when looking at improving the performance of an Olympic athlete or when understanding how a novice is learning a new sporting skill – the objective is the same ‘How do we help them perform better?’

Some of the research has resulted in the developing national test protocols for the Australian Paralympic swimmers and real-time swimming race analysis (with Swimming Australia and the QAS).

Athletes and coaches constantly try to balance the intensity and frequency of their training to obtain the greatest enhancement in performance. If the intensity and frequency is too low the maximum potential performance gains will not be achieved. If the training is too stressful the athlete can become ill and under perform. By monitoring the biomarkers of stress and overtraining, the intensity of training can be better managed and optimised for performance.

Understanding and enhancing sports performance is of particular interest to sporting clubs, coaches, individual athletes from adolescence through to Masters level, school sports and physical education programs.

  • Performance Analysis of Paralympic Swimming
  • The Biomechanical Foundations of Agility Performance in Rugby Union
  • Effect of cold water immersion on cardiovascular dynamics and performance recovery in elite athletes
  • The Use of Micro-Electrical Mechanical Systems Technology to Assess Gait Characteristics
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