Despite the fact I am on holiday, it has been quite a busy time. With my team we managed to get another paper accepted and published reviewing performance demands of Squash with particular reference to young athletes. The paper is available on the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching.
I was in Berlin for a couple of days during the European Athletics Championships to give a lecture and participate in a fireside chat on using Sports Science effectively in Sport. The invitation came from the European Athletics Federation and it was a great initiative from Frank Dick and his collaborators to develop some professional development opportunities during major events. The initiative hopefully is the first one of many and it was called European Athletics Coaches Club, details can be found here. It was great to catch up with many friends in the Athletics community, contribute to the discussions, and get to see Charles Van Commenee again after our time in British Sport and listen to his approach to coaching high performers as well as chat about recent success of Dutch women in Team Sports. I had the chance to also attend the evening session on the 9th of August and experience the wonderful Olympic Stadium in Berlin. What an amazing facility and great atmosphere.
Finally, the Podcast I recorded with Michael Gervais some time ago was made available on iTunes. I am a big fan of Michael’s Finding Mastery Podcast and the people he has interviewed on this topic are pretty amazing. So, It is pretty humbling to be considered for this, and it was for me a great exercise in reflecting on my personal journey and how lucky I was in meeting some pretty amazing people as well as experiencing incredible opportunities.
If you want to subscribe to the podcast just go here. If you want to hear the podcast, just go on this webpage.
We finally got this paper accepted and published reporting the influence of an 8weeks training programme consisting of combined strength training and running activities on young middle-distance runners of Aspire Academy. We have reported all training data and outcomes using MBI approach and effect sizes. Hopefully this little snapshot will provide more opportunities to do more in analysing training interventions in young athletic cohorts and more comparative data will become available.
I have been reading a lot about new technologies recently. Mostly because I am working on some textile wearable tech projects and also because I believe it is important to understand where this field is taking us to be able to make a difference with athletes. Rapid feedback and the ability to analyse performance “in-vivo” it has always been my passion, and I can see the future of our profession being very similar to the scenes we see in Formula 1. Of course, I still think the human element of informing/working with coaches and athletes is of paramount importance for successful implementation, but if we want to be ahead of the game, we need to know what’s coming and try to implement it as quickly as possible.
For this reason, I have always been reading scientific papers in various areas of knowledge to understand what other experts are doing and how their findings can help us moving forward. A couple of papers caught my eye in the last couple of weeks.
First, this paper form John Rogers’ group on a “Miniaturized Battery-Free Wireless Systems for Wearable Pulse Oximetry” published on advanced science news showing what is possible to do with flexible tiny sensors mounted on the fingertip.
This is a pretty impressive device, millimeter-scale, battery-free optoelectronic systems capable of capturing photoplethysmograms and quantitative information on blood oxygenation, heart rate, and heart rate variability transmitting data wirelessly and battery free. While this is still experimental work, the potential for such device in the sporting domain could be quite amazing also linking it to there sensors for a true body sensor network.
The other work is a review on the same journal covering the recent advances in bio integrated optoelectronics devices. The papers shows some pretty impressive epidermal electronics devices capable of measuring various physiological aspects.
Finally a paper published on Scientific Reports few months ago on a new paradigm in sweat based biosensors which provides a promising new approach and another paper on the same journal on a portable biosensor to measure cortisol.
Minimally invasive methods and wearable sensors are the only way to improve our understanding of sports performance in elite athletes, so definitively more is better. However, we still need platforms capable of working well in the “real world” and not in laboratory conditions as well as valid, reliable and practical tools to provide relevant information for influencing training/nutrition/recovery paradigms. Until then, we need to read with interest, but be careful that sometimes promising technologies may not be as good as they look like on paper (unicorns can only be found in fairy tales).