Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Biomedical and Sports Science
As sports scientists, we claim to make a signifi cant contribution to the body of knowledge that infl uences athletic practice and performance. Is this the reality? At the inaugural congress of the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science, a panel of well-credentialed academic experts with experience in the applied environment debated the question, Does sports-science research influence practice? The fi rst task was to defi ne “sports-science research,” and it was generally agreed that it is concerned with providing evidence that improves sports performance. When practices are equally effective, sports scientists also have a role in identifying practices that are safer, more time effi cient, and more enjoyable. There were varying views on the need for sports-science research to be immediately relevant to coaches or athletes. Most agreed on the importance of communicating the results of sports-science research, not only to the academic community but also to coaches and athletes, and the need to encourage both short- and long-term research. The panelists then listed examples of sports-science research that they believe have infl uenced practice, as well as strategies to ensure that sports-science research better infl uences practice.