A2 PE - Chapter 1

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Sports Science

Three Main Areas:

·         Physiology, Psychology, Biomechanics

How Sports Science Helps

·         In depth discussion between athlete and the coach

·         Considers individual needs of the athlete

·         Examines area of performance most important to the athlete

·         Using specific assessments (Fitness Testing)

·         Information from regular assessments compared to previous results to check progress


Sports science is applying the principles of science, most notably biomechanics, psychology and physiology, to sports to enhance sporting performance of an athlete

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Analysis of human movement, examines interaction between athlete and the equipment

Roles of Biomechanical analysis:

·         Safety – Protection from injury

·         Effectiveness – Maximization of output

·         Efficiency – Economy of energy expenditure

Helps athlete develop better and more efficient techniques to ensure high level of performance and reduce risk of injury

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Analysis of human body, how an athlete’s body responds and adapts to exercise


-          Exercise training, training programmes, optimise training objectives, ensure they follow prescribed training programmes

Physiological Support:

·         Lab and field testing

·         Identify training zones

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Analysis of human mind, examines how thoughts and emotions can influence an athlete’s behaviour

Possible areas of work:

·         Coping with injury, performance/lifestyle issues, counselling, team building

·         Confidence, motivation, leadership, pre-performance routines, goal setting

Additional Support Roles:

·         Sports Vision Specialist: Optimising visual activity, enhance hand-eye co-ordination and peripheral vision

·         Sports Podiatrist: Analyses how feet strike the ground, refine technique and highlight any mechanical problems

·         Nutritionist: Analysis of athletes diet, assists athlete in choosing right food and fluids

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The Perfect Model

2 Ways To Analyse Perfect Model

STER (Start Position, Transition, Execution, Recovery)

Golf Drive: Start parallel to the ball stood upright, swing the club and strike through the ball, strike through, follow through then return club to normal

HBALT (Head position, Body Position, Arm action, Leg action, Total body efficiency)

Rugby Conversion: Head position down to personal preference, body upright, arms swung to help with power, one leg planted while kicking the ball, total body to stay strong and not make sudden movements

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National Agencies

Role Of National Agencies

·         Coaching, medical and scientific support has become essential

·         Sport plays an increasingly important role in most societies around the world, so governments developed elite sports programmes/national training centres to help athletes improve

·         Increase media attention, prestige of sport and national success

2 Models Of Support

CENTRALISED – Support via state, central body, public sector funding (e.g. Australia, France)

DECENTRALISED – No single agency, higher education system support, scholarships (e.g. USA)

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Ergogenic Aids


“Substances or devices that enhance energy production, use or recovery, and might provide athletes with a competitive advantage”

Types Of Ergogenic Aids





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Ergogenic Aids Benefits

Purpose Of Ergogenic Aids

1)      Enhance Physical Power – Increase muscle tissue, increase energy supplies

2)      Enhance Mental Strength – Decrease any factors that interfere with optimal mind strength

3)      Enhance Mechanical Edge – Improve human body biomechanics

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Drugs and Supplements


Supplements: Legal additions to an athlete’s diet, Dietary and nutritional supplements most widely used in sports

WADA have identified 3 factors that influence legality:

·         If they physically enhance performance

·         If they are detrimental to the health of the athlete

·         If they conflict with the spirit of the sport (Very Contentious Issue)

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Blood Doping

Blood Doping

Blood doping is defined by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) as the misuse of techniques and/or substances to increases ones red blood cell count. Most commonly this involves the removal of two units (approximately 2 pints!) of the athletes blood several weeks prior to competition. The blood is then frozen until 1-2 days before the competition, when it is thawed and injected back into the athlete. This is known as autologous blood doping. Homologous doping is the injection of fresh blood, removed from a second person, straight into the athlete.

After the development of EPO, the use of blood doping fell considerably, however since the development of a test for EPO detection and the lack of testing for autologous doping, it is again on the rise.

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Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone naturally produced by the kidneys. However, this hormone can be artificially produced to improve the performance of, for example, athletes or cyclists by injection.

Its overall effect is to increase endurance and, in athletics, it is used mainly by long distance-runners. It is injected under the skin and stimulates red blood cell production. The more red cells there are in your body, the more oxygen that can be delivered to the muscles. This delays the onset of fatigue, meaning an athlete can run harder and for longer.

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Holding Camps


“Single base camps used in the weeks immediately prior to the start of the game/event. The location must relate to the venue of the games”

Reasons For Holding Camps:

·         Athletes train in conditions which are very similar to the climate, altitude and time zone of the host city

·         Helps athletes improve focus and maximise performance

·         Enables athletes to get over jet lag

·         Team bonding/development of communication

·         Able to control/monitor diet

·         Gets the body used to changes in temperature, Gives coaches a chance to go over tactics, strategy and game plans, Familiarise the athletes to the venues/stadiums and transport links

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Holding Camps Case Studies

Case Studies

Team GB 2008 Beijing Olympics – Team GB held their holding camp for these Olympics in Macau, which is 3 hours away from Beijing. This location had a very similar climate to Beijing, thus allowing the athletes to acclimatise before the Olympics. All of Team GB flew in 7 days before the games. However, some might say that this still wasn’t enough time for the athletes.

2007 Rugby World Cup France – Teams had to adjust their training times to match their kick off times in the proper games due to TV demands. This meant matches kicked off at unoriginal times, making training schedules have to change

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Preparation Camps


“Training bases using the facilities offered in the holding camps – unlike holding camps, preparation camps can be used whenever”

Reasons For Preparation Camps:

·         Enables athletes, coaches and support staff to familiarise themselves with equipment and procedures

·         Used up to a year before the event and allow the teams to have a dry run of procedures and transfer arrangements so they are prepared for when they arrive at the camp but this time for a holding camp

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Factors Affecting Sports Equipment

Factors Affecting Sports Equipment

·         Climate

·         Playing Surface

·         Indoor/Outdoor

·         Protection/Reducing Injury

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