What I see today with the use of this generic term “sports science” being thrown around alarms me. I see so called “sports scientists” directing programs, making crucial decisions on athlete’s trainability based on algorithm derived numbers telling coaches that athletes cannot practice because they are too tired or too sore. Many so-called sports scientists have little or no practical experience outside of academia or some sterile training center environment where they have no real athletes to work so they can sit around and theorize all day.
Sports science must be clearly defined. The so-called sports scientist needs to understand that they do not drive the bus. They must be at training sessions and actively involved with the coaches. They need to understand the culture of the sport and get to know the sport they are working with. They must help the coach to use the data they derive (assuming it is valid data) by giving the data context. Applied sports science can be a valuable resource. Let’s get back to where it needs to be – a resource that is on tap, not on top.