“A critical review of the role of coordinated sports science support and its importance to elite level performance.”
As early as the 1970s, differences have been highlighted between coaching activities and the focus of sports science research. The difficulties in bringing together the different interests and perspectives of these two groups are discussed and debated by numerous researchers (Anshel, 1986; Blimkie, 1979; Campbell, 1978; Colvin, 1979; Elliot, 1997; Haag, 1994; Potrac, Brewer, Jones, Armour, & Hoff, 2000; Spinks, 1997; Taylor, 1983; Tinning, 1982). As a result of sports science research coaches are the intended beneficiaries, yet, in the literature on coaching many claim that a “gap” exists between sports science research and coaching practice (Goldsmith, 2000). Spinks (1997) drew attention to the differences between the focus of sports science research and what coaches think they need to know to in order to develop. Despite this the application of research into practice is an essential part of coaching development. Understanding how sports scientists’ research can be implemented to support the development of coaching practice is a task for both coaches and scientists. It is also important to acknowledge that sports science research is derived from multiple disciplines with each discipline having highly specialized knowledge (Luke, 1995).
Interdisciplinary sciences can be represented as spaces where no single form of scientific topic enjoys independence, they are highly interrelated.
Within interdisciplinary science, there is a simultaneous struggle over the distribution and definition of field-specific scientific topics and their interrelations. There is also the further struggle with the exchange of information with non-scientific bodies such as the media (Panofsky, 2011).
Whilst the concept of multidisciplinary is relatively new to sport, multidisciplinary teams have been part of the health and human services industry for many years and often comprise of; doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, to name several. Multidisciplinary approach is a combination of support science; the support team doesn’t necessarily working in an integrated or coordinated manner (Bernard, 2006)
Multidisciplinary support is recognised as the way forward for elite performance. In order for multidisciplinary teams to be effective and have a positive influence on the working environment, cooperation and collaboration needs to be proactive in what is potentially an environment that can experience competition and conflict (Bell, 2001; Carpenter, King-sears, & keys, 1998; Conner, 1999; Dobson, Dodsworth, & Miller, 2000; Landau, 2000; McConachie, Salt, Chadury, McLachlan, & Logan, 1999). Multidisciplinary teams can be formed of; squads, associations, and team biomechanists, together with an array of other specialists including match analysts and lifestyle consultants.
Coaches with little knowledge of the above discussed disciplines may be unable to usefully apply research findings unless the researchers communicate the applications of research findings. Conflict is suggested by some as a necessary part of rejuvenation and growth, yet some may feel uncomfortable or threatened by the lack of stability in the working environment (Brown, 2000). For example in multidisciplinary teams, there are abundant opportunities for each type of conflict to occur. Professional groups often vary in treatment approach and methods; moreover, coaches and administrators, charged will have their own philosophies and opinions that influence the decision making process (Reid and Thorne, 2004). Unfortunately, professional conflicts or differences of opinion on occasion get played out at the level of athlete servicing. For example, a practitioner may implement a treatment regime...
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