Sport scientists and coaches need to work hand in hand

Staff Writer, 22 April 2019

There is a need for coaches and sport scientists to collaborate directly in order to communicate and disseminate knowledge effectively between sport sciences and coaching, a newly-released study has suggested.

As previous studies have shown, sport science deals with the improvement of athletic performance through the use of scientific methods, and it is the role of a sport scientist to discover the most impactful gaps in current knowledge and to implement unique training programmes.

Penned by Alliance Kubayi, Yoga Coopoo and Abel Toriola, and published in the South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, the latest research, titled Knowledge Transfer from Sport Science to Coaching : a South African coach’s perspective , sampled 202 South African sport coaches (174 males and 28 females).

It found that injury prevention and recovery, fitness/conditioning, individual skill development, training programmes (strength, endurance, etc.), tactics/strategy, nutrition and mental training and preparation were most likely to be of interest to sport coaches. However, coaches preferred to interact with other coaches, watch sport coaching videos, attend conferences/workshops, consult mentors and experiment with new ideas in order to obtain new information instead of getting it from scientists.

The authors recommend that sport science courses should be incorporated into coaching education programmes in order to facilitate knowledge transfer, especially in the areas of conditioning and sport physiology.

They suggest that sport federations should establish formal and informal mentorship programmes so that coaches could have the opportunity to acquire sport information from more experienced colleagues. Sport scientists should also present their findings in an understandable form (using less technical language) to the coaches and/or athletes and assist them to address coaching problems and improve athletic performance. And partnerships should be established between sport federations and universities to facilitate access to sport science research information in their libraries for coaches, the study concludes.