What makes an acceleration athlete and how can elite runners get themselves in the best possible condition before an event?
Postgraduate students from LJMU’s Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) provided expert opinion drawing on their world-leading research to answer these questions for BBC Radio 1Xtra’s World Athletics Championships 2015 coverage. The academics used interactive testing from Face to Face with Sports Science, which has won multiple awards and gained competitive funding for its innovative, engaging activities.
LJMU Strength and Conditioning Head Coach Carl Evans and Sport and Exercise PhD student Harry Routledge, joined BBC DJ Nick Bright, former sprinter and gold medallist Linford Christie OBE and former 100m Olympic athlete Jeanette Kwakye for a special Sports Day, also linking to Linford’s Street Athletics Manchester Heats.
Carl and Harry carried out tests on BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Nick Bright comparing his scores over 30m to that of past and present world and Olympic champions
They used research knowledge that the LJMU team often display through workshops demonstrating how science and research impacts training and performance in elite athletes through Face to Face with Sports Science.
Carl Evans, who is also a PhD Researcher in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition commented:
"We measured Nick’s 30 metre running speed with our Brower laser timing gate system. 30m testing specifically measures the acceleration capability of an athlete and is important to highlight how they can drive to start the race as biomechanically efficient as possible with the quickest possible reaction time. It is also widely used in team sports as a means of measuring specific on pitch/court speed.
"Tests like these can highlight where an athlete needs to technically improve in terms of movement patterns but also the efficacy of any training programme that has been put in place i.e. strength and conditioning to make an athlete more powerful. Universities and academics are crucial to championships like this due to their specific expertise in the physiological, biomechanical and psychological aspects of sporting performance and how this can be translated into practice."
The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences has been at the forefront of innovation and development in sport science since its inception in 1975. LJMU was the first institution in the world to host a single honours programme in sport science. Now in its 40th year, the School is the top sport and exercise science department in the country according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
Listen to the BBC Radio 1Xtra special
(LJMU coverage at approx. 38 mins)
Further information about Face to Face with Sports Science interactive workshops and exhibits