Middlesex 2

GLL Sport Foundation & Middlesex University – Sport Science Support Programme Review 2015-16

Overview

This is the third year that the 1-2-1 support programme has run through a partnership between the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) and the London Sport Institute (LSI) at Middlesex University. The programme aims to provide talented young athletes with access to elite level sports sciences support. The collaborative opportunity provides a range of Sport Science support services to GSF athletes that enhance the University’s academic scope and community engagement, whilst providing GSF with a delivery partner for the support for its funded athletes. The partnership is an evidence based approach to educate athletes, coaches and parents and a more in-depth award package. Year 3 LSI Sport and Exercise Science students meet the GSF athletes and both parties then agreed to work together for the year. All student testing programs and interventions are agreed and supervised by the module team. The partnership gives an opportunity for students to work with Elite athletes to gain valuable experience in their final year of study.

Athletes Supported

Table. 1 – the list of athletes linked to a mdx student in the 1-2-1 sports science programme

Name Age Gender Area Award Sport
Edwin Miles 18 Male Bromley Regional Athletics: 100m
Benjamin Noel 18 Male Camden Regional Athletics: 100m
Hatshepsut James 23 Female Greenwich Regional Athletics: 400m Hurdles
Oluwatobi Esan 18 Male Greenwich Regional Athletics: 100m
Montell Douglas 29 Female Tower Hamlets Achievement Athletics: 100m
Ben Claridge 17 Male Vale of White Horse Achievement Athletics: 800m
Mark James Cunningham 17 Male Barnet Regional Cycling: Road & Track
Benjamin Pritchard 22 Male Hackney Regional Triathlon
Isaac Osofisan 16 Male Hackney Regional Athletics: Cross Country
Jessica Thorpe 29 Female Hackney Achievement Triathlon
Lily Partridge 23 Female Guildford Achievement Athletics: Cross Country
Natasha Lydia Reddy 16 Female West Oxfordshire Regional Cycling: Road & Track
Laura Hirai 16 Female Barnet Achievement Baseball
Heather Keith 16 Female Ealing Achievement Water Polo
Isobel Keith 16 Male Ealing Achievement Water Polo
Calvin Kiggundu 17 Male Hackney Regional Tennis
James Driver 18 Male Islington Regional Sailing
Teo Borozan 19 Male Tower Hamlets Regional Football
Gabriel Walsh 16 Male Westminster Regional Sailing
James Thomas King 16 Male West Oxfordshire Regional Cricket
Yebila Collins 16 Male Hackney Regional Rowing
Robert Joseph Honey 16 Male Guildford Regional Ice Skating: Ice Dance
Maxine Jennifer Hancock 17 Female Rugby Achievement Skiing: Alpine Slalom
Joel Bullivant 16 Male South Oxfordshire Regional Rowing
Ben Goodall 17 Male Vale of White Horse Achievement Gymnastics: Tumbling
Edward J Lee 16 Male Woking Regional Swimming
Cameron Phillip Davies 17 Male Bridgend Achievement Taekwondo

Sport Science Support Programme Review

Fig1

 

 

 

Figure.1 – Percentage change for the overall body composition measurements

 

Research conducted after the completion of the Sport science support programme suggests that 83% of athletes completed the support programme offered to them.  This completion rate if an increase on previous years and reflects the changes made to the programme to engage all parties in the process. Figure one indicates the percentage changes in the body composition factors of the athletes after they had completed their support programme. The body composition factors improved by 1% on average with the most improvements shown in the athlete’s overall weight, % muscle and % fat improvement which decreased by 7%, increased by 5 % and decreased by 6% respectably (see figure one). The fat % decreased by 6% which is not a large change but indicates the extent to which the athlete adhered to the programme with the corresponding increase in muscle % also reflecting this engagement.

Fig2

Figure.2 – Overall Pre and Post measurements for outlined performance indicators

 

Overall the majority of the performance indicators improved in the manner that exhibited a performance gain. The only indicators that did not show an improvement as a result of the sport science support programme were the strength and anaerobic measures which displayed no change. The flexibility and power tests, indicated the largest overall improvement with a % change of 16% and 14% (see figure.2), which is pleasing and potentially leads to the need for further education on the importance of stretching exercises through the workshop programme. The power improvements are slightly smaller but are in line with the improvement in the flexibility scores due to the link between the two performance indicators. The speed factors improved by on average – 1% which is consistent with the mixed type of athletes that is in the group and the length of time to implement the programme. The range of sports performed by the athletes meant that improvements in speed were limited and mainly with athletes who were not familiar with speed work. The endurance measures improved on average by 4% which is a small amount and but is pleasing due to the increase in the students’ completing a full VO2 test with the athletes. You would not normally see an increase in this figures due to the genetic nature of the VO2 value so to see a slight improvement through the intervention programs is pleasing. The introduction of more biomechanical testing in this year’s programme has seen the introduction of technique analysis which has shown slight improvements of 6%. The improvements shown in this measure are positive and this will be interesting to monitor this as this area of the programme is further developed due to athlete feedback. The psychological skills improvements show a consistent improvement in both practice and completion. The students implement a consistent approach with this section, due to the nature of the discipline, resulting in 10% improvements for practice and 8% competition (figure.2). Although students receive training in the testing procedure to attempt to limit the errors in measurement, this cannot be fully controlled and as such there will be a minimal percentage error associated with these tests. The improvements made could be due to the program implemented but also the athletes learning about the tests and what is expected of them, a learner affect. In future programme perhaps this is an area for development time permitting so that the rests gained can be a true reflection of the effectiveness of the intervention support.

 

Programme Summary

In summary the flexibility components showed the greatest improvements (see figure.2). The other sections to indicate large changes are power and psychology sections (see figure.2). Some further programme highlights are the biomechanical and endurance improvements 6% and 4% respectively. There are areas to review and look to improve for next year’s programme however these changes indicate a positive impact on the athletes. The programme again highlights the impact of the programme on future athlete’s careers and the experience the students gain which will undoubtable help them in their future careers.

 

Proposed Actions for 2016/17

  • Arrange athletes and students to meet multiple times at the beginning of the year to help with project engagement.
  • Review second assignment to include a summary report handout for the athletes so they receive feedback in a usable format after pre and post format
  • Arrange more testing sessions which are set from the beginning of the year to ease the completing of testing and perhaps enable the use of familiarization sessions before the pre testing to increase the accuracy of the data.

 

E-mail invitations have recently been sent out to local athletes for the 2016/17 academic year. If you would be interested in taking part please e-mail gllsportfoundation@gll,org. It gives athletes an opportunity to find out their weaknesses and have a programme written for them to make improvements.

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