Posted by: Joe English | April 18, 2010

Training – Coach Joe’s Sports Performance Analysis (Part I)

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

My father once told me something that I’ll never forget. We were talking about an opportunity that had presented itself and I was suggesting that I pass on it. “When opportunity knocks, you open the door dumbass,” was his advice.

Opportunity came knocking on my door barely a week ago. The opportunity came in the form of an e-mail from the public relations firm that represents Gatorade. The mail asked me if I would like to come out to the Boston Marathon to undergo testing at a “mobile sports performance lab.” Initially, I said I declined, but Dad was in my head calling me a dumbass and so few days later I’m sitting here on a red-eye to Boston to shake the hand of the opportunity that knocked on my door.*

What is sport performance analysis?
The first questions that you might be asking, which incidentally are the first questions that my wife asked me, are what is sports performance analysis and what is it likely to tell you? Sports performance testing in a lab seeks to explore the specifics of an individual athlete, in terms of their body chemistry, their capabilities, and the methods of improving them. In my work as a coach, I have often tested athletes in a variety of field tests, but rarely do I send people to labs for more precise testing.

The most common test that runners may undertake in a lab is called a MaxVO2 test, which is a measure of their oxygen processing ability – or rather how much output their engine is capable of producing when operating at its maximum capacity. But there are varying ways to conduct such a test, ranging from what amounts to rough guess-work to full-on lab analysis.

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