More than a dozen top-ranked sports science professors have called on the Government to review the use of the term ‘performance optimisation’ to describe sports-related performance enhancement.
The research, which is published in the journal Science Advances, describes research that has shown athletes can be better at certain tasks if they’re training on a set of optimised tasks and then performing them at a higher level.
But the professors argue the term has no legal or scientific value and should be restricted to performance optimisation, not performance enhancement, because there are no conclusive tests to back it up.
The researchers also argued that athletes need to be trained to train at a high level to be able to perform optimised activities like sprints.
They said: “Performance optimisation is often confused with performance enhancement in sport, because it is a common term used in the sports science literature to describe performance-enhancing interventions, but there is no evidence to support this usage.”
They added: “It is the goal of sport scientists to promote the use and implementation of sports-specific training programs to achieve maximal performance.
This includes performance optimising training, but we also need to promote training programs that are appropriate to all athletes.”
It is important that the sport science community acknowledges the importance of performance optimisations in sport and encourage athletes to take part in sport programs that promote performance optimised training, so that athletes can maximise their potential and perform at their best.
“The academics said the term performance optimise was often used incorrectly to describe the same types of training.
The study also highlighted that sports scientists have long known that training on optimised equipment can improve performance, but the definition of performance enhancement is very broad and it often means training at a level that is lower than the athlete’s natural ability.
The authors of the report also called for the Government and other agencies to review performance-related scientific research to ensure it is consistent with the Government’s ‘fair play’ guidelines.
The review, which will be undertaken by the Government, the Commonwealth and Sport Australia, will look at the current scientific literature, the research and policy recommendations.”
Athletes, coaches and sport administrators must understand the impact of their sport on performance,” they said.”
The Government’s research agenda is set on making sure that sport science research is based on the best available evidence and that it is applied appropriately, based on best available scientific evidence and appropriate guidelines.
“Read more”A key goal is to ensure that sport scientists understand the relevant research evidence, which includes the current research literature and the current guidelines.””
The Australian Sports Science Council and Sport England, the bodies in charge of ensuring that sport research is aligned with current best practice, should continue to play a key role in the review of sport science policy and in the implementation of recommendations.
“Read the study, titled ‘Sports Science and Fair Play: A Call for More Research’ at: http://www.scienceadvances.com/articles/sports-science-and-fair-play-a-call-for-more-research