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Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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1 Where next in coaching and exercise?

Gazing into the future can be fascinating and can be used to help identify some of the main themes that are starting to influence coaching and instructional practice today. Throughout this session, you will consider how much of what you see or read is verifiable with evidence.

Activity 1 What sporting future?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Watch the following video [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , in which Michael Johnson hears from sporting professionals on what they think the future of sport holds. Can you identify three to five overall themes that are shaping the future of sport? To give an example, one of the themes is clearly about technological developments.

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What sporting future: risks and rewards
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Contributors talked about the impact of the ‘technological revolution’ on sport, which includes the development of prosthetic devices. The timescale of these technological advances was quoted as being since about 2010. Another speaker claimed that our understanding of how the body works and, in particular, nutrition and the muscular fuelling systems, will lead to future improvements in performance. Perhaps a less tangible leap forward was suggested to be in the increased knowledge of cognition (mental actions and processes), including human ‘spirit’ and creativity.

Further advances are likely, as a result of worldwide access to sport being broadened; it was claimed that groups of the world’s population may be discovered that have a genetic predisposition to respond to training extremely well and therefore have sporting potential (termed ‘trainability’). The caveat to these possible developments was that governing organisations in sport need to keep up with such progress in order to maintain fair, balanced competition. Also, notice how it is useful to frame most of these developments as ‘claims’ at this stage, until the evidence of their impacts become clear.

In summary we can say that technological innovation in sport and exercise will a) increase human performance and b) increase the ability to monitor the working of the body and/or mind.

If you want to understand more about a very real example of technological augmentation, you may want to read this article about a Paralympic long jumper, Should ‘Blade Jumper’ Markus Rehm be allowed in the Olympics?