Integrated High performance, Science & Research

Kitman Labs Performance Intelligence Research Initiative: A Survey to bring research on the field.

21 February 2021



Kitman Labs Performance Intelligence Research Initiative: A Survey to bring research on the field.

Buchheit, M., McHugues, D. & Smith S. Kitman Labs Performance Intelligence Research Initiative: A Survey to bring research on the field. Sport Perf Sci & Reports, Feb, #135, v1.

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Is the research, researching what we need?

While there is no shortage of topics when it comes to conducting research in Sports Science, its ability to transfer into the field of (elite) sports and improve substantially current practices is often limited.

A disconnect between research and practices and a lack of clear research focus on the most relevant topics for practitioners are often suggested as one of the first limitations for research to have an impact in the field of elite sport [1, 8]. Indeed, without clear connections between both academic and practitioner worlds, it is difficult for the right questions to land on researchers’ desks, and appropriate research to be conducted. The consequence of this is that often, researchers are busy building the spaceship to land on the moon, while no one has asked them to go.

We need to listen first

Surveys are one of the simplest methods to understand the need of a specific population or people with a particular role or expertise.

They have the advantage of being easy and quick to administer and can reach people from all over the world and different groups or organizations simultaneously. Recent examples of successful questionnaires in Sport Sciences include Delphi procedures (that include multiple rounds to reach consensus on a given topic when required) that were used to understand practitioners’ current practices in terms of load monitoring, return to play or injury prevention strategies for example. 

The PIRI Survey

To gain insight into both the most important and complex topics in the elite sport industry, we conducted an online survey on a large sample of elite sports practitioners via the Kitman Labs Performance Intelligence Research Initiative.

The detailed process and results of this investigation have also been published in the open-access Sport Performance and Science Reports (here).

Figure 1. The six most important and complex topics in elite sports according to the panelist of respondents. The top priority sub-areas (rated as both important and complex by ≥66% (⅔) of the respondents) are also provided for each main topic. Percentages indicate the actual proportion of respondents that rated the items as both important and complex. The overlap between the different areas illustrates the fact that these are all interconnected, i.e., load and fitness/fatigue monitoring (yellow) help to understand injury risk (blue), and both serve to make better-informed decisions (green).

Figure 2. Challenges faced specific to the most important topics presented in Figure 1.

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