Putting the Science of Research and Technology into the Art of Coaching at the Goldring Centre
Article by Nina S. Rafeek
With the 2016 Olympics underway, Coaches Carl Georgevski and John Campbell, head coach of the Track and Field Team and head coach of the Men’s Varsity Blues Basketball team, respectively, shared their thoughts on how science, research and technology has affected their training programs for high performance athletes. The coaches were interviewed at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, University of Toronto’s newest training facility,
How does research and technology play a role in your coaching and training programs?
Coach Georgevski: “It’s about the art and science of coaching so what you have to do is blend the two together and both are extremely important. The new science and technology that is coming out and that is out there, we have to totally utilize and actually put into practice”
Coach Campbell explains that “technology plays a huge role”. At the Goldring Centre, he uses a heart rate monitor with a computer program. “We want to know the intensity that the athletes are working at to measure the effects of training and performance, so we can approach training intelligently.” He stresses that there is a “prime area for peak performance”. As such, they need to make sure that the athletes are not overtraining but at the same time, they should be fatigued: “this is how we get adaptation.”
How do the Force Plates play a role in sports performance from a coaching perspective?
Coach Georgevski: “Believe it or not you can use force platforms to see if an athlete is fatigued or not. It measures the amount of force that you’re able to exert. To master the art of coaching, it only takes you about 10 to 15 years (laughs) so you have to observe. I can tell, to some extent, whether an athlete is fatigued or not by the way they’re warming up, but there are other days where I can be really fooled”
“If an athlete says ‘I feel great’ from an A+ on their test but physiologically they can’t get off the ground if they’re high jumping. At the same time, if they’re down because they received a low mark, psychologically they happen to be a bit low and if you’re just looking at him you could say to yourself ‘gee this athlete is not ready to go.’”
“This is where science is going to help me decide,” Georgevski says.
What other technology has helped play a role in your coaching?
Coach Georgevski explains that the Goldring Centre has “one of the best and most up-to-date, state-of-the-art sports medicine clinics around”
“If I want to do a biomechanical analysis of an athlete jumping or of their sprint start, which we get some of the Masters students here with Dr. Tyson Beach, they work with one of our Olympic
sprinters Sara Wells on her sprint start along with our coach Bob Westman so they figure out where the force is being generated and what are the limb movements like; if they are efficient”, says Coach Georgevski.
Coach Campbell: “Equipment and technology here provides a mental and motivational boost for the athletes. Having 16 to a team and 8 versa climbers means half the team can train at the same time”. The versa climbers also provide non-weight bearing training. “So if we have an athlete that is 6’10”, 280 lbs, running and sprinting, this can produce a strain on the body. The climbers give a cardio effect without the additional strain or running/sprinting.”
“When you get our professoriate and our coaches working together and you apply the science to the practical aspect, it’s really neat to see,” says Georgevski.
Are there any developments in research and technology that has actually made you change your style of coaching?
Coach Georgevski: “Yes, the research that’s taking place in training theory. I work very closely with professor Tim Taha and from Tim’s guidance, there’s more emphasis on recovery than ever before. If I took my workouts and training schedules from what I did 30 years ago, I don’t think very many of the athletes would be surviving today. It was just so much different, we did so much more work, we over trained. Looking back, (not just our group by the way, practically everybody else in the world) they over trained. What research has helped us to do right now is to taper the training and to individualize it and also the aspect of the recovery is extremely important.
How is the Goldring Centre unique?
The Goldring “is a facility that combines expertise with technology,” explains coach Campbell. “It is not just a theoretical approach but a practical application of the data”. In terms of sports performance and the integration of research and technology, coach Campbell asserts that “we are just getting started”.
Tune in to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where you will see UofT’s own Kylie Masse, (swimming) and our Olympic Flag Bearer, Rosie MacLellan, (trampoline), along with many other UofT alumnus such as Josh Binstock, (men’s beach volleyball), Jason Burnett, (trampoline), Crispin Duenas, (archery), Michelle Li, (badminton), representing Canada!
For more on how Science and Technology influences sports performance, check out the “Good to Gold” Event featuring Professors Greg Wells, Katherine Tamminen, Tyson Beach and Tim Welsh and Hosted by Research2Reality Professor Molly Shoichet!