THE University of TT (UTT) hosted a sports science seminar on Wednesday at its Chaguaramas campus, in an effort to optimise the performance of local athletes.The seminar was titled Strengthening Sports, Fuelling the Game.
Head, rehabilitation sport and recreation at UTT Adrian Palmer said the aim is to improve local athletes and sports programmes. "There are a lot of issues that we are seeing at our level where athletes would have entered our high performance programme," he said.
"We would have expected to see a lot of fundamental things to be in place in terms of their movement, their strength, things that they are exposed to, and we are not seeing that.
"We realised that there are areas that are deficient in terms of how our coaches and how our trainers conduct training. We sat, we had a focus group and we identified different issues that we are seeing locally and where information is lacking, and then we put together this programme."
The seminar, which was attended by several coaches, technical staff and athletes, covered multiple topics including strength and conditioning, nutrition, load management before and during competition, hydration and injury recovery.
Among the presenters were strength and conditioning officer at the Sport Company of TT, Lisa Collen Jules; director of Movement Mechanics, Gregory Seale; and director of Aires Sports Performance, Orlando Griffith.
There were also international presenters including Richard James of Long Island University, New York and Dr Michelle King of Loyola University, Chicago.
Palmer said in more developed countries there is more continuous work on how to get the best out of athletes.
"They have events like this throughout the year. You would have researchers and professionals come in and will share the updated information with changes in the research – what is the latest – and they teach the professionals how to apply it to improve the quality of the athletes.
"We don't have any of this locally in TT, so that is why we said if we are going to change things we alone can't do it, but if we pass on the knowledge to others then things can improve overall."
Sports officials in all areas took part in the seminar. Palmer said, "This seminar is catered to anyone, once they are involved in sports. Whether it be an athlete, a coach, a team manager, a massage therapist, strength and conditioning coach, sports nutritionist...We have the whole works here today."
Among those attending were former WI fast bowler and UTT coach Tony Gray and athletics/strength and conditioning coach Antonia Burton.
Strength and conditioning and nutrition were two main areas discussed during the seminar.
Discussing the importance of diet to an athlete, Palmer said, "Studies show that just by changing diet alone or applying the principles of nutrition properly, that alone could improve performance; it could improve how quickly you recover from injuries.
"In terms of recovering from exercise, a lot of persons do things like massage, ice bath; they prioritise these things, but the research is showing that it's the nutrition and sleep that is more beneficial. But a lot of coaches don't know that, so that is why we provide this opportunity to disseminate the knowledge to them."