Researcher uncovers what athletes need to perform well

Dec 09, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Watching her father qualify for the 1988 Olympics was what inspired UQ PhD graduate Dr Caroline Ringuet to research the needs of high-performance athletes.

“He was an elite runner and qualified for the Seoul Olympic Games marathon team for Mauritius, but it was never easy for him to be so successful because he had to juggle sport, work and family life; just like many athletes today,” she said.

Completed through UQ's School of Human Movement Studies, Dr Ringuet's study involved interviewing 35 elite athletes and 41 administrators of high-performance sport from around the world.

The research identified nine factors which influence an athlete's performance including funding, lifestyle and coaching.

“It was not surprising that participants would recount the need for money, career and education support programs, specialist services, or lifestyle and balance,” Dr Ringuet said.

“One finding of particular concern was the mismatch in the expectations of athletes for support and the delivery of support provided to them.

“This could have important implications for performance outcomes.”

Given 35 percent of the sports administrators involved in the study were ex-elite athletes, Dr Ringuet presumed they would empathise with the performance development needs of sports people.

Her research revealed, however, that the groups had quite different priorities.

“Where the athletes and administrators had different perceptions, it was usually because administrators referred to the need to achieve competitive success while athletes referred to the need for personal development,” she said.

“For example, athletes often described funding as a need because they lacked the money to support both daily living and sport expenses.

“Although administrators felt similarly, they also perceived the need to direct funds towards infrastructure development and sport program delivery to improve athletic performances.

“In contrast, no athlete reported infrastructure development and sport program delivery as an area requiring extra financial resources.”

Dr Ringuet's findings were presented at the 13th Commonwealth International Sport Conference held in Melbourne during the 2006 Commonwealth Games; the International Olympic Academy 14th International Postgraduate Seminar on Olympic Studies in Greece in 2006; and the 2004 Pre-Olympic Congress in Thessaloniki, Greece, before the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The study was also commended by the International Olympic Committee as an “important and pioneering body of work”.

Now a sports management academic at Griffith University, Dr Ringuet plans to undertake further research in this area.

“I am now working on a project with the Australian Institute of Sport to enhance the way we provide support to sport,” she said.

“I would also like to extend my study to an analysis of athlete development and high performance sport programs in African, Asian, and South-American nations.”

Provided by University of Queensland

Explore further: Education Dept awards $75M in innovation grants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wearable clip tells parents, coach about head impact

Sep 05, 2014

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a concussion is a type of injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions ...

3Qs: The power and press of black celebrity

Jul 02, 2014

In her new book Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press, Sarah Jackson, an assistant professor of communication studies in the College of Arts, Media, and Design, examines how the mainstream and black press have covered ...

You can't teach speed: sprinters break 10-year rule

Jun 26, 2014

New research shows world-class sprinters are born, not created. Grand Valley State University researchers found that exceptional speed prior to formal training is a prerequisite for becoming a world-class ...

Recommended for you

Research band at Karolinska tuck Dylan gems into papers

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A 17-year old bet among scientists at the Karolinska Institute has been a wager that whoever wrote the most articles with Dylan quotes before they retired would get a free lunch. Results included ...

A simulation game to help people prep for court

Sep 25, 2014

Preparing for court and appearing before a judge can be a daunting experience, particularly for people who are representing themselves because they can't afford a lawyer or simply don't know all the ropes ...

When finding 'nothing' means something

Sep 25, 2014

Scientists usually communicate their latest findings by publishing results as scientific papers in journals that are almost always accessible online (albeit often at a price), ensuring fast sharing of latest ...

User comments : 0