Team Performance and Environmental Stress

Group
  • Unit(s) of assessment: Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
  • School: School of Science and Technology

Overview

This research team investigates the physiological, mechanical and psychological correlates of optimum performance in elite team sport athletes, especially within physiologically stressful environments.

Consistently recognised by national agencies for expertise in enhancing sporting performances, the team's work is supported externally through collaborations with England Hockey, the Youth Sport Trust, UK Sport, Loughborough and Bath Universities. The group's reputation for high quality research and expertise has culminated in the award in 2007 through open competition with 30 other University-based UK consortia, of a National Performance Centre for Hockey.

Our work in enhancing competitive match-play performances through improvements to physiological and psychological status is underpinned by the application of cutting-edge technology. This includes critical evaluation of efficacy within markers of physiological stress, including those involving neurotransmitters and subtle prognostic indicators of muscle damage. The research has routinely deployed the new purpose-built environmental chamber to provoke physiological and psychological strain responses congruent with sporting performances in extreme environments and involving ecologically-valid thermal and barometric pressure stresses.

Current research seeks to minimise deterioration of game-related cognitive function. It develops previous contributions to the scientific literature investigating mechanisms by which cognitive function, including confidence to undertake tasks, are attenuated during exercise-related stresses. In conjunction with British Swimming, biomechanics research is being undertaken to optimise the kinematics and kinetics of elite arm amputee swimmers.

Future research involves the development of individualised attribution retraining packages for performance enhancement. The focus of this work has been widened to clinical populations where the efficacy of the use of motivational interviewing and development of assessment tools for individuals participating in physical activity programmes is being evaluated.

Related staff

Dr Caroline Sunderland

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