Learnist as a Sports Science Teaching Tool: Initial Thoughts

I’ve just started using Learnist, a highly visual public curation tool that takes a similar approach to pinboards in Pinterest, but encourages its users to develop boards with “learnings” around specific topic areas.  I’ve started off with two boards, “Sports Science in the Real World” and “My productivity toolbox”, which I will continue to update over time:

Sports Science in the Real World | Learnist - Jacquie Tran My productivity toolbox | Learnist - Jacquie Tran

Already, I can see lots of potential for this tool to be useful in a teaching context.  Looking forward to curating content to help provide context to their studies in exercise and sports science, as well as pulling together resources to support my students in developing graduate competencies.

If you’re on Learnist, follow me here: .  Or, if you’d like an invite, leave a comment below 🙂

Physiology of Sports Performance (HSE304): Project Management Considerations

This week, my sports physiology students have begun tackling their major project for this trimester: a group assessment investigating predictors of 2,000 m rowing ergometer performance.  Here’s a quick mind map that I created based on their group discussions, outlining project management considerations.

Project Management Considerations | Physiology of Sports Performance (HSE304)

Click to view larger

A lot of these considerations are very relevant to my workflow as a PhD student, too!

Periodisation: Complexities of Applying Sport Science

I’ve been privileged to teach across quite a few disciplines at Deakin University, including physiology, biomechanics, and anatomy.  But probably my favourite units to teach are Applied Sport Science 1 and 2.  I particularly enjoy helping students to develop the mindset for solving problems that don’t have one clear or correct answer.  When it comes down to it, that’s where the true challenge lies for any applied scientist – combining evidence-based practice with the capacity to engage and interact with complicated human beings!

My classes this week explored the periodisation concept.  Periodisation is one of my favourite topics to teach because of its inherent complexity, but also because you need to be in touch with the human aspect of athlete and team preparation in order to periodise well.  To kickstart my students into some key considerations for creating an annual plan, I asked:

  • Why is it important to periodise?
  • What are we trying to achieve through a periodised plan?
  • What should be included in a periodised plan?
  • How do you know that your plan is any good?

Based on their answers to these broad questions, I created a mind map to summarise their ideas.

Periodised Plan Considerations

Key considerations for structuring a periodised plan (click to view larger).

Though not comprehensive, the mind map demonstrates some insightful comments provided by my students, setting up a platform for further exploration of the issues that need to be considered when structuring a comprehensive periodised plan.

Mind Maps: Student Thoughts on Being an Applied Sport Scientist

In the first week of teaching Applied Sport Science, we ask the students to think on what it means to be an Applied Sport Scientist.  Specifically, “What are the key skills/characteristics/qualities/competencies required to work in the field of applied sport science?”

Here are the mind maps created from the responses of my students in all three of my classes this trimester:

I always enjoy this process.  The insights from students are often surprising, whether in their depth or in their variety.  I thought that the emphasis on specific competencies, like being able to conduct a maximal oxygen uptake test, was interesting in that it is probably reflective of the way sport science students are taught.  In other words, “If you know how to run these tests, then that makes you a sport scientist.”  Yet in the field, it is often the application of “soft skills” that is of most use: communication and delivery of information, maintaining beneficial relationships, conflict resolution, adaptability, eagerness to learn, and so on.  To that end, I was glad that each group highlighted the importance of experience.  As sport and exercise science encompasses so many disciplines, a Bachelor’s degree in E&SS is just a starting point for further explorations, both theoretical and practical in good measure.