Sardinia. (Photo: Iñigo Mujika)

Sardinia. (Photo: Iñigo Mujika)

There are certain areas of knowledge in which many laymen feel they can behave like experts, and this leads them to broadcast their views and opinions far and wide, attributing them a rank of absolute and unequivocal truth. Sport in general and association football in particular are areas in which laymen pretending to be experts abound.

Modern professional sport is characterised by a more systematic approach to the preparation of athletes than that used traditionally. Athletes and coaches can count nowadays on the support and advice not just of medical personnel, whose primary aim is focused on injury management and treatment, but also personnel with a specific educational background on applied sport sciences. These scientific support personnel may include sports physiologists, psychologists, biomechanists, and performance analysts among others. Performance support groups are also being used, to a greater or lesser extent, by national teams and athlete development centers, where talented young athletes’ integral development is emphasized.

This is why in the past few years leading professional clubs and teams have provided themselves with a solid group of top class professionals with expertise in the different areas of the sport sciences, in order to apply their knowledge to the development of athletes and the attainment of their peak performance. Many of these professionals have dedicated decades to their own university and professional education in institutions of the highest level. In some cases the quality of their work is endorsed by publications in world-class scientific journals, contributions in specialized books, keynote lectures at international conferences and meetings, as well as the results of the athletes and teams with whom they work.

However, all those years of study and education, all those efforts and headaches trying to attain the best results for athletes and teams could have been in vain. In reality, the solution to all doubts and problems related with sports performance could have been reached simply by asking any sport fan or daily sports newspaper writer.

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