The Sport Science Unit was established in 1992 to provide evidence-based support and undertake applied research projects to assist elite athletes and coaches from across several applied sport science disciplines.
Staff are responsible for identifying and quantifying the physical characteristics that contribute to performance and the most effective methods of manipulating these characteristics to enhance the likelihood of success. The unifying theme across the staff of the Sport Science Unit is performance enhancement with a philosophy of servicing objective-based outcomes.
The Sport Science Unit encompasses three different disciplines who provide specialised services to QAS athletes and coaches as well as numerous National Sporting Organisations, professional teams, and Queensland-based AIS programs. These include:
- Skill Acquisition
Staff provide support to QAS and AIS coaches, and other QAS sports medicine network personal (physicians, dietitians, psychologists, physiotherapists etc) across a range of areas that incorporates regular testing and day to day monitoring of athletes as well as project-based work across the various programs. An example is the monitoring of training sessions to allow accurate assessment of the level of stress placed on athletes. This involves the measurement of a range of physiological variables including cardiovascular, hormonal, neural, blood and performance variables.
The QAS has developed a reputation for quality applied research and has invested in a well-equipped laboratory that allows sophisticated performance analysis in both the laboratory and out in the field whilst training and also during competition.
The staff seek to utilize the most advanced and suitable equipment for the purposes of athlete assessment and, where necessary, designs and develops its own hardware and software.
Developments in recent years have included a software interface for the Concept II rowing ergometer enabling stroke by stroke capture of the force curve, the refinement of an automated system for respiratory gas analysis, the development of helmet mounted 3D filming capabilities and a swimming race analysis database.
The QAS is accredited through the National Sport Science Quality Assurance Program (formerly known as the Laboratory Standards Assistance Scheme - LSAS), which is an initiative of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). As a result, staff are more confident about the accuracy and interpretation of results that they return to coaches and athletes.
The main aim is to monitor quality assurance issues, and work with sports scientists to critically evaluate all aspects of laboratory/facility function likely to affect the reliability and accuracy of test results. This is achieved mainly through collaborative peer-based assessment of areas such as staffing, documentation, equipment calibration/maintenance, test protocols and reporting.
A range of services is offered by the QAS Sport Science staff including both field and laboratory testing which is implemented by qualified and experienced tertiary-trained staff. These assessments include:
- Aerobic capacity (VO2max)
- Assessment of economy of locomotion
- Anaerobic capacity
- Anaerobic "threshold" or maximal steady-state blood lactate
- Anthropometric testing
- 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional high speed video analysis
- Speed and agility field testing
- Strength/power testing
- Time-motion analysis - quantifying demands of training and competition
- Quantifying training loads
- 3-Dimensional filming and feedback to coaches and athletes
- Skill assessment under fatiguing conditions
- Thermoregulation assessment