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Strongman Research a hit at Sports Symposium

Bay of Plenty Polytechnic: Strongman Research a hit at Sports Symposium

It was a sporting event of a different kind which saw 100 top sports researchers and industry leaders come to Tauranga last week. The New Zealand ITP Sports Research Symposium, hosted by Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, attracted delegates the depth and breadth of the country, from Dunedin to Whangarei and everywhere in between.

The Symposium saw the presentation of 20 research projects as diverse as the challenges of sports psychology, strength and conditioning, injury prevention, bone health, force-velocity, iPad use in teaching and learning, performance requirements of wicket-keeping, and lots more.

Peter Sommers, Group Leader Sport and Recreation at the Polytechnic, was impressed with the variety and the calibre of the research presentations.

“It was great to see all of the country’s ITPs (Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics) who deliver sport and recreation qualifications in one place. The knowledge sharing and calibre of research coming out of our country is incredible.”

Delegates agreed that one of the many highlights of the programme was a presentation by Polytechnic sports lecturer Paul Winwood on How coaches use strongman implements in strength and conditioning practice. Strongman is described as strength athletics where strength exercises transfer to places outside the weight room and can include anything from flipping tractor tyres and carrying heavy objects, to pulling heavy sleds.

“Paul’s research really captivated everybody,” said Peter. “His PhD study project went out globally to 220 strength and conditioning coaches. He received 270 responses from as far away as the UK and the NFL in America with the results being published shortly in the prestigious International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching.”

Peter went on to emphasise the importance of research informed teaching at the Polytechnic.

“It’s an institutional requirement that all of the sport and recreation teaching staff are research active within their particular fields so they’re gaining vital research knowledge that they can share with their students. This is where we can see the research and teaching really linking together – ensuring our students remain at the cutting-edge meaning they get the very latest research that is out there, and are getting it from the horse’s mouth.”

The Symposium highlighted the importance of ongoing collaboration between the institutions in order to continue to deliver cutting-edge research.


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