Rationale and resources for teaching the mathematical modeling of athletic training and performance.
Authors: Clarke, D.C. and Skiba, P.F.
(2013) Advan in Physiol Edu. 37: 134-152.
Reviewed by Allan Wrigley
This is one of the more interesting papers I have read in quite some time. The authors present a rationale for using mathematical models for the design, prescription, and evaluation of athletic training and performance. What is particularly interesting is that the target audience is exercise physiologists, and more specifically those that would teach other practitioners. Although mathematical modeling in sport performance is not uncommon, it is not widespread through the area of exercise physiology and associated disciplines simply due to a lack of developed curriculum and education. The authors provide a very interesting definition of evidence-based practices, and how performance modeling helps to address exactly that. Two different models are presented, along with references for lecture material, teaching strategies, and even a supplemental annotated spreadsheet for computer-based assignments. All of the mathematics provided can be tailored to the audience, as the level of sophistication is modifiable so that it can be more broadly accessible. Overall, a good case is made for general program design based on the published concepts and guidelines from peer reviewed research that is then optimized based on systematically collected training and performance data modeled using the outlined performance models.