As sports scientists, we claim to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge that influences athletic practice and performance. Is this the reality? At the inaugural congress of the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science, a panel of well-credentialed academic experts with experience in the applied environment debated the question, Does sports-science research influence practice? The first task was to define “sports-science research,” and it was generally agreed that it is concerned with providing evidence that improves sports performance. When practices are equally effective, sports scientists also have a role in identifying practices that are safer, more time efficient, and more enjoyable. There were varying views on the need for sports-science research to be immediately relevant to coaches or athletes. Most agreed on the importance of communicating the results of sports-science research, not only to the academic community but also to coaches and athletes, and the need to encourage both short- and long-term research. The panelists then listed examples of sports-science research that they believe have influenced practice, as well as strategies to ensure that sports-science research better influences practice.
Bishop is with the School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia. Burnett is with the School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology. Farrow is with the Australian Institute of Sport, Belconnen, ACT, 2616, Australia. Gabbett is with the Queensland Academy of Sport, Queensland, Australia. Newton is with the School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup WA 6027, Australia.