The Competitive Season as an Experiment: Benefits, Limitations and Future Directions Editorial

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Corey A. Peacock
Gabriel J. Sanders
Jose Antonio


Sports science application, data reporting, high-performance environment


In a high-performance environment, the season can be framed as an experimental research design that includes multiple groups and time points, rigorous methods, and valid and reliable tools. However, a high- performance environment is complex and susceptible to change throughout a season resulting in timelines that are not tightly controlled unlike laboratory research. Nevertheless, the data resulting from a season is applicable to performance coaches and sports medicine professionals alike. From an analysis standpoint, a mixed research design is automatically built into team sports and other competitive events. A competitive season (e.g., football, basketball, soccer, etc.) or competition event (e.g., mixed martial arts, boxing, powerlifting, etc.) consists of strategically scheduled practice sessions that lead up to competitive games or an event. In team sports, the different positions are the between-subject variables or grouping variables and the practice and game sessions are the within-subject variables because every group (position) is exposed to the practice or game. Additionally, a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures are recorded daily or perhaps even weekly. While there is a lot of debate in the validity and scientific process of reporting “real-world” sports science data, it is a goal of the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition (JEN) to encourage authors to analyze and report the competitive season or event as a means of enhancing the scientific literature.

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