Can off-field ‘brains’ provide a competitive advantage in professional football?

McCall, A., Davison, M., Carling, C. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7456-3493, Buckthorpe, M., Coutts, A.J., and Dupont, G. (2016) Can off-field ‘brains’ provide a competitive advantage in professional football? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50 (12). pp. 710-712. ISSN 0306-3674

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‘Working-fast and working-slow’ in sport describes the concept that practice and research can be integrated to improve high-performance outcomes and enhance professional practice.1 ‘Working-fast’ is the task of the fast-thinking, intuitive practitioner operating on ‘the ground’ at a frenetic pace, interacting with coaches and athletes, and delivering the daily preparation programme. ‘Working-slow’ is key for the team's deliberate, focused researcher acting as the resident sceptic, operating behind the scenes on tasks that the ‘fast-practitioner’ may not have time and/or skills to undertake. Such hidden, but important, tasks include determining measurement noise/error in performance tests, establishing proof of concept for new ideas and ensuring validity of methods. Embedding research into the fast environment of high-performance football may provide a competitive advantage using ethical and evidence-based methods.1

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