September 3, 2019

The Australian Institute of Sport Field Trip

Braden Woods

On Monday the 5th August 2019 the ISCA team headed out from Narrabeen down to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra. The trip was organised to give the students an opportunity to hear from some of the most accomplished coaches and athletes in the country, as well as experience the elite athlete training facilities first hand in practical workshops.

When the students arrived at the institute they were given time to settle in after the long drive before undertaking a tour of the site. The tour began in the visitor centre where the students were able to participate and test their skills in a multitude of interactive sporting games including sports like basketball, rowing, skeleton, football, AFL, and skiing.

From there the tour went through the various sporting venues such as the Arena stadium, gymnastics centre, volleyball courts, strength and conditioning gym, combat centre, recovery centre, and testing and training pool. Each of the facilities was designed around their specific sports such as cameras facing each apparatus in the gymnastics centre so that the athletes can review their performance during practice, and extra high doors and ceilings in the volleyball centre to account for the height of their athletes.

After the tour was completed the students checked into the athlete accommodation and refuelled at lunch before heading to a session in the combat centre with Jamie Pittman, Boxing Australia’s National Youth Coach. Jamie ran through a quick presentation about his experiences as an elite athlete and coach in the sport of Boxing before running the students through a light practical session. It was very insightful to hear about Jamie’s journey and transition from an athlete to coach and to give the students a new perspective from a sport completely different to their own.

After the session with Jamie, the students then had an opportunity to use the 50 metre pool and run through some swimming and recovery activities before drying off and heading over to the recovery centre. Once at the recovery centre, the staff ran through some of the protocols that the athletes visiting the Institute use and allowed the students to participate in a recovery session themselves. The session consisted of both a wet and dry component with the students starting with some light stretching, mobility exercises and foam rolling. Once this was completed, they then moved onto using the Normatec recovery boots and massage chairs to help relieve sore and tight muscles particularly in the lower limbs. The recovery session then finished off with some wet hydrotherapy in the hot and cold plunge pools and whirlpool. The students all enjoyed finishing the first day on a relaxing note before heading off to dinner and evening activities.

Day two of the Field trip began with breakfast at 8am followed by a quick checkout at 8:30am. The students then made their way to the lecture room where they were given a 1h presentation on Strength and Conditioning from some of the AIS Strength and Conditioning staff. They covered some basic principles of Strength and Conditioning and learnt how to construct a program for an athlete in a given sport based on the sports physiology and movement requirements. The example sport that they used in the lecture was for an elite level footballer. The students were then taken to the Strength and Conditioning gym where they undertook a practical session involving movement drills that were previously discussed in the lecture room. This was a unique opportunity for the ISCA students to be immersed in an elite setting surrounded by world class athletes from sports such as Basketball, Athletics, Rowing, Volleyball and many other sports.

After the Strength and Conditioning component of the trip was completed, the students moved onto a small sided game of football in their free time before heading to lunch. Once refuelled, everyone then proceeded back to the lecture room where they were given an in depth lecture into sports nutrition and its role in improving athletic performance. This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to ask any questions they had in relation to their individual sports as well as queries on foods, supplements, and myths within sports relating to nutrition. After the nutrition session was completed the students were de-briefed before departing for the trip back home to Sydney.

Overall the trip proved to be very educational and was a unique opportunity for the students to experience the field of elite sports firsthand.