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The Institute for Research Excellence in Sport and Exercise (IRESE)

Research Themes - Movement Science

IRESE research into movement science covers four main areas: sport biomechanics (carried out by both constituent universities); motor control and learning; performance analysis and sport coaching.

Housed in the National Indoor Athletics Centre, the Sports Biomechanics research group has access to leading edge facilities. Led by Prof Gareth Irwin, the group’s research is concerned primarily with understanding and improving sports performance and reducing injury by combining computer simulation modelling and advanced measurement techniques within a sporting context. Current projects are linked to improving the  understanding of the mechanics of skills like running, jumping and landing in athletics, swinging in gymnastics and kicking in soccer. The group has a strong commitment to the coaching-biomechanics interface and has been particularly successful in securing EPSRC and other funding for its work – the principal aim is to understand the musculoskeletal contributions to performance and to bridge the gap between theory and practice be providing scientifically grounded but coach friendly feedback.

Motor Control and Learning - Research has focused on several areas including: interactions between motor processes and emotion, e.g. investigating how the positive emotion associated with motor fluency might facilitate skill learning, as well as how motor fluency influences overall affective experience. Research also focuses on skill acquisition and the attainment of expertise. Specifically, developing training to help performers succeed in stressful and anxious environments (i.e. hypoxic, sleep deprivation). Further research investigates how we can manipulate the practice environment through focus of attention to enhance performance and movement adaptations during optimal and sub-optimal performance (e.g. anxious performance). This group collaborates with the School of Psychology (Bangor) and IPEP.

The Performance Analysis research group, led by Dr Peter O'Donoghue, work in the areas of feedback technology, developing theoretical models of sports performance, application of performance analysis in the coaching process, selection and judging contexts, work-rate analysis, analysis of injury risk, tactics in sport and technical effectiveness.

Sports coaching research at Cardiff is diverse and wide ranging. Led by Professor Robyn Jones, and driven principally by a perception of coaching as a complex social endeavour, contributions to a holistic view of the activity come from many quarters. Main areas of focus are coaching from the perspectives of reflective practice and as a ‘community of practice’. Investigations are also under way in relation to the delivery of sports coaching as problem-based learning through action research and ethno-drama, as well as the various formats through which the social phenomenon of coaching can be represented.  The performance analysis research group are working in the following areas; feedback technology, developing theoretical models of sports performance, application of performance analysis in the coaching process, selection and judging contexts, work-rate analysis, analysis of injury risk, tactics in sport and technical effectiveness.