The Central Coast Mariners are the toast of the region after winning their first A-League championship and also defeating some of the world’s best clubs in the Asian Football Confederation’s Champions League tournament.
The A-League Premiers have been buoyed by the support of their fans and the greater community, including an ongoing research partnership with the University of Newcastle – Central Coast.
Since 2007 the University’s Exercise and Sport Science researchers and students have been evaluating the performance and training of the Mariners players and have introduced a unique test to provide coaching staff with invaluable insights into a player’s strengths and weaknesses.
“For the last two years we have been conducting weekly testing to better understand how fatigued the players are after each game,” Dr Xanne Janse de Jonge said.
“The monitoring information is used by the coaching staff to identify which players are not recovering as well as they should after a game so that they can adjust or reduce a player’s training to limit the risk of injury.”
During their post-game recovery each Mariners player is given a ‘jump test’ by a University student or researcher to measure the strength and power of their bodies. The data is then used to assess their level of fatigue which is taken into account when the coaches are planning training regimes.
“The next step is to further analyse the data that we have collected to see whether there are any links between the test results, the training load and injury prevention,” Dr Janse de Jonge said.
Central Coast Mariners Head of Sport Science, Andrew Clark, is currently completing a MPhil in Exercise Science at the University of Newcastle’s Ourimbah campus. He believes that science has an important role to play in helping an elite athlete achieve their best.
“The researchers and students are familiar with the latest techniques used in elite sport to improve performance,” he said.
“The insight that they have provided has been invaluable in giving us a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of our players, to ensure that we have the best team available to play on the day.”