A LA TROBE researcher has urged more universities to back elite women's sports teams with insights after time embedded with the Bendigo Spirit and Braves.
PhD student Jodie Palmer has revealed the results of in-depth performance research in the European Journal of Sports Science.
She tracked the ways players performed when they went into games or training fatigued throughout the 2019 seasons, giving critical insights for the coaching staff.
"Sport in general, and sports science especially, can often be really biased towards men's sport," Ms Palmer said.
"Often in the research space, women's sport gets forgotten.
"So this new research is just one example of the really useful and practical outcomes you can get when universities invest that time and finite resources into women's sport."
Ms Palmer's newly published research tracks how muscles coped after players performed high intensity activities.
"If you are training and playing a lot, like they do in the WNBL [Women's National Basketball League], you can end up fatigued, as you can imagine," Ms Palmer said.
Her research helped coaching staff put a number on how often each player turned up to training and games fatigued, then see how much it limited their ability to perform high intensity activity.
"Obviously, when you train and play as hard as they do in the WNBL, fatigue is unavoidable. You are going to end up with fatigue at some point during your week," Ms Palmer said.
Coaching staff and players wanted insights that allowed them to train hard and still excel on gameday.
Ms Palmer used accelerometers - small machines that track player movements - to draw in data.
That sort of GPS technology has long been used by footballers but until recently has not been popular among Australia's professional basketball teams, she said.
"But if teams are looking for ways to improve their performance then athlete monitoring is really a no-brainer," Ms Palmer said.
"The biggest barrier in the WNBL and women's sport in general is resources. Men's teams will usually have a full-time sports scientist, a full-time strength and conditioning coach."
Hence, Ms Palmer said, the opportunity for more PhD researchers and universities to step in.
Her research paper, "Residual neuromuscular fatigue influences subsequent on-court activity in basketball", appears in the European Journal of Sport Science.
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