Better Together

Scattered about the country, Canada’s best up and coming ski cross athletes have historically been going it alone. The skiers have been isolated from one another, training solo and paying out of pocket for access to specialized programs and facilities.

It’s hard and expensive to follow a solitary path, and not overly conducive to fostering team dynamics and building a strong, competitive team. Thankfully, all that is changing.

Alpine Canada Alpin and the Canada Ski Cross program have created a Centralized Training and Education Program in Calgary, which allows athletes to simultaneously pursue post-secondary education and high performance sport. The program targets ski cross athletes from across Canada with potential who are three to six years from Olympic success.

Leveraging Calgary training facilities, including the CSI Calgary and local ski resorts, athletes will take advantage of integrated services while completing their education.

The CSI Calgary strongly supports this new initiative. Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services, says, “We are here to help and offer the team everything they need to achieve a high quality training environment,” he says. “Proximity to the National Sport School and the local universities and colleges also helps with supporting their education goals.”

Willy Raine, Ski Cross Athletic Director at Alpine Canada Alpin, has been working toward achieving this goal since starting in his role two years ago. For him it’s about more than just getting the athletes training together. “One of the key components of this program is education,” he says. “My goal is to get 75% of the team into post-secondary education. This model will help create better athletes, and help them have better balance in life.”

In addition to a focus on education however, the benefits of centralization include training together, which improves team dynamics and creates an environment where athletes support each other.

Kevin MacDonald, a Next Gen team member, says that with the team now training together they are pushing each other in workouts, something they weren’t able to do before. “We really push each other in the gym,” he says. “If I see one guy lift a certain weight I’m going to try and match or better that, it helps us work harder.”

For Raine, the primary objective is continuing to dominate on the world stage, no small feat for a program that is already number one in the world. “Ultimately centralizing the team will give us an advantage – the stronger the team is collectively the better we will be against the world. When one of us wins, we all win.”

Part of the rationale for centralization is financial sustainability. Having a centralized program that brings gym and on-snow training into one region, greatly reduces the costs to the athlete and the organization. According to Raine it’s just not economically feasible to create programs at multiple ski hills across the country. “We have to bring them together to get them the development they need. We need to push from below to keep the program growing.”

One of the goals of this new program is to develop athletes to the point where they are progressing from NorAm and Europa Cup competitions into World Cup competitions already at a high level. “We want to compress the development phase so that when the Next Gen athletes step up to the Word Cup level they are ready to start in the top 16, to make it into finals,” says Raine.

MacDonald is grateful for the opportunity to train with his team and go to school. “Now we are all doing the same thing, we can relate to each other, it makes the team better.”

Raine is equally happy to see his brainchild come to fruition. He passionately believes they are on the right track to developing both champion ski cross racers and successful students. “We need to help set them up for life, not just sport.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo: Alpine Canada Alpin

Esau, Gallinger, and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary Elevate Parasport Programs

McDougall Training with GallingerShane Esau and Tessa Gallinger did not set out to become the country's leading parasport exercise physiologist and strength and power para-specialist. They each had set out on traditional sport career paths at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and fell into the relatively unchartered world of parasport science. Now, Esau and Gallinger are running programs for 32 athletes across 13 different sports. The athletes that they train are competing in spite of disabilities that include spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, amputation, and visual impairment, all with varying degrees of severity.

Esau and Gallinger firmly believe that the work of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary is second to none in Canada. Operating under the mission to be a key contributor to Canada's world-leading Olympic and Paralympic podium performances, Esau credits the work of the Institute's leaders, Dale Henwood, Jason Poole, Rosemary Neil, and Dr. David Smith as being "instrumental in being able to have the program we do." By blurring the line that traditionally exists between able-bodied and parasports, these industry experts have allowed for the funding, time, and research necessary to improve the training systems needed to become world-leaders in the realm of parasports.

The program has already seen success, bringing home 6 medals from the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, and 5 medals from the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Much of that can be attributed to the work done by the dynamic combination of Esau and Gallinger, who are swift to mention the support contributed by their colleague Jared Fletcher, a PhD student in exercise physiology at the University of Calgary. The parasport program, run by the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, aims to continue its growth with the implementation of a new practicum program focusing on Paralympic strength and conditioning at the University of Calgary.

Due to the enormous range in abilities, Gallinger and Esau's positions involve conducting extensive research into every individual athlete's health concerns before creating their training programs. Even athletes with the same difficulties are treated on a case-by-case basis, because no two athletes react exactly alike to intense training.

One of the biggest challenges that Gallinger has found facing para-athletes is their unfamiliarity with basic body movements. Because of their disabilities, athletes have often been limited in their ability to participate in physical education classes and recreational sports. As an example, Gallinger points out that before working with her, "a lot of athletes did not know how to skip. Once they learn, they excel." Esau has noticed also recognized this trend, saying, "The athletes are novices in terms of learning how to move their bodies even though they are great athletes."

Esau and Gallinger are undeniably big supporters of each other's work, and have mutual admiration for the passion that their athletes exhibit. The unwavering support from the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, along with the University of Calgary and WinSport, has enabled the parasport program to continue to grow up until this point. With a goal of being the world-leading Paralympic team in the future, the team is continuing their research and specialization by building on the incredible foundation that has been set.

Stay in the loop!
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @davehollandpics
Tessa Gallinger: @TessaGallinger
Shane Esau: @Parasport_sci

It’s a Human Thing

Despite the often accepted notion that athletes are tough as nails and can weather any storm that comes their way, the reality is that athletes can struggle with mental illness too. One in five Canadians suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse or other mental health disorders and only one third of those who need mental health services actually receive them. This alarming statistic is the same for athletes: mental illness is as common in athletes as in the general population.

The truth is no one is immune to mental health disorders, including the best performing athletes. It is clearly acknowledged that athletes tend to experience circumstances, pressures and expectations that are very different from non-athletes, which can result in a tendency to minimize signs of weakness and an expectation to push through certain challenges.

Sport subjects a person to a unique set of challenges and circumstances that, at times, negatively impact their mood and functioning. Additionally, there may be subgroups of athletes at elevated risk of mental illness, including those in the retirement phase of their careers, or those experiencing performance failure.

Recently, CSI Calgary staff and sport service providers had the opportunity to learn more about mental health issues and their role as stewards for the athletes they work with. The seminar, hosted by Game Plan Partner, Morneau Shepell – a human resources consulting and technology company that provides employee assistance, health, benefits, and retirement needs – served to educate staff about mental illness, how to recognize warning signs in athletes and what they can do about it.

Through the partnership with Morneau Shepell, Game Plan athletes can access a range of mental health support services. The goal is for staff and service providers to support athletes who may be suffering with mental health issues by building a bridge to professional help.

One of the key messages shared at the seminar was that mental illness is not a sign of weakness and should be taken as seriously as a physical injury. Jay Keddy, Canadian Women’s Alpine Skiing Assistant Coach, says that he is used to dealing with physical injuries in his sport but realizes that mental illness is part of the game too. “This program can help us deal with issues quickly and better than we could on our own. There is some confidence that comes with knowing that this support is available,” says Keddy.

The seminar also served to outline the symptoms of various mental illnesses, such as major depressive disorder, which can help sport service providers recognize warning signs that an athlete may be struggling beyond the day-to-day pressures of the athlete environment. Keddy adds, “Sometimes there are bigger issues than you can deal with in the sport world. It’s not always a sport psych issue, it could be depression or childhood trauma, which is more difficult to address.”

When mental health issues appear there is potentially an immediate impact to performance, but the greater concern is that mental illness will impact the athlete’s life beyond sport. For CSI Calgary Para Medical Lead, Shayne Hutchins, it goes beyond the sport experience. If an athlete shares something with him that causes concern, he will address it with great care. “For me, all of a sudden it’s a human thing, it has nothing to do with sport anymore. It’s about helping the person with their life and what they’re dealing with,” he says.

Tanya Dubnicoff is the Cycling Centre Calgary Athlete Development Lead, a World Champion, World Record Holder and three-time Olympian in track cycling. She remembers reaching out for help during a rough patch in her career. Now as a coach she recognizes the responsibility to care for her athletes and not only focus on training and performance.

Ultimately Dubnicoff says it’s okay to verbalize that something is not feeling right. “It’s the grey area we don’t necessarily talk about,” she says. “We all know to ask ‘how are you doing?’ but this is about caring for the athlete above and beyond their performance.”

Game Plan offers Canadian athletes access to services, resources and programs. Athletes and coaches are encouraged to contact their local Canadian Sport Institute to learn more about athlete eligibility requirements and services available under Game Plan. For more information visit, in Calgary contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

L’union fait la force

Dans le passé, les meilleurs espoirs canadiens de skicross s’entraînaient seuls, chacun dans leur coin de pays. Les skieurs étaient isolés les uns des autres, s’entraînant en solo et défrayant eux-mêmes les coûts d’accès aux installations et aux programmes spécialisés.

Le parcours en solitaire s’avère coûteux et ardu, et ne favorise pas vraiment la dynamique d’équipe et la création d’une équipe forte et compétitive. Heureusement, tout ça est en train de changer.

Alpine Canada Alpin et le programme de skicross national ont créé un programme centralisé d’entraînement et d’éducation à Calgary, ce qui permet aux athlètes de poursuivre à la fois leurs études et le sport de haut niveau. Le programme est destiné aux athlètes de skicross de partout au Canada qui sont à entre trois et six ans d’un succès olympique.

Les athlètes pourront profiter des installations d’entraînement de Calgary, dont l’Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICS Calgary) et les stations de ski locales, et des services intégrés tout en terminant leur parcours scolaire.

L’ICS Calgary appuie vivement cette initiative. Jason Poole, directeur des services à la performance, nous a expliqué : « Nous sommes ici pour aider l’équipe et lui offrir tout ce dont elle a besoin pour profiter d’un environnement d’entraînement de haut niveau. La proximité de la National Sport School et des universités et des collèges de la région contribue aussi à l’atteinte des objectifs scolaires. »

Willy Raine, directeur sportif du skicross d’Alpine Canada Alpin, tente de réaliser cet objectif depuis son entrée en poste il y a deux ans. Pour lui, ça signifie bien plus que de regrouper les athlètes pour l’entraînement. « L’éducation est un élément central de ce programme, a-t-il souligné. Mon objectif, c’est que 75 % de l’équipe se lance dans des études postsecondaires. Ce modèle rendra les athlètes meilleurs, en plus de leur offrir une vie plus équilibrée. »

Ce n’est pas tout, l’entraînement en équipe vient s’ajouter aux avantages d’une équipe centralisée. Il améliore la dynamique d’équipe et crée un environnement où les athlètes s’appuient les uns les autres.

Kevin MacDonald, membre de l’équipe Prochaine génération, mentionne que, vu que l’équipe s’entraîne ensemble, les athlètes s’incitent mutuellement à se dépasser en gymnase, ce qui était impossible par le passé. « Nous nous encourageons à aller plus loin dans le gymnase, a-t-il mentionné. Si je vois quelqu’un soulever une certaine charge, je vais tout faire pour égaler ou améliorer sa marque, ça m’encourage à travailler plus fort. »

Pour M. Raine, l’objectif principal est de poursuivre la domination sur la scène internationale, tout un exploit pour un petit programme déjà au premier rang mondial. « En fin de compte, centraliser l’équipe nous donnera un avantage : plus l’équipe sera forte collectivement, plus nous serons prêts à prendre le monde d’assaut. Quand l’un de nous gagne, tout le monde gagne. »

La centralisation se justifie en partie par la viabilité financière. Un programme centralisé qui offre l’entraînement en gymnase et sur la neige dans une seule région réduit de beaucoup les coûts pour l’athlète et pour l’organisme. Selon M. Raine, c’est tout simplement impossible financièrement de créer des programmes dans plusieurs centres de ski d’un bout à l’autre du pays. « Nous devons les regrouper pour leur offrir le développement dont ils ont besoin. Nous devons pousser par le bas pour assurer la croissance continue du programme. »

L’un des objectifs de ce nouveau programme est de développer des athlètes pour qu’ils aient déjà un niveau élevé quand ils passent des compétitions de la Coupe Nor-Am et de la Europa Cup à celles de la Coupe du monde. « Nous voulons condenser la phase de développement pour qu’au moment de passer en Coupe du monde, les athlètes Prochaine génération soient prêts à se classer parmi les 16 meilleurs, de participer aux finales », a déclaré M. Raine.

Kevin est reconnaissant d’avoir l’occasion de s’entraîner avec son équipe et d’aller à l’école. « Maintenant que nous faisons tous la même chose, nous pouvons nous identifier aux autres, ça rend l’équipe meilleure. »

M. Raine est lui aussi heureux de voir son idée prendre forme. Il croit fermement qu’ils sont sur la bonne voie pour développer des champions de skicross et de brillants étudiants. « Nous devons les aider à se préparer à la vie, pas seulement au sport. »

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo: Alpine Canada Alpin

Les para-athlètes prennent d’assaut l’ICS Calgary lors de l’événement Paralympiens recherchés

18 Novembre 

Trente-huit participants ont démontré qu’ils étaient #PARAFORTS lors de la toute première édition de l’événement Paralympiens recherchés, organisé par le Comité paralympique canadien (CPC) et l’Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICS Calgary) le 14 novembre dernier. L’événement donnait aux personnes vivant avec un handicap physique ou une déficience visuelle l’occasion de faire montre de leurs potentiels athlétiques dans un centre de haut niveau, avec l’espoir de devenir de futurs paralympiens.

Les représentants de Basketball en fauteuil roulant Canada, Canada alpin, Ski de fond Canada, Cyclisme Canada et Hockey Canada ont été ébahis par la détermination des athlètes soumis à une série de tests par le personnel de l’ICS Calgary. Ces tests comprenaient des évaluations anthropométriques, des sprints à pied ou en fauteuil roulant, des sauts en hauteur, des lancers de ballon médicinal, des mesures de force de préhension et d’endurance au moyen d’un ergomètre à bras et d’un vélo ergométrique.

Jason Poole, directeur des services à la performance à l’ICS Calgary, est d’avis que l’événement est historique pour le sport paralympique. « L’ICS Calgary est très heureux de collaborer avec le CPC pour dépister des athlètes potentiels et les initier au sport de compétition. Paralympiens recherchés est une merveilleuse initiative qui réunit plusieurs partenaires différents, dont le CPC, les organismes nationaux de sport et le Réseau ISOP. »

L’athlète ambassadeur Matt Hallat, trois fois paralympien, a galvanisé les athlètes d’un jour avec un vibrant discours d’ouverture. Il a été épaté par le nombre de gens prêts à mesurer leurs aptitudes athlétiques : « Le nombre de participants est incroyable. Paralympiens recherchés est un événement fabuleux parce qu’il permet à des gens de partout au pays de faire du sport et les incite à être actifs en tout temps. » D’actuels paralympiens, comme le cycliste Brayden McDougall qui a participé aux Jeux paralympiques en 2008 et 2012, étaient aussi présents pour se prêter à la série de tests.

Catherine Gosselin-Després, directrice générale du sport pour le CPC, a également été impressionnée par le nombre de candidats et leur désir de pratiquer des sports. « La prochaine étape est de transmettre les résultats des tests aux organismes nationaux de sport », a-t-elle précisé. « Selon les résultats et le profil des athlètes, les organismes pourront ensuite les inviter à prendre part à un programme d’entraînement de haut niveau ou leur fournir d’autres options de participation dans les sports. Chaque participant recevra une réponse de notre part et la possibilité de poursuivre son parcours sportif. »

Des journées de dépistage du programme Paralympiens recherchés auront bientôt lieu à Toronto, Montréal et Vancouver. Le CPC espère aussi s’arrêter ailleurs au pays au cours de l’année à venir. Ne ratez pas la chance de prouver que vous êtes l’un des #PARAFORTS. Visitez le site pour vous inscrire en vue des prochains événements et savoir quand le CPC sera dans votre région.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Para-Athletes Takeover CSI Calgary at Paralympian Search

November 18, 2015

Thirty-eight participants were #PARATOUGH at the first ever Paralympian Search held by the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) on November 14. The event offered individuals with a physical disability or visual impairment the opportunity to test their athletic potential in a high performance environment with the hope of becoming a future Paralympian.

Representatives from Wheelchair Basketball, Alpine Canada, Cross Country Canada, Cycling Canada, and Hockey Canada were inspired by the athletes’ determination as they were put through a series of tests by staff from the CSI Calgary. Tests included anthropometric measurements, wheelchair or running sprints, vertical jumps, medicine ball tosses, grip strength, and endurance using an arm ergometer or velotron bike.

Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services at the CSI Calgary, declared the event to be an exceptional day for Paralympic sport. He emphasized, “The CSI Calgary is happy to collaborate with the CPC to identify potential athletes and to show them a path into sport. The Paralympian Search is a great initiative with many different partners including the CPC, the National Sport Organizations (NSOs), and the COPSI Network.”

Athlete Ambassador Matt Hallat, a three-time Paralympian, fuelled the athletes’ determination by kicking off the event with a rousing speech. He was impressed by the number of people who bravely tested their athletic skills, saying, “It’s amazing how many people showed up. Paralympian Search is great because people across the country can get into sports and be active for life.” Also present were current athletes such as cyclist Brayden McDougall, a 2008 and 2012 Paralympian, who was able to challenged himself in the testing environment.

Catherine Gosselin-Després, Executive Director of Sport for the CPC, was also impressed with the number of attendees and their desire to participate in sport. “The next step is to provide the test results to the NSOs,” she said. “They will make the decision to either invite the athletes into a high performance program or provide them with other options for participation based on the profile identified throughout the testing phase. Everyone who attended will be contacted and will be getting a response from us and an opportunity to continue in sport.”

The Paralympian Search plans to continue on to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. CPC is also hopeful that they will be able to add more venues in the coming year. Don’t miss the chance to see if you are #PARATOUGH. Visit to register for future events and find out when the CPC is in a city near you.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Ryan Van Asten enflamme les Flames

« Communiquer de la connaissance, c’est simplement allumer la bougie d’autres humains avec notre lampe sans se priver soi-même d’aucune lumière. » – Jane Porter, romancière historique écossaise.

C’est en travaillant avec des experts plus intelligents que lui que Ryan Van Asten est devenu lui-même un expert. Maintenant entraîneur de musculation et de conditionnement physique auprès des Flames de Calgary, Ryan a commencé à travailler en sports de haute performance à l’Institut canadien du sport (ICS) de Calgary.

L’ancien joueur de hockey Junior A de l’Université Queen’s se sent très privilégié d’avoir eu la chance de côtoyer certains des meilleurs intervenants dans le secteur tôt dans sa carrière, par exemple Doc Smith, Steve Norris, Matt Jordan et Scott Maw – des experts qu’on ne trouve pas à tous les coins de rue.

« À un gymnase ordinaire, on n’a même pas accès à des esprits de cette trempe, insiste M. Van Asten. À l’ICS de Calgary, on pense différemment; on y adopte une approche bien équilibrée et on dispose d’une base de connaissances énorme. Ils en savaient tellement plus que moi à cette époque, et je pouvais mettre des idées à l’épreuve avec eux pour m’aider dans ma démarche. »

Après avoir travaillé quatre ans auprès des équipes féminines de luge et de hockey du Canada, Ryan a été recruté au poste d’entraîneur, musculation et entraînement, par les Kings de Los Angeles de la Ligue nationale de hockey. En 2014, il est revenu à Calgary pour occuper le même poste auprès des Flames de Calgary.

Le saut dans les sports professionnels peut sembler gigantesque, mais Jason Poole, directeur des Services de la performance à l’ICS de Calgary, explique que les habiletés que Ryan a acquises en travaillant à l’ICS de Calgary l’ont bien préparé.

« Ce que l’ICS de Calgary offre, explique M. Poole, c’est une occasion de se développer, d’apprendre et de croître dans le monde des sports de haute performance. Nous lui avons appris les habiletés dont il avait besoin pour travailler auprès de différentes organisations sportives. » Ce genre d’habiletés est très recherché par les organisations sportives professionnelles telles que les Kings de Los Angeles et les Flames de Calgary.

L’ICS n’offre pas seulement des professionnels compétents au monde des sports, mais aussi des épreuves de calibre mondial. Quand il s’agit d’évaluer les candidats éventuels ou les joueurs des Flames de Calgary, M. Van Asten explique que le laboratoire de l’ICS de Calgary est le seul endroit où il compte emmener ses joueurs. « C’est de loin le meilleur laboratoire au Canada », affirme-t-il.

Ryan aime la précision technique utilisée dans toutes les épreuves, car cela garantit que les données sont fiables. « Tout est parfaitement calibré et les protocoles sont rigoureusement suivis, insiste-t-il. C’est la même chose à chaque fois, et c’est ce qu’il faut. »

Poole confirme en ajoutant « Une des expertises les plus importantes dont nous disposons, c’est l’évaluation des athlètes. Nous pouvons nous servir des données pour nous adapter aux besoins du sport particulier ». M. Poole explique que c’est ce qui distingue l’ICS de Calgary : ils peuvent établir sur mesure ce qu’ils font selon les besoins propres à chaque sport.

Ryan espère un jour être capable d’émuler le modèle de l’ICS de Calgary chez les Flames de Calgary. « Ce que j’espère accomplir chez les Flames ressemble à ce que l’ICS de Calgary a créé : une approche de la performance des plus équilibrée. »

Mû par un désir d’accroître ses propres connaissances et de communiquer aux autres ce qu’il apprend tout au long de sa carrière pour qu’ils puissent s’améliorer eux aussi, M. Van Asten est sincère et déterminé. « Ma vision, c’est de bâtir un programme de plus grande envergure et de me servir de l’ICS de Calgary comme exemple », conclut-il.

Institut canadien du sport de calgary: @csicalgary
Rédigé par Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo crédit: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto

That Research Mind

Sport – is it art or science, or both? There’s no question that in today’s quest for ever higher, faster and stronger athletes, sport has increasingly evolved to rely on science as one of the primary tools for objectively measuring and improving athletic performance.

When a coach or service provider has an idea for improving performance, such as a new training method or use of a new technology, it can be difficult to determine the impact it has on performance – there are so many variables at play. In the past, new ideas were sometimes implemented and evaluated in the field without much objectivity or scientific basis. Research was also often done in isolation, in academia, far away from the playing field. Today, there is a better way.

Enter Dr. Erik Groves, Research and Innovation Lead at the CSI Calgary. His job is to evaluate the impact of new methodologies or technologies to support athlete training and recovery that will enhance performance using scientific investigation. “The goal is understanding if and how a new method or technology increases our understanding for athlete improvement,” says Groves.

Groves works directly with NSO’s, coaches and service providers, and his research is often conducted in real-world settings with athletes in a variety of sports. His background in scientific research and sport makes him ideally suited to fill this cutting-edge role of applied research at the CSI Calgary.

“What Erik brings is that research mind,” says Rosie Neil, Director of Development and Strategic Programs. “He applies that to evaluate an innovation through research.” That research mind is key when it comes to helping service providers and coaches wade through the waves of new training ideas and technologies that are constantly reaching the shore.

Groves will take an idea that a coach has, or offer his own ideas, and work to objectively measure and evaluate the impact it has on performance. Adds Neil, “he knows how to collect data so it has the rigour to make a conclusion possible. He’s instrumental in disseminating that data in order to see the bigger picture.”

In some cases, research is not possible until the right measurement tools are in place. For example, one of Groves’ current projects, funded by Own the Podium, is a new timing system at the Olympic Oval that will track speed skaters’ velocity during training. The data collected from this system will be intrinsically useful but will also offer several new opportunities for further research – research that wasn’t possible before.

“We are building a technological foundation from which we can do research with sport specific data and testing protocols,” says Groves. “With these tools we have the capability of conducting high quality, sport specific research.”

Groves’ work however, goes beyond solving one problem for one sport. “This is not just for a single sport,” he says. “By having a point person on the concept of research and innovation you can leverage the process for problem solving for one sport to another sport, it’s a synergistic effect.” This means that some of his research conclusions in one sport may be applicable to other sports, or perhaps the same methodology can be applied to a similar problem in another sport.

Groves’ position didn’t always exist at the CSI Calgary; in fact, he is the first to fill it. Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services, says that adding the research and innovation role was part of the strategic plan to becoming a leading Canadian Sport Institute. “This is one of the pillars to being a true institute,” he says. “We’re not just there for service delivery but we actively do scientific research for better service.”

For Neil, the value is not only in improving service delivery, but doing so with scientific precision and integrity. “For the CSI Calgary it is hugely important to have this role. We don’t want to work on hunches but be able to look objectively at how we move forward.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Copyright © 2013 Canadian Sport Institute Calgary | All Rights Reserved | Photo Credit : Dave Holland