John our bus driver for the day picked us up to go to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). The development of the AIS was greatly due to Australia's poor performance in the 1976 Olympics. Australia wanted to create a space where their elite athletes could train and increase their performance for future competitions. Athletes at the AIS may be as young as 15-16 years of age. If athletes are school age, training programs are scheduled around attending the local high school. The AIS encourages all the athletes to do things outside of their sport whether it is a part time job or attending university. The AIS stresses the benefits of having a backup plan in case something happens where the athlete can no longer compete.
Our day at the AIS started with a tour of the facility led by one of their current athletes. The first stop on the tour was the Sportex exhibit. Sportex is a virtual and interactive room simulating specific sport skills.
A weight room is available for all athletes. Strength and conditioning coaches create programs specific to each athlete and sport.
Next on the schedule for the day was a recovery session. The AIS has an entire building dedicated to the recovery of the athlete after a training session. The facility is equipped with a relaxation/meditation area, floatation tank, warm pool, cold pool, a river, a stretching and much more.
Students participated in a contrast bath treatment. Contrast baths consist of going from a warm pool to a cold pool, alternating for a specific period of time. It is important to finish in the cold pool.
Students relaxing in the warm pool.
Students freezing in the cold pool.
Pictured below is students receiving treatment with the use of an intermittent compression device. The compression device helps reduce swelling.
Lunch was eaten at the AIS dining hall. We had two lectures after lunch. The first lecture was taught by physiotherapist. The lecture was primarily on prevention and management of athletic injuries. The physiotherapist discussed specific techniques the AIS uses to prevent injury. One example is they require all of the basketball players to have both ankles taped during practice and games as a way to prevent ankle sprains.
The second lecture was on movement science. The lecturer explained that there are three subcategories of movement science. They include biomechanics, performance analysis, and skill acquisition. The lecturer discussed how equipment can be used and analyzed to improve the performance of the athlete.
The lecturer then took us on a tour of the movement science department. One unique feature the AIS possesses is an indoor track with eight force plates in a row. Typically facilities will only have a handful of force plates. This feature allows the runners to run normally without worrying about their foot placement.
We also took a tour of the exercise physiology lab. Research is performed on the athletes at the AIS. Studies have been done on anthropometric measurements and altitude differences.Photos were not allowed in this facility. Dinner was done eaten at the AIS dining hall.