You’d have to be living under a rock not to have exposed to the current ASADA investigation and fallout involving NRL club the Cronulla Sharks. Being that the club is just 2 kilometres down the road and that many junior development players, ex-players and current club captain Paul Gallen have trained at Shire Speed and Strength, the investigation and surrounding ACC push into drugs in sport is of particular interest here.
Last night, Insight on SBS, focused on sports science and medicine in the main Australian football codes and other high profile sports. A link to the uploaded version of the show can be found here.
The program raised several important issues but left me to make the following charges that go beyond the main focus of the ACC and ASADA case; PED’s.
The following charges I place at Australian professional sports in general, and the stake holders who control it.
On the charge of failing to provide long-term athlete development, starting with elite youth levels; Guilty.
On the charge of failing to develop general capacities for players involved even up to and over 10 years in a professional sporting club; Guilty.
On the charge of using attritional selection protocols, starting at youth levels; Guilty.
On the charge of cronyism and nepotism to hire staff; Guilty.
On the charge of emphasising, and creating an environment, for the necessary appearance of being ‘cutting-edge’ over being generally competent; Guilty.
On the charge of therapy-based exercise prescription being emphasized over performance for un-injured athletes; Guilty.
On the charge of a lack of overall program management, and appointing a technical-tactical specialist coach as the main management authority; Guilty.
On the charge of conflating Sports Science as an undergraduate degree program that teaches high performance development protocols; Guilty.
On the charge of creating fertile ground for the consistent use of the Argument from Authority; Guilty.
On the charge of robbing the word Science of its meaning; Guilty.
On the charge of valuing credential over education and performance; Guilty.
Much has been read and said on the plight of the Cronulla Sharks players. The investigations are on-going and the responsibility for whatever indiscretions that might be found will have to be portioned out. What I do know as fact, is that those players through 2011 had glaring general capacity weaknesses and that it seems there was an initiative towards exploring ‘cutting edge’ silver bullet solutions rather than identifying and improving those weaknesses.
The real shame is that those players never should had PED’s offered to them; they should have just been trained better.