Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Healthy Holiday Eating

Tis the season of good cheer and holiday celebrations. Keeping your basic dietary and exercise lifestyle habits on track helps to combat that holiday weight gain. Research shows that one-off over-indulgences do not cause weight gain, rather the weight gain is induced by the gradual and sustained caloric increases or dietary habits that are developed as long term behaviours. So while it is fine to indulge in those holiday treats, it is also important to remember a few key tips to help avoid the holiday over-indulgences.

  • When faced with a holiday meal or those groaning buffet tables, remember portion control and selecting from a variety of food groups
  • Drink a large glass of water just before the holiday dinner, liquid helps you feel fuller faster
  • Use a smaller plate
  • Cover most of the plate with vegetables and salad
  • While turkey is one of the lean proteins, keep portion control in mind
  • Keep stuffing portions small
  • Avoid "candied" vegetables and starches
  • Instead of watching football, why not suggest an activity of your own
  • Instead of having full portions of desserts or sweets, make thoughtful selections and just indulge in a taste of each
  • Cut down on alcohol consumption, it is a fast way to add up calories
  • Offer to make lighter versions of traditional dishes as your contribution to the table
  • Remember to maintain your exercise routine
  • Don't let the season begin before it should and end way after it should, those are the beginnings of lifestyle habits
The holiday season is about spending time with family and friends. Focusing on the enjoyment of the companionship instead of the food is the best way to head off the holiday calories. After all that is the true meaning of the season.

References from the SIRC Collection:
  1. Burrell, S. (2012). Avoiding the Holiday Body Hangover. Bicycling Australia (173), p.90.
  2. Wuesthoff, S. (2011). 'Tis the season for holiday eating strategies. IDEA Fitness Journal, 8(10), p.56.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter Cycling

by Michelle Caron
Algonquin College Library Technician Student
SIRC Intern

Peering outside in the morning darkness when it’s cold and windy outside is enough to discourage even the most determined cyclists.  However, making the appropriate adjustments for the climate in the winter months can make cycling in the winter months both positive and enjoyable.

Be Prepared:
Most people who ride in the winter get the question “how do you stay warm?” But the issue is not how to stay warm, it’s how do you regulate your temperature once the body starts working hard? 

The key to this challenge is layering:
  • The first layer should be snug to your body and made of a material that moves moisture away from you, synthetics or wool are your best options.
  • The second layer is an insulator and should be a little looser on your body to trap the air and keep you warm. 
  • The third layer is to protect you from the elements.  It should be a zip-up with wind-blocking and water resistant capabilities.  Be prepared to dress up or dress down.
  • The most important to consider are the hands, feet and head since these can get cold the quickest.  Some items to check out would be lycra booties, polyester socks, wind stopper gloves and wool hats with ear guards.
Wear bright clothing, winter consists of shorter daylight hours and flying snow can make it difficult for others on the road to spot you.  Attaching lights to your bike are a good idea and can keep you safer. Every year there are new items of cycling gear on the market and a consumer should have no problem finding what they need to get started.

Road chemicals, salt, and sand can all deteriorate your bike quickly.  If you take 10-15 minutes to wipe down and lubricate your bike after each ride it can prevent corrosion and save you some money on repairs in the future.  Equipping your bike with studded tires helps with traction and increases control. 

Since it is cold outside, riders tend to forget to stay hydrated.  The reality is that biking is an aerobic activity, and with the added layers can actually make you feel warmer.   If temperatures are really cold, you can keep your water bottle next to your body to prevent the water from freezing.

For more tips on winter cycling safety, comfort and maintenance visit SIRC.

References from the SIRC Collection: 
  1. "Beat The Big Freeze." Cycling Weekly (2010): 38-41.
  2. Bridge, M., and M. Febbraio. "Training In Extreme Conditions." In Jeukendrup, A.E. (ed.), High-performance cycling, Champaign, Ill., Human Kinetics, c2002, p.43-55. United States: 2002.
  3. Michael N. Sawka, et al. "Glycerol Hyperhydration: Physiological Responses During Cold-Air Exposure." Journal Of Applied Physiology 99.2 (2005): 515-521.
  4. "Pulling Out The Winter Gear As The Temperature Drops." Cycling Weekly (2009): 33.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feet First

Like most things in life, a strong and balanced foundation is crucial and this also applies to the human body. The solution to some of the body's most nagging ailments could quite simply be resolved by wearing the right type of shoes for your type of body and its mechanics.

Pronation is the term used to describe the normal motion of the foot when it strikes the ground during the gait cycle. Normal weight distribution travels from the lateral side of the heel (subtalar) to the medial (talocalcaneonavicular) side of the ball of the foot.  Knowing if one is an “over pronator" or "supinator” is valuable information in diagnosing other areas of injury, as well as choosing the correct footwear and/or foot supports.

Over pronation occurs when the feet roll inward excessively, creating a flat foot which can lead to a variety of injuries, especially in runners, including:
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Anterior compartment syndrome
  • Bunions (Hallux valgus)
  • Patello-femoral pain syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
For a supinator (under pronator), the foot will not roll far enough in a medial direction during the gait cycle, with excessive weight put on the baby toe (metatarsal) towards the lateral side of the foot, and therefore not allow the foot to provide efficient shock absorption. Extreme supination can lead to:
  • Ankle sprains
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints 
  • Stress fractures of the tibia, calcaneus and metatarsals
In both excessive cases of pronation, the wearing patterns on the soles of the shoes can say a lot about how your feet are striking the ground during gait. Depending on the severity of the correction required, the proper shoe or insole can straighten things out. There are also custom orthotics, specially fitted devices, that can be made for sports and dress shoes.

If the feet are out of line, so will everything else be. So don’t let misalignment create unnecessary wear and tear on the body.

For more information on biomechanics, please visit SIRC.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can endurance athletes be vegetarians?

by Michelle Caron
Algonquin College Library Technician Student
SIRC Intern

All athletes want to be better, faster and stronger than their opponents. On race days, athletes need food that will give them the energy to get through to the end of the day. In order to accomplish this goal, the right combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are required. Endurance athletes need to consume more calories than the average person, so when an athlete makes the decision to become a vegetarian it can be a complicated move.

High performance comes with good health so many athletes have been exploring vegetarianism as a viable lifestyle change. There are various types of vegetarianism:
  • Vegan: This group excludes animal food and animal products. They eat only plant-based food. 
  • Lacto-Vegetarian: This is a pure plant diet that includes dairy products. 
  • Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: Will not eat meat products but includes eggs and dairy 
  • Pesco-Vegetarian: Does not eat meat but includes fish. 
Comprehensive research is highly recommended so that athletes can make an informed decision before cutting meat out of their diet. Without that knowledge base, vegetarian diets have the potential to be unhealthy (saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, low protein, iron, zinc and calcium). That being said, vegetarian diets are able to support an athletes’ needs and with careful planning it can be done. Some tips to consider:
  • Prepare your meals at home 
  • Vary the foods you eat 
  • Make smart choices by monitoring protein intake 
  • Try to eat small, frequent, nutrient packed meals throughout the day to keep energy and blood levels stable
Nutrition deficiency can happen very easily when someone is going through intensive training. This can be avoided if you incorporate nutrient rich foods. Some staples to incorporate into your diet should include: 
  • Hummus 
  • Beans – kidney, black beans and lentils 
  • Nuts and nut butters – almond, cashew 
  • Brown rice 
  • Whole grains 
  • Fortified soy milk 
  • Seeds containing Omega 3 – flax, hemp, chia, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower 
  • Good iron sources – spinach, broccoli, oatmeal and fortified cereals 
  • Vitamin supplements 
If you feel you are out of your depth regarding nutrition and vitamin supplements, Dieticians of Canada is a wonderful resource that provides comprehensive information on healthy nutrition for athletes. It is possible to maintain a healthy, plant-based diet and still perform at higher levels if you educate yourself and ensure all your nutritional needs are met. 

For more information on vegetarianism and sport, please contact SIRC

References from the SIRC Collection: 
  1. Crosland, J. "The Athlete's Guide To Turning Vegetarian: More And More Athletes Are Turning Vegetarian. But It's Vital They Follow Some Simple Guidelines. Jeanette Crosland Suggests How It Should Be Tackled." The Coach (Peterborough, England) 4 (2001): 42-44. 
  2. Eberle, S.G. "Vegetarian Diets For Endurance Athletes." Strength & Conditioning Journal 26.4 (2004): 60- 61. Fuhrman, Joel, and Deana M. Ferreri. "Fueling The Vegetarian (Vegan) Athlete." Current Sports Medicine Reports 9.4 (2010): 233-341. 
  3. Nisevich, Pamela M. "Training Tips For Vegetarian Athletes." IDEA Fitness Journal 6.4 (2009): 56-58. 
  4. Seebohar, Bob. "VEGETARIAN EATING Life Style." Triathlon Life 10.4 (2007): 36. 
  5. Venderley, Angela M., and Wayne W. Campbell. "Vegetarian Diets: Nutritional Considerations For Athletes." Sports Medicine 36.4 (2006): 293-305.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dance for Fitness

The debate on the athleticism, physical requirements and benefits of dancing is finally being put to rest and the sport is gaining much deserved respect. Generally an aerobic exercise, regular sessions of dancing can bring well known health benefits, such as:

  • weight control
  • flexibility
  • strength
  • endurance
  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • a sense of psychological well-being
However, like any task done to the extreme, there are health risks that come with the demands of professional dancing, which can include:

  • Sport injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Stress associated with a higher than average risk of eating disorders and body image
There are as many types of dance as there are running shoes. From ballet, hip hop and swing to belly, Latin and country western, there is a dance for everyone. So turn on a favourite type of music and dance like no one is watching getting fit in the process.

For more information on dance, please visit  SIRC.

Monday, November 28, 2011

SAIT Slides into Sport Research

We often speak about the significance that participating in sport brings to improving our well-being   socially, mentally and spiritually.  But on the competition side, those involved in sport are also always looking for ways to improve their performance, which will range from the psychology and physiology of sport to improving the equipment used. These tools of the trade not only include moving the human body faster and higher, but also refining any equipment used to transport the body towards superior performances. Skates, pole vault poles, skis and running shoes are just a few examples of the type of apparatus utilized by athletes.

One institution that is taking a lead role in such design changes is the SAIT Polytechnic (Southern Institute of Applied Technology) in Calgary, Alberta, who has become involved in the development and modifications to sleds used for the winter sports of skeleton, luge and bobsleigh. Despite their relative inexperience in working in sport, the team under the direction of Principal Investigator Dr. Alex Zahavich, Director, ARIS-SAIT (Applied Research and Innovation Services), was initially commissioned by Bobsleigh Canada in 2006 to design skeleton sleds that would perform well at a reasonable cost, hopefully increasing participation in the sport. Long term goals were to develop high performance sleds for international competitions an area they have successfully moved in to.

The SAIT incremental strategy was to buy technology (i.e. equipment) from other countries and then reverse engineer their sleds. Also vital to the process was that the design team, including journeymen machinists and welders, had to actually slide their prototypes down a sliding course so that they fully understood the experience.  So extraordinary is their contribution to the sliding world, the advancements accomplished at SAIT, in conjunction with Canada’s Own the Podium (OTP), was featured by the Discovery Channel.

Using research and development to change equipment - construction design and materials - is one very essential tactic to keep competing athletes on the cutting edge, giving them an advantage on the world stage.

For more information on sports research and development, please visit SIRC.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Art of Waxing

Seeing as it’s the end of November, some areas of Canada have already seen snow, while others are one big snow storm away. If you are thinking of taking up cross country skiing, now is a good time to start thinking about preparing for the ski season before the trails are calling your name. As Cross Country Canada says, cross-country skiing is easy to learn and its benefits for health and wellness are unmatched.

If you walk into any ski shop, the sheer number of colourful wax tins may be enough to create some confusion. Getting your skis ready for the season does include the need to grasp the art of waxing but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. However, the sooner you learn that the type of wax you use on your skis can make or break your ski day, the better off you will be.

There are basically two types of ski wax: grip and glide. The grip wax goes on what is called the kick zone of classic cross-country skis, while glide wax goes on the rest of the classic ski, on the entire length of skate skis (as on downhill skis and snowboards). The selection of waxes is influenced by some or all of the following:
  • The outside temperature
  • Type of snow – new, dry, wet, old
  • The snow and air temperature
  • The relative humidity: high (over 75%), normal (55%-75%), low (below 55%)
  • The structure of the snow: old, coarse, icy, dirty, new or fine granule
  • The distance to be skied
  • The technique used: free (skating) or classical (diagonal stride)
There is no doubt that ski waxing is not a science, but an art. You’d be well advised to attend a ski waxing clinic or refer to the many ski waxing guides that are available to insure you get it right the first time you hit the trails.

For more information on cross country skiing, please visit SIRC.

Monday, November 21, 2011

When is it Right to Return to Play?

The comeback of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins began last night when he took to the ice for the first time since suffering a concussion against Tampa Bay on January 5.  Now the poster child for concussions, Crosby, recognized as the best player in the world, actually suffered two hits to the head just four days apart and went on to miss 61 regular season games and the playoffs. At times it takes a high profile all-star player like Crosby to bring the seriousness of a condition like concussions from the shadows and into the limelight, doing everyone a favour in the long run. The concussion education that has been gained over the past year has provided much needed awareness to athletes, coaches, administrators, parents, teachers, fans, media and sponsors.  SIRC's Concussion Resource page compiles  the latest and relevant resources on concussion in sport, where everything from research articles to assessment tools to youth videos can be found.

According to ThinkFirst and the Return to Play guidelines, there is an order of activities that the concussed patient must follow and be symptom-free before moving on to the next step. If symptoms re-occur, the patient must return to the previous stage until the symptoms are gone.
  1. No activity, only complete rest.
  2. Light aerobic exercise, such as walking or stationary cycling.
  3. Sport specific activities, such as skating, throwing, jumping, running, etc. can begin.
  4. Drills without body contact.
  5. Game play.

Anyone can suffer from a concussion on the ice rink, the playground, the basketball court or the ski hill. The same guidelines must be followed as it is very important to never return to play while still experiencing symptoms of a concussion. It is of vital importance that concussion management include cognitive and mental function, not just any physical demands, in order to achieve the proper recovery.

For more information on concussions and return to play guidelines, please read SIRC's
latest Newsletter on concussions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

University of Toronto Gets Green Light for New Sports Lab

The Faculty of Physical Education and Health at the University of Toronto has announced that the build is on for a dazzling new sports lab facility geared towards high performance sports science research. With inspiration and direction from the previous Dean of Physical Education and Olympian, Bruce Kidd, the The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport will open its doors in 2014 in downtown Toronto, Ontario, just across from Varsity Stadium.

In 2006 Warren Goldring, a 1949 graduate of the University of Toronto, and his family gave an $11 million gift to establish the high performance research centre. The green light came in November 2011 when the province’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities contributed $22.5 million towards the construction. 

Under the direction of the new Dean Ira Jacobs, the centre is said to be the first facility in Canada to dedicate itself to the rudimentary science of elite athletics advancement. The vision behind Goldring is to c
reate synergies that bolster research in the areas of sport and exercise research, sport medicine, training and competition. A much needed resource to the University of Toronto and the province of Ontario, the Centre will house the necessary laboratories and testing equipment to analyze athletic performances and test scientific hypotheses. And with a name like "Goldring", there will no doubt be gold medal research and success that is produced to benefit athletic performance and sport in Canada.

For more information on sports science research, please contact

Multiple Intelligences for Learning Martial Arts

by Philippe-Aron Muma
Algonquin College Sport Management Student
SIRC Intern

Taijiquan or taiji is an excellent mind- body exercise that is practiced throughout the world. This Chinese art form incorporates several disciplines including; philosophy, medicine and martial arts. In order to learn taiji a student can utilize multiple intelligences: 
  • Logical and mathematical learners can breakdown sequences to solve numerical patterns. In taiji these “reasoning smart thinkers,” can link postures into small sequences, small sequences into sections and combine the sections into routines. 
  • Linguistic and verbal intelligence learners are “word smart” who excel and demonstrate strong speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. These students would learn by verbalizing the instructions step by step. 
  • Spatial or visual learners are ones that learn from seeing how it’s done. They are “picture smart,” such resources as pictures, diagrams charts and other visual media can assist in their training. 
  • Kinesthetic intelligence is a hands- on method to learning. Teachers can demonstrate by physically modeling the taiji principles through body language and structure. 
No matter what kind of learner an individual is, he or she may use any sort of intelligence to enjoy taiji. These learning principles also extend to all sports and activities. No matter what kind of learner an individual is, there are multiple ways to apply themselves to an activity.

Source from the SIRC Collection:
BROWN, D. (2011). Multiple Intelligences in the Process of learning Martial Arts Using Taijiquan as an Example. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. 20(2), 8-21

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SIRC Gets in the SPIN of Things

The 2011 SPIN (SPort INnovation) Summit is in its second day at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in downtown Toronto, Ontario. Canada’s greatest minds in sport science have come together for a conference focusing on premier applied sport science, sport medicine and research that services the high performance sport community.  Themes this year include bullet proofing the 2012 Olympic Games plan (London), solidifying the 2014 Olympic Winter Games strategy (Sochi) and other hot topics on research and innovation.

Amongst those sharing their knowledge are experts from the
Canadian Sport Centre system, Own the Podium (OTP) and health care practitioners who focus on optimizing athlete’s health. Opening the conference were presentations in athlete planning where Dr. David Smith, Director of Sport Science from the Canadian Sport Centre – Calgary, talked about “Preparing for the Podium” and how successful podium performance at the Olympic Games requires a foundation of reliable World Cup or World Championships performance in the years prior to the Olympic Games. He was followed by Rowing Canadas Peter Cookson and Terry Paul who gave examples on how appropriate and necessary changes in their preparations have led to success with the rowing team.

SIRC is joined by a select group of exhibitors at the SPIN Summit, including:
  • Fusion Sport
  • Normatec
  • Sports Tec
  • Sports Physiotherapy Canada
  • Coaches of Canada
  • Crim
  • Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada

The Summit, which closes on Thursday evening, will highlight best practices in performance on demand from competitive experiences at Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more information on sport science, please contact SIRC.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two Cities Vie for the Friendly Games in 2018

Logo credit:
Commonwealth Games
The host city of the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) this Friday, November 11, 2011 at 6pm local time from Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.  In the running are two cities, one on the Asian continent and the other on the Oceanic continent. The south coastal Sri Lankan city of Hambantota was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami which was reported to have killed a large portion of the town's population.  Their bid for the 2018 Games is part of the major facelift for the city in developing Hambantota as a sports hub, having already hosted matches for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The Australian east coastal city of Gold Coast, located 94km south of the Queensland state capital Brisbane, will be the fifth Australian city looking to host the Commonwealth Games. Australia hosted the Games four times previously, in 1938 (Sydney as British Empire Games), 1962 (Perth), 1982 (Brisbane) and 2006 (Melbourne).

Often referred to as the "Friendly Games," the first Commonwealth Games (then known as the British Empire Games) were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada with 400 athletes from 11 countries competing in six sports and 59 events.  Showing a tremendous growth in participation since those days in Hamilton, the 2010 Games in Delhi, India hosted 71 nations in 17 sports (272 events) for 4352 athletes. The 2014 Commonwealth Games will be held in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

Who will it be? Watch “
live” online when 71 member Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA’s) vote to announce if Hambantota or Gold Coast is the host city of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

For more information on the Commonwealth Games, please contact

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saving Face

The position of goaltender in the game of professional hockey is so specialized that no goalies play other positions, and likewise, no other players play goalie.  Because of the tremendous power of the shots of the puck towards the net, the goaltender wears special equipment designed to protect the body from direct impact. Goalies may use any part of their bodies to block shots, including their face and head. After receiving a seven-stitch laceration to the face in 1959, Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens, was the first goaltender to employ the practical fiberglass mask to protect his face, and since then the goalie masks have evolved to the full fiberglass helmet and cage combination most popular today. However, while the National Hockey League (NHL) specifies maximum dimensions of goaltending equipment to prevent goalies from having an unfair advantage, there is no agreement on the standards for goalie masks, only for other player’s helmets.

Every goalie wants to have the advantage – they want to see better, have an improved range of motion, use lighter and better fitting equipment, and they are willing to wear below standard equipment in protecting their head in order to have those advantages. Concussions have dominated the hockey news for the past year, losing some of its top players to the sidelines. According to CBC TV Sports, $118 million worth of goalies were injured by shots off the mask in the past year.

The NHL and its General Managers want three things to insure proper protection for the goalies:
  1. an inability for sticks and pucks to get through holes in the cage
  2. evidence that the forehead/jaw of a mask can withstand the most extreme forces the game can bring
  3. a minimum of ½” foam inside the shell
While comfort is important, safety for the goalie should always come first.

For more information, contact SIRC.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Knowledge in Action!

November is a busy month in the world of sport information sharing and knowledge transfer. With a variety of conferences and summits on the calendar, SIRC will be present in the following locations:
  • Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference (SCRI) – Aylmer, Quebec (November 3, 2011)
  • SIRC hosts sport researchers, policy makers and practitioners sharing their knowledge and expertise with a vision to maximizing the practical applications of sport participation research and its potential contribution to sport participation policy in Canada.  

  • Sport Innovation Summit (SPIN) – Toronto, Ontario (November 8-10, 2011)
  • Be sure to drop by the SIRC Resource Centre booth and check out the latest issue of the High Performance SIRCuit. 

  • Petro Canada Sport Leadership Sportif Conference – Toronto, Ontario (November 10-12, 2011)
  • Debra Gassewitz, SIRC's president and CEO, will be presenting the Sport Management Stream Workshop 'Recruitment, Nominations and Orientation – How to attract and train sport leaders' on Saturday, November 12th.  

  • Canadian Sport Policy Renewal  
  • The discussion paper "Towards a Renewed Canadian Sport Policy" is now available along with other sport policy renewal resources on the SIRC website.
For more information on our resources for these events, please visit SIRC.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Leads World Judo Day

Photo courtesy Judo Canada
“Respect” is the theme for the first ever “World Judo Day” scheduled for Friday, October 28, 2011. An initiative of the International Judo Federation, judo organizations of all levels all over the world will dedicate this day to promoting global awareness on the values of the sport of judo and its education system.  A sport foundation that rests on the building blocks of respect was the greatest legacy left by its founder, Master Jigoro Kano, when he created judo in 1882.

As outlined by Judo Canada, the values associated with the sport shape its organizational culture, their management philosophy, and govern and guide the way of their actions. Beyond ultimate respect for others, Judo Canada, along with the global judo community also recognizes at the highest level:
  • Fair play and sportsmanship
  • Integrity
  • Competing in a safe environment
  • Positive and valuable leadership
  • Opportunity to participate coast to coast in Canada
Kelita Zupancic (CAN)
Photo courtesy Judo Canada
October 28 was the birthday of Jigoro Kano and from this year going forward, this day has been claimed “World Judo Day” - the annual global day of awareness for judo and its values. With 200 national federations and five continental Unions, over 20 million people participate in judo on a daily basis in every corner of the planet. From high level athletes and coaches to small clubs and groups, judo is recognized as more than just a sport. World Judo Day can be celebrated in any way from a conference, competition, extraordinary news day, a special training session, or an open house.  Judo’s contribution as an educational tool demonstrates to everyone on how they can live their lives with others respectfully in harmony.

For more information on respect in sport, please contact SIRC.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Networking is also Face-to-Face!

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is, on average, about six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth. The ability to successfully network in the sports world is a talent on its own, and is one that is a necessary component to supporting a career in coaching, sports administration, communications or marketing, along with many more areas. The world is a much smaller place now due to the advents of technology, and there is an entire generation who do not understand the value of face-to-face networking. So exactly what is this and how do you do it?

First of all, a network is the web of people that you know, like and respect, and not just a measure of social distance between people. The more people you know and connect with, the more far-reaching your network will extend. Powerful networking skills are not to be underestimated, giving you an edge in any job market. When done properly, networking can be an influential tool that will put you in contact with the right people at the right time which will ultimately assist you in making your career path soar! There is significant value in meeting new people at sports competitions, conferences and meetings. 

Like all worthy relationships, a network of friends and colleagues needs to be maintained and nurtured. It is important to not hide behind your computer and text messaging every day and get out there to actually meet people face-to-face. This will pay off in the long run!

Some key tips to successful networking include:

  • Stay in touch with people you like even if they can’t help you right now.
  • When at a function, make efforts to speak with people you don’t know. Sit at a table to eat with strangers. Do not cling to your friends and colleagues.
  • Really listen when someone is speaking with you and cue off their comments to keep the conversation going. Ask open ended questions.
  • Remember a person’s name using it frequently during your conversation. They like this.
  • Utilize your passion about a topic to share a story. Your energy will be infectious.
  • If you are extremely shy, do not let this handcuff you. Seek some guidance to find the right tools for you to overcome this.
For more information on networking and careers in sport, please visit SIRC.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Canadian Athletes Continue to Lead by Example

When you pull in a cool couple million dollars plus per year in salary and sponsorship, like many professional athletes do, it’s relatively easy to share the wealth. But despite the fact that many of Canada’s high performance amateur athletes live well below the poverty line for most of their athletic careers, they continue to lead by example and give back. Time is as valuable as money. The presence of an Olympian at an event can most certainly create excitement and encourage others to give more of their time and hopefully even their money to a worthy cause.

For example, in a few days time, a group of approximately 40 national team and Olympic athletes will be donating their time and fund-raising efforts to the United Way of Canada, by taking part in the Enbridge CN Tower Climb in downtown Toronto. Joining 2008 Olympic high jumper and 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Nicole Forrester on the 1776 grueling steps to the top will be Olympic champion kayaker Adam van Koeverden, Olympic silver medalist bobsledder Shelley-Ann Brown, and Paralympic cross-country skier Tyler Mosher, to name just a few.

Another charity that benefits significantly from an Olympic presence are the Ronald McDonald House’s across the country, who are often visited by World figure skating champion Patrick Chan, Olympic champion hockey player Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Olympic silver medalist diver Alexandre Despatie.

Canadian-based Right to Play is an international humanitarian organization that utilizes athletes to serve as global ambassadors who go into some of the most disadvantaged regions of the planet to improve health, foster peace for children and develop life skills through sport and play programs.

These are just a few shining examples of how Canadian athletes continue to lead by example, in so many facets of life.

For more information on sports related charities, please visit SIRC.

SIRC Newsletter - Volunteering

Volunteers are critical to the success of sport and recreation! Appreciating our volunteers and providing well managed programming and tools will assist in the retention and positive experience for everyone involved. Typically volunteers feel a strong identification with the activity, a passion for giving back and want to make a meaningful contribution. How do organizations keep people coming back? From local clubs to national organizations, recruiting, managing and retaining volunteers can be difficult and daunting but there are tools out there to help.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Analyzed By The Wind

One of the most vital fundamentals of sport is the science that goes into producing an Olympic athlete. Teams of experts must all work in tandem to coordinate the best path to success. For those sports where incredibly high rates of speed, position in the air and friction are involved, such as alpine skiing, skeleton/luge, speed skating, ski jumping and swimming, part of the technological scientific advances include the use of wind tunnel testing.  A wind tunnel is a research tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects. Normally reserved for the automobile industry, wind tunnels are a research tool whose information can find a millisecond advantage – the difference between gold and everyone else.

Erik Guay (CAN)
 Photo credit: AUDI AG
In previous decades, Canadian athletes used the NRC Institute for Aerospace Research in Ottawa to test their aerodynamic technique and equipment. Just a few weeks ago, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, were involved in testing at one of the most modern wind tunnels in the world.  The Audi Wind Tunnel Centre, based at Audi’s European headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, hosted the Canadian team for the first time ever.  Intelligence gathered during these sessions allows engineers to measure real time drag co-efficient data for such things as the new speed suits that the team will sport this season. Other important essentials of the sport that were analyzed were the aerodynamic qualities of racing positions, goggles, helmets, gloves, boots and skis. This data in turn assists the coaches in making important corrections and providing valuable feedback to the athletes.

Such world-leading research services will provide the Canadian team many advantages as they start the 2011-2012 International Ski Federation (FIS) season, which opens this weekend in Soelden, Austria.

For more information on the science of sport, please visit SIRC.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

¡Fiesta de las Americas!

In four years time, Canada will be hosting the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The local organizing committee, Toronto2015, is already hard at work preparing the venues and logistics for this immense event. Canada has hosted the Pan American Games twice—both times in Winnipeg (1967, 1999).

Photo credit: Mike Ridewood / COC 
But in just 24 hours time, the 2011Pan American Games will begin in Guadalajara, Mexico, the city referred to as the “Pearl of the West”, and known for its’ culture, theatre and museums.  This is the third time Mexico has hosted these Games, making them the first country to three-peat (1955 and 1975 were the first two times). The 2011 Games with their motto Fiesta de las Americas (The Americas' Party), will be the largest multi-sport event of this year’s sports calendar, with approximately 6,000 athletes from 42 nations expected to participate in 361 events in 36 sports.  Fifteen of the 26 Summer Olympic sports will use the 2011 Pan American Games as a qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including handball, canoeing and modern pentathlon to name just a few.

Team Canada is made up of 493 athletes (257 men and 236 women), with all ten provinces and the Northwest Territories represented. The youngest Canadian athlete is Table Tennis player Anqi Luo of Mississauga, Ontario (age 15), and the oldest will be Equestrian veteran, Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario (age 64).

The 2011 Pan American Games will be held from October 14 – 30, with the Parapan American Games (the multi-sport event for athletes with a physical disability) starting on November 12. 

The first Pan American Games took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951.

For more information on multi-sport events, please visit SIRC.