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  Introduction

Ever since humans have had a competitive edge, the need to improve performance and athletic ability has been an area of intense study. The last decade in particular has seen huge growth in course and student numbers in the discipline of sport and exercise science.

What is sport and exercise science?

Sport and exercise science uses the scientific principles from the mainstream biological and social sciences, and applies them to the sport and exercise environment in order to, for example, improve performance, reduce injury or increase motivation. Sport science finds its ideal home firmly within the world of elite and professional sport. World-class athletes such as Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe, as talented as they are, would never achieve their significant levels of sporting excellence without the knowledge and support offered by sport science and sports medicine. Individual training programmes are designed so these athletes can train at the correct intensities, in the right frame of mind, recover appropriately, intake the correct nutrition at the optimum times, and produce their best performances when it matters. Producing top-level performances in modern sport, whether on the track, on the pitch or in the pool, requires a huge team effort both on and off the field of play. National Governing Bodies such as the FA (Football Association) employ sport scientists (physiologists, biomechanists, psychologists), physiotherapists, doctors, strength and conditioning coaches and sports nutritionists to support the coaching staff and players in the quest for sporting excellence.

And it is not just in elite level sport where knowledge of sport and exercise science can be beneficial. Many employment opportunities exist in such areas as teaching, lecturing, research, coaching, fitness instructing, sports management and sports development (to name but a few). It is, of course, equally rewarding to study such an exciting and diverse subject area for its own sake at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Sport and Exercise Science: An Introduction

This is a groundbreaking new resource. The textbook and website cover the three key areas of Anatomy and Physiology, Biomechanics and Psychology required for first year undergraduate study and beyond. The thorough grounding provided allows students to progress to the more specialist and applied subject areas available to them in the second and third years of their degree programmes.

Sport and exercise science continues to grow as a highly popular subject area to study at university. As these courses become more specialised and more prolific, and course titles change to satisfy the demands of employers or government policy, Sport and Exercise Science: An Introduction will remain an excellent introductory text for any student studying a sport and exercise related course in higher education.