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Accessing off-field brains in sport; an applied research model to develop practice
  1. Ben Jones1,2,3,4,5,
  2. Kevin Till1,2,3,
  3. Stacey Emmonds1,6,
  4. Sharief Hendricks1,7,
  5. Peter Mackreth1,
  6. Joshua Darrall-Jones1,8,
  7. Gregory Roe1,2,
  8. Sir Ian McGeechan2,
  9. Richard Mayhew5,
  10. Richard Hunwicks1,4,
  11. Neill Potts9,
  12. Michael Clarkson10,
  13. Andy Rock11
  1. 1Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Union Football Club, Leeds, UK
  3. 3Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club, Leeds, UK
  4. 4The Rugby Football League, Leeds, UK
  5. 5Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate, York, UK
  6. 6Doncaster Rovers Belles, Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, UK
  7. 7Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  8. 8Wasps Rugby Union, Coventry, UK
  9. 9Scottish Rugby Union, Edinburgh, UK
  10. 10Catapult, Leeds, UK
  11. 11Bath Rugby, Bath, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ben Jones, Institute for Sports Physical Activity and Leisure, Centre for Sports Performance, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds LS6 3QS, UK; B.Jones{at}leedsbeckett.ac.uk

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Introduction

Applied researchers (eg, academic researchers, PhD students) strive to undertake research that can inform practice in sport, and evidence ‘impact.’ Conversely, practitioners (eg, coaches, physiotherapists, clinicians, sports scientists) strive to apply relevant up-to-date research findings to develop or optimise practice, adopting ‘evidence based practice.’ Despite the researcher and practitioner within a discipline having similar overall aims (eg, improve athletic performance, reduce injury risk, optimise return to play practices), their primary roles appear different due to various contextual factors.1 2 Researchers are able to work slowly, dedicating time to solving complex problems, whereas practitioners working in the field are required to work fast, to provide day-to-day support to coaches and athletes.1 The differences in how the researcher and practitioner work can be problematic and challenge the alignment of their respective priorities within their roles (eg, timescales required to deliver outcomes, specific expertise and experience, resources). Here we share a model demonstrating how the ‘working fast1 on-field brain3’, ‘working slow1 off-field brain3’ and ‘research-practitioner2’ can work together to undertake and integrate research into practice and solve the above problems.

Strategies for undertaking and integrating research into practice

The alignment of (applied) research questions, expectations and usability of outcomes into practice …

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