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What is integration, and why is it important?
Integration is the process of combining smaller components into a single system so they function as a cohesive, singular unit. Houses are constructed as skilled professionals integrate a host of materials, using specialised tools, to build a home. Similarly, athletes are surrounded by a variety of professionals from sports medicine and the sport sciences, who (hopefully) integrate with coaches to manage the athletes’ health and performance.1 Ideally, this creates a situation where ‘the whole is more than the sum of the parts’. In many cases, however, support team professionals and coaches may operate without coordinated direction and in ‘silos’, possibly with conflicting agendas, redundant procedures and in worst-case scenarios, ‘turf wars’, summing to even less than their individual parts.2
Integration of the support team and coaching staff is demanded by the interconnected nature of performance—it is dependent on a multitude of factors combining to produce an outcome.3 Performance is dynamic, changing daily as fatigue, recovery, training status, health and well-being fluctuate. This is further accentuated by individual differences in physiology, injury and training history, and the impacts of personal lives. With the unified goal of performance success, coaches design the technical and tactical strategies for the athlete or team, …
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