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Edited by H Rusko. London: Blackwell, 2003, £31.50, pp 198, softcover. ISBN 0632055715
Heikki Rusko has put together a comprehensive text with largely evidence based opinions on sports science and coaching and their relevance to Nordic skiing. In depth analysis and discussion on central issues is interesting, although at times becomes bogged down with too many laborious statistical graphs. Generally the development of key themes progresses logically and is easy to follow, but sometimes the text becomes unnecessarily complex and detracts from the issue. Summary boxes at the end of each section listing key points are particularly useful in pulling together complex topics, and good recommended reading lists give plenty of scope to explore topics further. If you are a clinician you may be disappointed in the lack of detail on musculoskeletal and medical issues, which have huge ramifications in this sport and make up many of the day to day duties for the sports physician.
I loved the section on the team physician which gives very practical advice for those sticky situations often encountered on tour and has obviously been written from a position of personal experience! Descriptions of skiing techniques is incredibly detailed and backed up with data gathered from elite athlete analysis over many years, providing a fantastic basis for the understanding of this sport.
Perhaps a little less generic discussion of basic science issues such as immunology and more clinically relevant themes could have been included. However, this book is certainly worth adding to your collection as an invaluable reference guide. Just make sure you don’t use it as light reading!
Target audience: essentially sports scientists and coaches, with clinicians as a secondary audience.
Evidence basis 18/20