Sport Science Integration: An Evolutionary Synthesis

Review by: William A. Harper
By N. Balague, C. Torrents, R. Hristovski, and J. A. S. Kelso

The Big Idea

The Big Idea

As scientific disciplines go, sport science is but a babe in the historical woods of science proper. In spite of the fact that the recent evolution of sport science is essentially interdisciplinary, many believe it has already become a victim of its own success. That is, instead of achieving its promise of successfully integrating the disciplines and sub-disciplines it is composed of (such as anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, psychology, sociology, and the variety of clinical and applied research fields), it has actually produced additional specialisation and fragmentation. And this because of the largely reductionist approach favoured where complex problems are explained in terms of ever-simpler or more basic levels of inquiry with level-dependent vocabularies—down from social to organismic to molecular: where love, for example, is reduced literally to a matter of chemistry.

However, the authors of this research paper (published in the European Journal of Sport Science) believe that the current tension between these fields of study can be viewed as an opportunity and not necessarily as a problem. Using dynamical systems theory (DST), these researchers argue that it is indeed possible to synthesise the discipline-specific knowledge in the sport sciences.