Gareth Sandford exercise physiologist podcast

036: Gareth Sandford on working with the world’s best coaches

In this episode, Gareth Sandford, an exercise physiologist at the Canadian Sports Institute, joins the conversation. Though he’s in the early stages of his career, Gareth has a lot to offer, especially on the topic of persistence in career development. He starts by discussing how he navigated placement opportunities and internships, emphasizing the importance of mentorship and curiosity. He also reflects on his early experiences working with Nick Broad at Chelsea F.C., which significantly shaped his problem-solving skills in the performance domain.

Gareth then shares some career setbacks he faced after completing his MSc in Physiology at Loughborough University. Instead of being discouraged, he took time to travel and work in India, gaining fresh perspectives on life and performance. He then delves into his PhD research focused on anaerobic speed reserve in middle-distance running. Working with the New Zealand Institute of Sport, he discusses the impact of his work and its practical applications.

The conversation also touches on the challenges he faced in data collection, particularly in New Zealand, and how he managed to expand his work into other countries. Gareth explains how he built rapport and gained momentum within the global sports science community, emphasizing the similarities and differences in performance environments around the world. Overall, Gareth’s story is one of perseverance, adaptability, and a continuous quest for knowledge.

Show Notes

3:07 – Gareth begins by discussing the early experiences he had in carving out placement opportunities, internships and highlights the importance of persistence, mentoring, curiosity and realising the current state of the sport science job market.

9:52 – Gareth shares the lessons learnt from this foundational period in his career. His early experiences at Chelsea F.C. with Nick Broad accelerated his ability to problem solve and answer performance questions with impact. He also moved into coaching and discusses the skills learnt here.

14:30 – After completing an MSc in physiology at Loughborough University, Gareth encountered some setback in the pursuit of landing a role. As a result, he took some time out to travel and work in India, gaining new found outlooks on life and performance.

23:46 – Gareth begins to discuss his PhD research into the determinants of anaerobic speed reserve in middle distance running. He explains the background and role of the New Zealand institute of sport, how he drove impact and the key findings and applications from the project.

35:52 – Gareth shares some of the challenges posed in data collection in New Zealand and details how he broke away into other countries through collaborating with other coaches, developing rapport, momentum and buy in with a global community.

41:57 – Steve asks Gareth to draw on some of the key principles and stats from engaging with a performance community during his PhD project, all of which share a common cause and problem but in very different environments spread across the globe

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