Usque ad veritatem

Aug 28, 2020 | ACADEMY

Prof. PE di Prampero’s answer to Martin Buchheit publication.

I read recently the short note by Martin Buchheit (Buchheit, 2020) wherein he recalls the first occasion in which we met personally in Clairefontaine (France), at a meeting organised by the “Institut de Formation du Football” in December 2011, and I feel somewhat embarrassed by his kind and appreciative words. I remember perfectly well our numerous formal and informal discussions devoted, on the one side to the rigorous content of our scientific presentations and, on the other, to the need of making the underlying theoretical bases as clear as possible and of concrete practical value for the everyday activities on the terrain.

As concerns my presentations to the meeting, I remember trying to adhere to this line of thinking illustrating to the audience a study published by our group a few years earlier (di Prampero et al., 2005), setting the basis of the equivalence, in energetics terms, of accelerated/decelerated running on flat terrain with uphill/downhill running at constant speed. In a subsequent presentation, I tried to show how this line of reasoning, could be practically used in team sports to evaluate the overall energy expenditure of the player throughout a training drill or an actual match. To this aim, I discussed in some detail a more recent paper published by our group (Osgnach et al., 2010) in which, thanks to the instantaneous analysis of the time course of the player’s speed on the terrain by means of a video-match analysis approach, this feet could be achieved. In plain words, my aim was to show how an analysis of the energetics of accelerated running, which initially appeared of a purely theoretical physiological interest, with a bit of ingenuity could become useful in practice.

Indeed, in more recent years the video match analysis approach has been superseded by more sophisticated GPS algorithms yielding a cornucopia of interesting information. More specifically, I am here referring to the detailed and continuously evolving analyses of our group, directed at improving the viability of these algorithms in the concrete everyday activities of athletes, trainers, coaches and medical doctors (di Prampero / Osgnach, 2018; Osgnach / di Prampero et al., 2018; Morin, 2020). 

Coming now to Martin Buchheit’s question “Whom do we publish for”, I think that the answer is twofold: on the one side the aim of our papers is to “push back to the border of ignorance”.  As such our studies should be directed towards theoretically relevant questions and rooted on solid and clearly stated premises. On the other, the so obtained results should be, if at all possible, made practically available for applications directed at improving everybody’s way of life.

And finally, the values of any scientific study should be evaluated by the interested readers, scientists or laymen, regardless of the authors’ bibliometric indexes, which cannot be taken, per se, as a measure of scientific value. 


Buchheit M. Whom Do We Publish For? Ourselves or Others?
Int J Sports Physiol Perf. (Ahead of print)

Osgnach C, Prampero PE (di). Metabolic Power in Team Sports – Part 2: Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Yields. Int J Sports Med 2018; 39(08): 588-595

Prampero PE (di), Botter A, Osgnach C. The energy cost of sprint running and the role of metabolic power in setting top performances. Eur J Appl Physiol 115:451-469.

Prampero PE (di), Fusi S, Sepulcri L, Morin JB, Belli A, Antonutto G. Sprint running: a new energetic approach. J Exp Biol 208:2809-2816.

Prampero PE (di), Osgnach C. Metabolic Power in Team Sports – Part 1: An Update. Int J Sports Med 2018; 39(08): 581-587

Morin JB. The “in-situ” sprint profile for team sports: testing players without testing them? 2020

Author: Pietro E. di Prampero


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