RESEARCH METHODS IN SPORTS

You have been asked by the Director of an elite American football training camp in Broward County, Florida, to assess the performance and progress of the academy’s players. In order to help you assess their progress he has provided you with combine test data collected at the beginning and end of the 2019-20 season.
In order to provide a comparison, the Director has obtained data from the combine of a sample of high school American football players within the state who are not part of this academy and also walk-on football players who have transitioned from other sports.
The number of players in each squad are as follows:
• Training Camp players (n=30)
• High school players (n=30)
• Walk-on players (n=30)
Players’ involvement in American football activity:
• The Training Camp players attend the camp five times per week and are provided with a fitness training programme specialised towards the fitness events at the combine.
• The high school players usually take part in two training sessions per week and have a general training plan they are encouraged to participate in independently with some guidance.
• The walk-on players train by themselves two times per week without a dedicated fitness plan for football.
You have been asked to write a report on the progress of the Training Camp players.
The data you have been given (SPSP039A1Data2021) contains the results of the combine tests undertaken by the three groups of players. The data shows the results of the combine tests recorded at the beginning of the season (July 2020) and at the end of the season (February 2021) for all three groups. Use the data from the three groups to help you assess how well the Training Camp players have progressed.
Details of the combine tests are presented below.
Your report should present the data in a visual format (e.g. tables and/or charts) and you should include statistical analysis of the data.
The task will require you to:
• Describe the findings;
• Process the data using SPSS (or transfer it to Excel if you prefer);
• Study and analyse the findings;
• Write a report describing and analysing the results;
• Present the data in an accessible format; • Undertake some statistical analysis;
• Draw conclusions based on the data.

The report should be up to 1,500 words. (NB – The word count for tables/charts you produce DO NOT count towards the total word count for your assignment. Any material presented in appendices DO NOT contribute to the word count. Tables/charts/appendices should not be a dumping ground for data – use sparingly).

The Data
The data file (SPSP039A1Data2021), is in SPSS version 23 format.
The Submission Date
• You might not need to report all the data provided. The decision on which data to include is yours. However, you should ensure you present enough of the findings in order to allow the Director of the Training Camp to appreciate any changes in players’ fitness and performance.
• You are free to choose the format and the style for the presentation of the data (e.g. tables; bar charts/pie charts/line diagram; colour/mono).
• Appropriate use should be made of headings and sub-headings.
• You do not need to make reference to other sources of literature to fulfil the requirements of the assignment. The important aspect of the assignment is to describe, present and analyse the data. However, if you do make reference to other sources, these must be cited and referenced appropriately.
• You should attempt to draw conclusions and, where appropriate, make recommendations based on the findings.

• For this exercise there are no missing data (i.e. results were obtained from every player for every test).

The Combine Tests
The combine tests undertaken by the players include the following:
Note: Combine test descriptions are adapted from the NFL website.
40-yard Dash
The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the combine. It’s similar to the 100-meters at the Olympics: it’s all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. Athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start.
Note: Only the end time after 40 yards is recorded and of interest to the Director of the Training Camp
Bench Press
The bench press is a test of strength – 225 pounds (102kg), as many reps as the athlete can get. What the scouts are looking for is endurance. The bench press tells the scouts how often the athlete frequented the weight room for the last 3-5 years.
Vertical Jump
The vertical jump is about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement.
Broad Jump
The broad jump is like being in the gym class back in high school. It is testing an athlete’s lower-body explosion and lower-body strength. The athlete starts out with a stance balanced and then he explodes out as far as he can. It also tests balance because he has to land without moving.
3-Cone Drill
The 3 cone drill tests an athlete’s ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, runs 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.
Shuttle Run (20-yards)
This short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. What this tests is the athlete’s lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.
Shuttle Run (60-yards)
This long shuttle is the second of the cone drills. What this tests is the athlete’s vertical quickness and explosion. The athlete starts by running 5 yards to a cone in front of him, touches the line, goes back 5 yards to the starting point, then repeats two more times with cones 10 and 15 yards ahead.

Sample Solution

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