ShanghaiRanking’s 2017 Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments recently placed Lincoln in the top 300 universities worldwide.
The honour has been put down to the University’s only sport scientist, Dr Mike Hamlin, whose applied research involves studying the performance of athletes all over the country.
“Other New Zealand universities that made the list have very large sport science departments, but Mike is our sole academic in this field,” says Tourism, Sport and Society Department Head, Dr Roslyn Kerr. “His elite sport research is highly significant and he has a huge number of citations.”
Dr Hamlin is internationally renowned for many studies, most notably the work he has carried out on the effects of altitude training in athletes.
His research has involved measuring the physiological performance changes that occur after team or individual athletes, such as cyclists and triathletes, take courses of simulated altitude training.
“When athletes train at high altitudes, the extra stress induced by the decreased supply of oxygen to the body has been shown to build stamina, strength and fatigue resistance over time, leading to significantly improved performance on the sports field,” Dr Hamlin says.
Other recent studies include investigating the effect of yoga training on athletic performance, studying ways of minimising the risk of concussion in rugby players and finding out whether or not blood flow training restriction can improve strength and endurance in netballers.
Dr Hamlin says Lincoln has a strong history in sport, particularly at the elite level, with many New Zealand champions coming from within the University’s student ranks.
“The increase in professionalism in recent years has meant that sport is not only a leisure pastime, but a career choice for many. Being able to compete with the best requires a great deal of commitment, skill and perseverance on the part of the athlete.
“But such characteristics are no longer enough to make it at the professional level. The science of sport is a continually evolving and changing area and to be the best in sport, you need to have the best knowledge in sport science.”
Dr Hamlin says the small size of Lincoln University and the Department of Tourism, Sport and Society is an advantage, due to the close connections he has made with other staff members, which assists him in his research.
He acknowledges the generous support he receives from the University and the department, as well as staff at Lincoln’s Recreation Centre.
ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments was published for the first time last year and measures publications, citations, top 25% journal publications and internationally-collaborated publications. The data is collected from the Web of Science database.