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NSCA's Essentials of Sport Science

The foundational resource for sport science and the NSCA's CPSS certification

Interested in a review copy? Contact AlexisK@hkusa.comRequest review copy

What is sport science and who is it for?

Sport science is the application of scientific processes to improve athletic and team performance and decrease the risk of injury.

It is applicable to both specialists and generalists working across various scientific disciplines within the performance field, such as strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, registered dieticians, psychologists, biomechanists, and physiologists.

Book and certification work in tandem to fortify sport science expertise

NSCA's Essentials of Sport Science

About the book

Within the domain of sport, the application of science is more apparent than ever before. Professional teams, sporting organizations, and private training companies are embracing approaches that use scientific principles to help their athletes and teams gain a competitive edge in sporting competition.

In response to the growing demand for sport scientists who can collect and convert data into valuable information that directly influences training and improves performance outcomes, the world-renowned National Strength and Conditioning Association developed the definitive reference for anyone in the field.

NSCA's Essentials of Sport Science features contributions from 52 globally recognized experts and thought leaders from the field of sport science. It is the only resource to go beyond sport science's foundations—physiology, biochemistry, biomechanics, nutrition, and skill acquisition—to address the use of statistics and broader fields of data science, analytics, and technology management. Readers will explore every aspect of the sport scientist's role: understanding training theory, performing needs analyses, conducting athlete monitoring and assessment, managing data and analytics, and educating and disseminating information. The integration of these technical skills will guide sport scientists in drawing conclusions that can be used to manipulate training methods and shape competition strategies for the betterment of athletes' health, well-being, and performance.

Learn more about the book Download the preface (free)
Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS) Seal

About the CPSS

The content in NSCA's Essentials of Sport Science text specifically addresses the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are tested on the NSCA's Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS) certification exam. Registration for the inaugural exam sitting will begin in the first quarter of 2021.

Those who hold a CPSS certification demonstrate leadership qualities, with the ability to apply foundational knowledge and skill across multiple sport-related scientific disciplines, instill best practices for the assessment and use of performance technology, and suggest evidence-based training practices through the process and application of scientific research. The Certified Performance and Sport Scientist maintains productive relationships with sport coaches, athletic performance staff, medical staff, and other key stakeholders, to enhance communication and decision-making in sport and athletic performance settings.

Learn more about NSCA's CPSS
Quote from Eric McMahon

An esteemed collaboration from international leaders in sport science



Duncan N. French, PhD, CSCS,*D - UFC Performance Institute, USA

Lorena Torres Ronda, PhD - Victoria University, USA



Courteney L. Benjamin, PhD, CSCS - Samford University, USA

Chris P. Bertram, PhD - University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

Tyler A. Bosch, PhD - Red Bull Athlete Performance Center, USA

Clive Brewer, BSc (Hons), MSc, CSCS - Columbus Crew SC, USA

Martin Buchheit, PhD - HIIT Science, France; Kitman Labs, France

Louise M. Burke, PhD - Australia Catholic University, Australia

Julio Calleja-González, PhD - University of the Basque Country, Spain

Marco Cardinale, PhD - Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Qatar

David Carey, PhD - La Trobe University, Australia

Douglas J. Casa, PhD, CSCS - University of Connecticut, USA

Jo Clubb, MSc - Buffalo Bills, USA

Daniel Cohen, PhD - Mindeporte (Colombian Ministry of Sport), Columbia

Cassandra C. Collins, BS - Streaming Foods, Brazil

Stuart Cormack, PhD - Australia Catholic University, Australia

Aaron J. Coutts, PhD - University of Technology Sydney, Australia

>Roman N. Fomin, PhD - UFC Performance Institute, USA

Tim Gabbett, BHSc (Hons), PhD - Gabbett Performance Solutions, Australia

G. Gregory Haff, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA - Edith Cowan University, Australia

Shona L. Halson, PhD - Australia Catholic University, Australia

Franco M. Impellizzeri, PhD - University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Joel Jamieson - 8WeeksOut, USA

Mladen Jovanović, MS - University of Belgrade, Serbia

David Joyce, BPhty (Hons), MPhty (Sports), MSc - The Performance Union, Australia

Cory Kennedy, MSc, CSCS - Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, USA

Enda King, PhD - Sports Surgery Clinic, Ireland

William J. Kraemer, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA - The Ohio State University, USA

Paul Laursen, PhD - HIIT Science, Canada

Yann Le Meur, PhD - YLMSportScience, France

Ric Lovell, PhD - Western Sydney University, Australia

Mike McGuigan, PhD, CSCS,*D - Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Shaun J. McLaren, PhD - Durham University, UK

Jean-Benoît Morin, PhD - University Jean Monnet Saint-Etienne, France

Andrew M. Murray, PhD, CSCS - NBA, USA

Darcy Norman, PT - Kitman Labs, USA; US Men's National Soccer Team, USA

Eric S. Rawson, PhD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT - Messiah University, USA

Chris Richter, PhD - Sports Surgery Clinic, Germany

Sam Robertson, PhD - Victoria University, Australia

Kay Robinson, BSc (Hons) - GWS Giants Football Club, Australia

Pierre Samozino, PhD - University Savoie Mont Blanc, France

Xavier Schelling i del Alcázar, PhD, CSCS - Victoria University, USA

Yasuki Sekiguchi, PhD, CSCS - University of Connecticut, USA

Jessica M. Stephens, PhD - Australian Capital Territory Academy of Sport, Australia

Michael H. Stone, PhD, CSCS, FNSCA - East Tennessee State University, USA

Nicolás Terrados, MD, PhD - Regional Unit of Sports Medicine and Health Research Institute of the Principality of Asturias, Spain

Jacqueline Tran, PhD - High Performance Sport New Zealand, New Zealand

Matthew C. Varley, PhD - La Trobe University, Australia

Johann Windt, PhD, CSCS - Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada

Nick Winkelman, PhD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT - Irish Rugby Football Union, Ireland

Gabriele Wulf, PhD - University of Nevada-Las Vegas, USA

Foreword: Reflections on Sport Science

Michael H. Stone, PhD, and William J. Kraemer, PhD


Part I. Training Theory and Process

Chapter 1. Performance Dimensions

Nick Winkelman, PhD, and Darcy Norman, PT

Chapter 2. Training Load Model

Stuart Cormack, PhD, and Aaron J. Coutts, PhD

Chapter 3. Periodization and Programming for Individual Sports

  1. Gregory Haff, PhD

Chapter 4. Periodization and Programming for Team Sports

Martin Buchheit, PhD, and Paul Laursen, PhD


Part II. Needs Analysis

Chapter 5. Key Performance Indicators

Marco Cardinale, PhD

Chapter 6. Profiling and Benchmarking

Mike McGuigan, PhD


Part III. Technology and Data Preparation

Chapter 7. Technological Implementation

Lorena Torres Ronda, PhD

Chapter 8. Data Hygiene

Matthew C. Varley, PhD, Ric Lovell, PhD, and David Carey, PhD


Part IV. External and Internal Load Data Collection

Chapter 9. Characteristics of Tracking Systems and Load Monitoring

Jo Clubb, MSc, and Andrew M. Murray, PhD

Chapter 10. Analysis of Tracking Systems and Load Monitoring

Andrew M. Murray, PhD, and Jo Clubb, MSc

Chapter 11. Kinematics and Gait Analysis

Enda King, PhD, and Chris Richter, PhD

Chapter 12. Kinetics and Force Platforms

Daniel Cohen, PhD, and Cory Kennedy, MSc

Chapter 13. Strength Tracking and Analysis

Jean-Benoît Morin, PhD, and Pierre Samozino, PhD

Chapter 14. Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability

Joel Jamieson

Chapter 15. Electroencephalography and Electroneuromyography

Roman N. Fomin, PhD, and Cassandra C. Collins, BS

Chapter 16. Biomarkers for Health and Performance

Xavier Schelling i del Alcázar, PhD, Julio Calleja-González, PhD, and Nicolás Terrados, MD, PhD

Chapter 17. Perception of Effort and Subjective Monitoring

Shaun J. McLaren, PhD, Aaron J. Coutts, PhD, and Franco M. Impellizzeri, PhD


Part V. Data Analysis and Delivery

Chapter 18. Statistical Modeling

Mladen Jovanović, Lorena Torres Ronda, PhD, and Duncan N. French, PhD

Chapter 19. Injury Risk Model

Johann Windt, PhD, and Tim Gabbett, BHSc (Hons), PhD

Chapter 20. Data Mining and Nonlinear Data Analysis

Sam Robertson, PhD

Chapter 21. Data Delivery and Reporting

Tyler A. Bosch, PhD, and Jacqueline Tran, PhD

Chapter 22. Performance Interventions and Operationalizing Data

Clive Brewer, BSc (Hons), MSc


Part VI. Special Topics

Chapter 23. Recovery and Sleep

Jessica M. Stephens, PhD, and Shona L. Halson, PhD

Chapter 24. Fueling and Nutrition

Louise M. Burke, PhD, and Eric S. Rawson, PhD

Chapter 25. Environmental Stress

Yasuki Sekiguchi, PhD, Courteney L. Benjamin, PhD, and Douglas J. Casa, PhD

Chapter 26. Psychobiology: Flow State as a Countermeasure to Mental Fatigue

Chris P. Bertram, PhD

Chapter 27. Neuroscience Approach to Performance

Roman N. Fomin, PhD, and Cassandra C. Collins, BS

Chapter 28. Motor Performance

Gabriele Wulf, PhD

Chapter 29. Sport Science of Injury

David Joyce, BPhty (Hons), MPhty (Sports), MSc, and Kay Robinson, BSc (Hons)

Part VII. Education and Communication

Chapter 30. Interdisciplinary Support

Duncan N. French, PhD

Chapter 31. Information Dissemination

Yann Le Meur, PhD

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