Barça promotes cross-cutting approach to sports science to improve athlete performance

Barça promotes cross-cutting approach to sports science to improve athlete performance

‘Sports Science Week’ organised by Barça Innovation Hub brings together more than 2,400 professionals from 40 countries to debate medicine, physiotherapy, nutrition and fitness training

Over the last few days, FC Barcelona has hosted the second edition of Sports Science Week, a series of conferences organised by the Barça Innovation Hub (BIHUB), the platform that promotes and manages the club’s research, innovation and training projects bringing together more than 2,400 professionals from 40 countries around the world. Different experts from Barça itself also participated in this unique meeting point for discussing and exchanging knowledge, during which the focus was chiefly on the importance of a cross-cutting and multi-disciplinary approach to sports medicine to guarantee the very best athlete performance.

The event featured different conferences devoted to medicine, physiotherapy, nutrition and sports performance, and closed with the second day of the XI ASPC International Forum on Elite Sport, focused on sports performance and talent development methodologies, where the role of women in high performance sports, training and the combination of sport and professional careers were also addressed.

Sports Science Week placed the emphasis on the need for different disciplines of sports medicine to work together to confront the various challenges they face, in order to adopt a more holistic approach to athletes’ concerns.

This focus from various points of view is closely linked to the Barça methodology, which is part of the style of play that has so distinguished the club all over the world, and in which Paco Seirul·lo, who also gave a talk at the event, has been such a key driver. This approach emphasises how the physical and cognitive parts interact in player performance and how this needs to be observed in a comprehensive manner, thus overseeing both the physical and the emotional aspects.

Personalisation, key element of nutrition

The Barça Nutrition Sports Conference, held on Wednesday, highlighted how personalisation is such a fundamental aspect in the field of sports nutrition when it comes to achieving peak performance. It was stressed that there is no single nutrition programme, but that a series of biomarkers can be used to gain better insight into an athlete’s metabolic profile, in order to thus establish a specific programme for that person in particular, and also to regulate dietary intake, thereby determining how and when athletes consume the nutrients and food they need.

Another matter that was addressed was precisely the aspect of nutrition education, the aim being for the player to take an active role in his or her own nutrition programme, to ensure that they are eating all the right products that are good for them. A book titled High performance nutritional cuisine. Practical recipes for football was also presented, compiled by FC Barcelona’s own nutritionists for use by the senior team players and other athletes at the club, with recipes containing all the nutrients they need to cope with high-intensity physical exercise and subsequent recovery. The idea is to present another book at next year’s congress aimed at people who do sport on a regular basis.

Tendon injuries, a challenge for scientists and clinicians

More than 25% of athletes who have been part of FC Barcelona have suffered or are suffering from tendon injuries. Despite the advances of recent years, we still only have limited knowledge about important aspects of these injuries, such as pathophysiology, risk factors and injury mechanisms, among others. In consideration of this, and in order to further the progress made in the treatment of these injuries Sports Science Week also included the Barça Sports Medicine Conference, which opened the event on Monday with a presentation of the latest scientific studies in this field in the form of the new FC Barcelona Guide to Tendon Injuries, which will help to heal these injuries better. This guide will be regularly updated with all the latest contributions by the professionals who participated in the congress.

On Tuesday, renowned research physiotherapists, along with doctors and specialists from leading teams such as Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, as well as FC Barcelona, ​​participated in the Barça Sports Physiotherapy Conference. The day focused on the management of serious and highly complex injuries like chronic ankle instability, hamstring injuries, groin strains and tendon injuries, offering a combination of the latest scientific evidence together with the practical clinical experience of these experts.

This year’s was the second edition of Sports Science Week, a project that began last year as part of the Barça Innovation Hub’s intention to hold conferences and congresses that will help to establish synergies with the scientific community in order to share the latest discoveries in the fields of medicine, technology and innovation.


Marta Plana, director of the Barça Innovation Hub

“A very important component of our athletes’ success is their natural talent but if we were to ask them one by one, they would all agree that they could not have been who they have been without the help of the professionals that supported them with their fitness, their post-effort recovery, their injuries, etc. At the Barça Innovation Hub we are sharing our knowledge because we strongly believe that the best way to keep making progress is by opening up and sharing everything that we have learned over so many years and which has made us one of the leading clubs in the world of sport”.

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