Dr. Eric Drinkwater

What will you be working on at Memorial?

As a former graduate of MUN SHKR I continue to read the Gazette on-line. In early March the Gazette published an article on the work of Dr Behm in the performance effects of remedial massage. Since Dr Behm was my master’s supervisor and we’ve published several research articles together since that time, I sent him an email letting him know I’d seen it. We put our heads together and came up with an extension of the work based on a technique I have that allows us to easily measure power output for exercises such as weight lifting and jumping. As I mentioned in my original biography I’m proficient in a recently popularised method of statistical processing useful for interpreting research for sports coaches and other industry practitioners called “magnitude-based inferences”. So in addition to doing some research together, I’ve offered to run a data analysis workshop for the school’s faculty and graduate students to make SHKR research more accessible to industry professionals.

Why are you travelling from Australia to Newfoundland to do research?

Firstly, the support for me to write the last time I visited MUN in 2006 was outstanding. Dr Behm and I collected the data and wrote a study in a month. I was also able to finish off two other studies I had been writing. So by the time I came back to work here at Charles Sturt University I had three new journal articles to publish! My head of school here was very happy with the result and is more than happy to sign off for me to go back to MUN for another month. Secondly, there are a lot of similarities between the MUN SHKR and CSU’s School of Human Movement Studies, particularly the focus on sport research that is directly applicable to professional practice in the field. Also much like CSU’s SHMS, MUN’s SHKR is a vibrant research environment with faculty keen to learn from each other and share with each other. Not only will I be able to learn but also think I’ll be able to teach. Finally, Dr Behm’s reputation researching current trends in athletic training (e.g. core stability training or flexibility training) is very high internationally. He has produced some results that have made the industry really think about how we do what we do and compel us to change some of our long-held beliefs. The opportunity to work with Dr Behm in an area like remedial massage is very exciting. I’m really looking forward to be back at MUN and working with Dr Behm.

About Dr. Drinkwater:

In 1990 I started undergraduate life at Memorial University of Newfoundland working towards being a physical education teacher but in 1994 left university to study as a paramedic. I returned to university in 1995 and finished my Bachelor of Physical Education in 1996. Having a degree and a background as a paramedic, I moved to Calgary to work in health and safety education.

In 1998 I returned to Memorial University of Newfoundland to study exercise physiology as a graduate student of Professor David Behm and realised that an academic career was my true calling. In 2001 I began my doctoral studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand but was cut short by funding issues. Fortunately I ended up at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, completing my PhD through Victoria University (Melbourne) in 2006. My supervisory team of Professors Michael McKenna, David Pyne and Will Hopkins provided me a mix of scientific integrity, high-performance sport science, and biostatistics. My years at the Australian Institute of Sport gave me the privilege to work in strength and conditioning with some extraordinary athletes at the world champion and Olympic level in a variety of sports, but mostly my work focused on basketball.

In 2005 I landed an academic post at Charles Sturt University (New South Wales, Australia) where my passions for applied sport science research and biostatistics continue. My research and teaching both focus on strength and conditioning training for athletes. I also write extensively on assessment of fitness in basketball athletes. My second teaching and research strength is in data analysis: expressing data in meaningful terms to practitioners as likelihoods of clinical effects rather than focusing on traditional null-hypothesis significance testing. I’m also skilled in general linear models, mixed linear models, regression analysis and discriminant analysis. As a result, I am often invited to participate in research outside of the strength and conditioning field for my data analysis and interpretation skills.

I stay professionally active as a strength and conditioning coach for several local athletes and coach the weightlifting team for the Western Region Academy of Sport.