ISEA2020 Sports Engineering conference goes online….


The next conference of the International Sports Engineering association is going ahead…thanks to the ingenuity and extraordinary generosity of its Japanese hosts it is all free….domo arigato goziamasu.

Registrations are open now, intending participants need to register by


SABEL have a few papers in as well and are looking forward to meeting our colleagues and friends from around the globe


About the conference

International Sports Engineering Association 2020

Executive summary

The 13th conference on the Engineering of Sport on behalf of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) will take place in Tokyo, Japan from 22 to 25 June 2020. The conference will be held just before the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Participants will be able to feel the feverish atmosphere in Tokyo. In the conference, special site visits and exhibitions related to the Olympic and Paralympic Games are going to be planned.


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Japan-Australia Sports Tech mini conference

Sometimes its hard to keep up. Last year we lost our favourite PhD student Sam Gleadhill to NIFS, Kanoya in Japan. NIFS is the National Institute of Fitness and Sports. image.pngHe is there for a post doc after meeting A/Prof Wada at SABEL Labs in Australia a few years ago. Joining in the fun was Prof. Yuji Ohgi, long time collaborator from Keio University and colleagues from Charles Darwin University and Griffith uni too. The occasion was to have all of our students share their work, including triathlete/cyclist  Stuart Evans from Melbourne. Read the full story on the NIFS blog site.

The conference dinner was fantastic – participating virtually meant it was calorie free too! See you at ISEA 2020

Domo arigatogozimasu


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MBA: Books, Brand and Buddies

Following on from my accidental MBA I noticed there seem to be three things people are looking for in an MBA books, brand and buddies. By books I mean learning new skills,  whereas brand is getting three magical letters after your name and the prestige of the institution offering it and buddies, the building of professional networks.


When shopping for textbooks (often secondhand on sites like StudentVIP) I noticed many schools across the various ranking tables were using the same textbooks. This is not to say the quality of the learning would be identical, but its a strong indicator that there is a lot of equivalency across the various programmes in terms of content delivery.


Doing my MBA across a number of institutions and then teaching into some as well its pretty clear each MBA is striving to be as high as possible on the various ranking tables (business is competitive right?). While in some there were clear marketing differences about the programmes focus, for example for some it was all about the institution, for others it was more about the student and maybe had particular areas of focus or excellence that wasn’t always immediately apparent. Brand is a key factor in the selection of an MBA and its reflected in the price. David Jones or KMart…its up to you


There is a lot of talk about the importance of networks with your peers in the various programmes. The various cohorts I noticed through might include those recently graduated, overseas students and professionals doing a bit of personal PD (or sponsored). I suspect if your mid management in mid to large sized business this might be important. Overwhelmingly the strongest cohort I have noticed though was in a lower ranked programme…very surprising

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Out of balance…and not knowing it!


A top down view of training partner’s (Uke) centre and zones of balance

I dusted off the Dogi the other night (it’s been a while) and paid a visit to Redlands Aikido to share some thoughts on stability (thanks for the invite Clem). Whilst I didn’t go the full toppling biomechanics. We worked on the idea that as long as the Tanden (Centre of Mass) is inside our feet (Base of Support) we are stable. Once it ventures out side this point we stand to fall, if we are lucky we catch our selves with a step…this is calling walking (a repeated practice of controlled falling).

The really interesting thing is as we explore this by moving our centre of mass around until we feel unbalanced is that we discover we start to lose our balance before we get outside the limits of our stance, and if we gently move our partner through the same thing we can feel their balance is lost slightly before they feel it. This is true for high level athletes as well…but sensitivity to it can be trained (if we are not to stiff or focused on power). The next step is putting it into technique, by moving their CoM to very precise points outside their perimeter we can help Uke find which foot they need to move to take the tumble.

Thus we find that its possible to take someones balance and not have them even be aware of it…maybe this in part explains how little old Japanese men seem to be able to chuck our westerners around with such aplomb?

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New Strings

IMG_4059.JPGI just put some Tzigane strings on my violin (rather than my usual Dominant). They are a lower tension string, which I was told would be a bit kinder to my old french violin. In so doing its supposed to bring out its tone a bit better…and how true it was!

Just goes to show that in so many things its often about getting the right match, to get the best performance.

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Compromising to produce Excellence

compromiseI’m working at the moment with another cohort of MBA students on their capstone projects. Its a quite a challenge as the term is short and by necessity there is a strict word limit (thank God). Their ideas are often BIG as they want to hone their newly developed MBA skills and solve something they are passionate about!

So I remind them of the secrets from project management (with a little Pareto on the side), that it is all about finding the right balance between resources (word limit), time (the term) and cost (them). 

While some, in their initial proposal, come out of the blocks with at least 3 PhD’s worth of work. As they progressively focus their ideas down to something achievable (often data driven) …the end result of this compromise is often excellence!

Its a sage reminder for me that less can be more….but it takes hard work and quite disciplined thinking to get there, I guess that is part of the crucible of graduate study!

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Triple bottom line Politics.

triplebottomline1There is a real nice idea in accounting called the triple bottom line. The idea here is that you measure in three areas financial, social and environmental and try to achieve a good outcome for all three. Its a really nice idea and gets back to what ‘accounting’ is all about, that is to account for all things, whereas mostly its used as a bit of a dirty work because its most often associated with financial matters only. 

I guess finances are the easiest thing to measure …how much have you got? and you get a nice round number. Measuring social and environmental indicators is a bit tougher. There are some indicators such as Bhutan’s happiness index (rather than GDP) but thats another story. 

So onto the political area and in Australia anyway we might easily pigeon hole the LNP, Labour and Greens into each of the triple bottom line areas of  financial, social and environmental respectively. Whats interesting is that each party might over time seek to reach the triple bottom line of balancing all areas ( and ultimately snag more voters ) by steadily iterating towards the centre. We certainly see this with the LNP and Labour parties, with at times, their policies at times being almost indistinguishable. The Greens however, maintaining a somewhat more evangelical stance on the environment, seem less interested in persuing a triple bottom line approach.

For example when we look a compromise agreements around carbon emissions we can certainly LNP and Labour have put forth remarkably similar policies with the Greens  steadfast in not supporting anything that has the remotest sniff of compromise. Sadly as a result carbon emissions are a work in progress…

Interestingly as majors (LNP/Labour) drift slowly to a more balanced perspective, it seems to allow space for more room for the purists focusing on the core areas of financial and social. This room has left opportunities and the rise of the the alt right/ alt left movements, advocacy groups and parties seem to be a direct response to this.

Anyways thats about all the political analysis this swinging voter has in him for the moment. 

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An Accidental MBA

mbabyaccident1.pngA few years back I finished an MBA. I didn’t set out to do one but thats where I ended up. There are wild MBA evangelists out there (‘it will change your life’) and the detractors (‘over hyped, you can learn this stuff from a book’) so this is my story.

Establishing an intrapreneurial enterprise within a university almost a decade ago, on the back of a decade of working with industry, I had realised clients generally trusted me on the science, but something else was driving decisions and processes. More often than not the go-no-go decisions were out of my hands and made on something else e.g. market size, profitability, budget cycles or sometimes political issues.  I read ( and still do) a lot of business books to try an get my head in the game, they were extremely useful but they only got me so far. Belonging (and being a board member) of some industry associations put me in a lot more regular contact with business speak, bootcamps ( just quietly…I’ve done a few to many of those), decision making and accelerated time frames (compared to glacial academic ones anyway),  pretty soon I realised I need to take a plunge into something a bit more rigorous. 

A Graduate Certificate in Business Administration was a great start, covering many of the basics including marketing, where I surprised myself by topping the class, HR because after all at least 50% of what I do was  working with people… it just made sense. Probably the greatest single influence there was the first introductory subject where I did my first ever scenario analysis and projection on what I had being doing in my research lab for the last 10 years. It was like a lightbulb went off, suddenly I had a crystal ball into the future. It was a nice tool to compliment my intellectual curiosity lay and to balance the pull of the next pay check, both of whichhad been unconsciously positioning my work. 

The successes were almost immediate for the bottom line. By riding trends (instead of fighting or trying to create them), consciously pursuing operational efficiency with technology tools and adopting internal lab standards everything became just that bit easier. It also gave me something more interesting to say at industry conferences than my latest algorithms 😉

Dial forward a few years and the tension of trying to be nimble in a large sluggish organisation, where sometimes I completed a ‘gig’ faster than an invoice could be issued ( and by faster it was only a few months of work) I decided to study up on entrepreneurship and innovation, (which turned out to be more than Malcom Turnbull’s latest buzz words). 

Sadly my time at the helm of the entrepreneurial unit came to a close not long after, it had become mainstream enough that it was swallowed back into the loving arms of the tenured. So I took the opportunity to finish up a few more interesting subjects, in particular Strategy (which nicely complimented the first subject I started with) and a smattering of finance and accounting. Just for fun, in a project I looked into the growth of online tertiary education, eerily the case organisation I chose ended up just a year later confirming most the findings (yet unable to steer itself enough to take advantage of them)…how cool!!

Anyways thats my MBA story, thanks to Griffith, Stanford and Sunshine Coast universities I entered the wilderness of the gig economy better prepared than what one might expect from a yesteryear Physics PhD. For me an MBA hasn’t been a silver bullet, but rather a partner on the journey. Its been a gateway to new skills, surviving uncertainty and learning to enjoy the ride. I’m continuing to do research, consultancy with industry, with a side order of online teaching and working within some growing SME’s whilst raising a family too!

You can pay big bucks (or not so much) for an MBA, but thats something for another post …

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Finding balance – with 6 lists



I’m a bit of a fan of lists and if you are too this might be of intrest.
There is nothing so satisfying of making a list and checking off the jobs as you get them done. There is a trick and an art to lists to make them work for you rather than against you, but this article isn’t about that. Its about an idea I read in 18 minutes by Peter Bregman which suggests you use lists instead to manage you life for balance. The rub of the idea is create a number lists for yourself each assigned to particular topic with an other 5% box as a catchall.
Here are my favourites Work, A work project, Career, Family, Hobbies. OK thats not quite 6 lists but you get the idea. Now fill out these lists with your todo’s and ask yourself , is it balanced? Your answer depends on your choices and you can use this list to make sure you are making time for yourself, that you are looking after your career rather than just your work. That family and hobbies are given appropriate space. of course these are just my headings, yours may be quite different but hopefully you get the idea.


Epilogue: I use this list strategy like any tool in the toolbox. Its not on my ‘work bench’ every day, but instead comes out for a period of time when i am aware i need to do some rebalancing – then its back in the tool box again

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actually Getting Things Done

getting things doneOne of my favourite books of all time, in the productivity space is Getting Things Done by David Allen. Its a great read and i was able to take away a few key things that enhanced my ability to get things done! Probably the most important one is his process for looking at emails which can easily become the scourge and time eater of your day, but its also really handy for the short jobs that crop up during the day. If its quick then just Do it on the spot, if its going to take a bit longer then Defer it (but make sure you capture than in some system like flagging it a list or calendar entry or just Delete it. These days with email being what it is I don’t tend to delete , I just let it run off the bottom of the’s pretty much the same thing.

One of the important things I learnt from his book is the importance of getting rid of ‘psychic baggage’, that is anything that stops you focusing on what you should be doing right now…but more on that later!



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