A new year, same plan
Welcome to 2009! We trust you all had a wonderful Christmas and Festive Season, and that wherever you are in the world, you're gearing up for a highly successful 2009 (in spite of all the apparent challenges you'll face this year!)
For our part, we've had a good break, and are ready to hit 2009 running (literally and figuratively. Or riding, if that's your preference!). Unfortunately, there are no Olympic Games this year, and that was a big focus of our posting in 2008, but we'll try to make up for it in 2009 with more in-depth series on various aspects of physiology that we find interesting. I'm not entirely sure what that will involve yet, but we've received so many emails from you over the last year that we're not short of options. And as the year progresses, we'll pick from your questions and comments and tackle those topics. So if you've mailed and feel ignored, my profound apologies, and hopefully you'll get a belated answer in 2009!
A change in work situation and the upside for posting
In terms of some other "house-keeping" issues, we've also got some ideas lined up for 2009, and some possibly exciting news mid-way through the year. Speaking personally now, I (Ross) alluded to a change in my own situation a while back, and that change involves the fact that I've now left SAIL (the sports management and marketing company I was working for) and am going to be "self-employed" in 2009 (if that sounds like a euphemism for unemployed, you heard correctly).
I'll be working on various stand-alone projects, doing some consulting work, some strategy work with sports teams and Universities, and hopefully, getting much more involved with the University of Cape Town in a sports science strategy role. The upside of this is (hopefully) more time for posting and so we should hopefully be more consistent than we were towards the end of last year, where a batch of 5 days in a row was often followed by a week of silence.
Time has been the big issue for me, and doing those more in-depth series (like the ones on running technique, injuries, heat, dehydration, muscle cramp etc) are much more time-consuming than opinion pieces and comments on the news. That was especially true because we started to hear from readers who were keen to sharpen the knives and flex their muscle on those series, reviewing us as though we are writing a review of the literature for a scientific journal - hopefully they'll appreciate our vision a little better in '09. But, if we do the series, we have to tighten them up and cover all the bases, which takes substantially more time. But that's the reason we might have been a little thin, but it should change in 2009.
Also, we are planning to expand our range a little by inviting guest contributors, drawing on their expertise in those fields where we are limited in our insight. So throughout the course of the year, look out for those invited contributions, which should allow us to grow the coverage of lesser-known sports and issues (at least, to us!)
Speaking of which, I know that many of you are experts in specific areas and have a great deal of value to add, so if you'd like to, please do invite yourself! We want to facilitate as much discussion as possible and fulfill our Mission and Vision, and if you think you can be part of it, don't hesitate to offer! Just be prepared to tolerate some editing and opinion, since we obviously want the style of the site to remain relatively consistent!
A final innovation that I'm hoping to launch is a video-post once in a while, where either JD or I speak and present a topic, rather than write about it. That serves a couple of purposes. One is to personalize the site a little more, so that you can actually hear us rather than simply reading. It's also hopefully a more interactive method of getting a message across, and it should allow us to "play" with topics a little more, make them even more accessible and entertaining.
So that's the year ahead. The sports year picks up pretty quickly - the first big event is the Aussie Open tennis, starting next week. If any of you are involved in the science of tennis and would like to have a crack at a post or idea or two around the tennis, please let us know.
Our real focus starts when the fall marathon season begins, and it's London in particular that should generate a lot of interesting discussion.
One last thing - you'll see at the end of every post that we have options to email posts, to share posts on Facebook, or to Stumble it. Those are there to help us grow the readership, attract more subscribers, so if you read anything that grabs you, please feel free to make use of those and let your colleagues and friends know. As always, the more the merrier!
We will also launch a donation function in 2009 - we had it on the site in 2008, but it was buried a little and then Amazon's donation function went bust. I see that Wikipedia managed to raise $4 million from 125,000 donations since July last year. I'd settle for a quarter of that! Just kidding, but any donations are of course welcome! We will tell you more about that closer to the time, once we set it up and know that it's working.
As always, thanks for reading, and bring on 2009!
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Sunday, January 04, 2009
A new year, same plan