Footy coaches have long been told not to wear sweat gear on the sidelines and, in some cases, not even to wear their running shoes on the field.
But it turns out they’re wrong.
In a new study, a former footy coach at an elite level of sport has found out why.
The study was done by Professor Simon Riggs, who taught at the University of Sydney’s Sports Institute and is now a professor at the Australian Institute of Sport.
“When you put a bunch of young players in a situation where there’s going to be an environment where the players are sweating and they’re going to sweat profusely, it just doesn’t work,” he said.
“It’s not a game, it’s not an activity, it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
The researchers looked at the biomechanics of sweating in tennis and soccer, and compared it to that of a typical football game.
“You put the player in the middle of a soccer pitch and they sweat profusically.
And in tennis, you can see that the player is sweating more and the intensity is greater,” Professor Riggs said.
When it comes to playing a sport, sweating is a natural part of the process.
“We’re constantly doing this exercise and that exercise,” Professor Paul Broughton, the president of the Australian Sport University, said.
Professor Riggs has since written about his findings in his new book, The Human Body at Work, and he has a new video on his website.
Professor Broughtons findings are supported by his research on the biomechas of human performance.
“They show that when we sweat, our body is more efficient than it would be otherwise, which is very important when we’re playing a game,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“The athletes, the coaches, the referees are all doing the same thing in a game.
They’re sweating more than they would otherwise.”
Professor Boughton said athletes were also more sensitive to the effects of fatigue and other factors in a sport.
“So it’s the players who are actually the ones who are suffering when they’re on the court,” he explained.
Professor Robert LeBlanc, a professor of biomechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore, said sweat was a natural way to perform physical activities.
“In sports where it’s very strenuous, the muscles are very active,” Professor LeBlan said.
“So sweating could be the way in which you can recover from that activity.”
“And so you might feel better afterwards.”
In his study, the researchers found that the more experienced a person was in a given sport, the more efficient they were at exercising their muscles.
“If you’ve been training for 10 years in a particular sport, you are more likely to be doing your best than if you’re just getting in the habit of doing your sport, as opposed to actually doing it every day,” Professor Broughsons team said in their report.
The researchers found the sweat rate for tennis players was 10 per cent lower than that of soccer players.
“Our results show that tennis players can use their sweat to increase their energy expenditure and thereby reduce fatigue,” the report said.
In soccer, the players reported a 10 per of less fatigue, but the team’s report showed a slightly lower rate of sweat loss.
“For example, our research found that tennis, soccer and rugby players sweat less than basketball players,” Professor Crouch said.