Sports Scientists provide the perfect chemical formulas for preparation
BYU football is growing in numbers and in prestige. As the Cougars gear up for their addition to the Big 12 next year, they are preparing in many ways to step up their game.
At the beginning of the 2022 season, BYU added two sports scientists to the team: Dr. Skyler Mayne and Dr. Colby Clawson. While sports scientist is a new position on the team, Clawson and Mayne are not new to the scene and lifestyle of sports.
“I have always worked with pro football players and I have worked with BYU players in the past,” Mayne said. “Just this past year, BYU decided to bring me on the team to help build programs from injury and back to the field.”
Head football coach Kalani Sitake commented on the new addition of sports scientists earlier in the season. “They have the background to connect the strength room with the training room and then also using data and research to help get our guys in the optimal position for success.”
“During practice, we track the players’ speed, acceleration, deceleration, all kinds of stuff, and then we use an algorithm to analyze the data,” Mayne said. “We gather as many data points as we can, and give our best professional suggestion to coach.”
Mayne mentioned his experience at BYU has been rewarding, although different from previous positions.
“Usually I am in charge of a lot more analysis, but the difference at BYU is that we work as more of a team,” Mayne said. “There is more input to consider and I like the team experience.”
One of the most important responsibilities Mayne holds is preparing the players for away games. Utah offers a higher elevation and lower oxygen levels, especially when compared to the locations for 2022’s away games.
“If we train the right way here at home then we travel the right way,” Mayne said. “For the away games, we take into consideration the humidity and travel time. We plan out the nutrition plans and sleep schedules for the team.”
When BYU traveled to Tampa in early September to face USF, the weather threw everyone for a loop. Mayne said that the team was already prepared for the humidity and difference in weather, but the rain and lightning delays gave them more time to prepare.
With the 2.5 hour weather delay preceding the game, players and coaches were grateful for the direction and preparation of their sports scientists.
“We had the players lay down with their feet up and hot towels on their heads”, Mayne said. “We didn’t want anyone to lose the excitement and energy, but we needed to preserve it for the actual game.”
The effects in Tampa did not go unnoticed. At the same time, Utah was playing Florida down the road in Gainesville, where several Ute players were throwing up and sitting out of the game.
Although Mayne’s job is directly related to riveting football games, Mayne is more excited for the growth of the sports scientists scene and profession.
“There is an artistry to what we do as sports scientists,” Mayne said. “We bring a uniqueness to the medical side of sports and we will be pushing and leading the industry here at BYU.”