BYU football is growing in number and prestige. As the Cougars prepare for their addition to the Big 12 next year, they are preparing in a number of ways to step up their game.
At the start of the 2022 season, BYU added two sports scientists to the team: Dr. Skyler Mayne and Dr. Colby Clawson. While the sports scientist takes on a new role with the team, Clawson and Mayne are not new to the sports scene and lifestyle.
“I’ve always worked with professional football players and I’ve worked with BYU players in the past,” Mayne said. “Last year BYU decided to bring me on the team to help build programs from injury and back on the court.”
Football head coach Kalani Sitake commented on the new addition of sports scientists earlier in the season. “They have the experience to connect the weight room to the training room and then use data and research to help get our guys in the optimal position to succeed.”
“During training, we track player 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 possible and give our best professional suggestion to the coach.”
Mayne said her experience at BYU has been rewarding, although different from previous positions.
“Usually I’m in charge of a lot more analysis, but the difference at BYU is that we work more as a team,” Mayne said. “There is more information to take in and I like the team’s experience.”
One of Mayne’s most important responsibilities is preparing players for away games. Utah offers higher elevation and lower oxygen levels, especially compared to 2022 away game locations.
“If we train the right way here at home, we’re traveling in the right direction,” Mayne said. “For away games, we take into account humidity and travel time. We plan the team’s nutrition plans and sleep schedules.
When BYU traveled to Tampa in early September to take on USF, the weather threw everyone for a loop. Mayne said the team was already prepared for the humidity and weather differences, but the rain and lightning delays gave them more time to prepare.
With the 2.5 hour weather delay leading up to the game, players and coaches were grateful for the direction and preparation of their sports scientists.
“We had the players lying down with their feet up and hot towels over their heads,” Mayne said. “We didn’t want anyone to lose the excitement and the energy, but we had to preserve it for the actual game.”
The effects in Tampa have not gone unnoticed. At the same time, Utah was playing Florida on the road in Gainesville, where several Ute players were vomiting and missing the game.
Although Mayne’s work is directly related to thrilling football games, Mayne is more excited about the growth of the sports science scene and profession.
“There’s artistry in what we do as sports scientists,” Mayne said. “We bring uniqueness to the medical side of sports and we will push and lead the industry here at BYU.”