Canadian Sport Instute

Pitching for the Future

The CSI Calgary seems to have a way of popping up on Google as the place to be if you want to learn about high performance sport in Canada.

So it was for Kenzie Friesen, a 23-year old Saskatchewan native, who found the CSI Calgary while searching online for an ideal place to apply for a practicum placement, the final requirement for her master’s degree in Exercise Science from Liberty University in Virginia, where she has also played NCAA Div. 1 softball for four years.

It was a good match and Friesen has spent the last two and a half months working at the CSI Calgary with the Biomechanics, Performance Analysis and Sport Product Testing team. Her work has focused primarily on a literature review of footwear research, a necessary task to help the team get a new project off the ground.

Pro Stergiou, CSI Calgary Lead, Biomechanics and Performance Analysis and Manager of Sport Product Testing, says that this kind of work is invaluable to the team. “We don’t always have the time to do this important work, so having Kenzie here to help us has been very valuable.”

Reading, compiling and summarizing a vast amount of research can be tedious, but the end result is a detailed review for Stergiou and his team, and new academic skills for Friesen, who says the work has also improved her focus and made her more confident.

One of the main attractions to the CSI Calgary for students like Friesen is the opportunity to be exposed to the sport science community. “So many people are working towards putting athletes into the best possible position to win medals,” she says. That kind of environment is ripe with learning opportunities that align well with the CSI Calgary’s role in educating tomorrow’s leaders in the fields of sport science and medicine.

Friesen’s confidence is growing in other areas too – she has just been selected to pitch for the women’s senior team at the upcoming Japan Cup. After recently being named to the national development team, the opportunity to play at the senior level for Canada is a thrill for the young athlete.

Friesen, 23, who grew up on a farm just outside Saskatoon, comes by her softball career honestly – her father played in a senior men’s league throughout Saskatchewan and Canada, and her brother and sister played too. “I stuck with it the longest,” she says earnestly, perhaps an indication of her inclination to pursue a not only a master’s degree but soon a Ph.D. too.

Friesen eventually hopes to work in high performance sport, although she says isn’t really sure where she’ll end up. Her upcoming Ph. D. work will focus on throwing biomechanics, which could open doors to coaching and biomechanist roles with sport teams.

Regardless of what the future holds, whether it’s a successful pitching career or an academic one, her love of sport and her home country runs deep. “I can’t watch the Olympics without tearing up,” she confesses. “I’m so passionate about sport, and living in the US makes me appreciate Canada so much.”

**Please note that we are taking a pause from our weekly story for the month of August. We will see you back in September!**

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
26/07/17

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