Tim Scheett works to answer the same question every day: How can we make a better athlete? But he doesn't try to answer it alone.
Scheett involves his exercise science and athletic training students in his work, helping them plan research projects in the fall semester of their senior year and conduct studies in the spring.
"I want to include our students in everything we do research-wise," says Scheett, rattling off studies that his students are undertaking, including analyzing jump-training in water, women's apprehension of using the weight room, and the fitness of Charleston's pedicab drivers versus local triathletes.
Students at the College frequently partner with cadets from The Citadel in their studies, and another research project is working to improve athletes' bursts of power, but not necessarily their overall strength.
"You have to be functionally strong as an athlete," says Scheett, a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance, "but after a certain level, people lose the ability to be athletic."
For this power study, College students have the cadets perform short sets of biometric pushups in which they throw their bodies off the ground up to 30 inches, requiring maximum power.
"It's really odd for the Citadel guys, who are used to doing 100 pushups, to do only three and then stop," says Scheett. "They look at you with a face that says, 'Is that it?'"
Scheett has been intrigued by athletic power since he was a high school and college athlete. At the University of Mary in North Dakota, he trained excessively, ultimately showing little improvement in his ability to throw the shot and discus, but requiring many orthopedic surgeries.
So now Scheett is wary of overtraining athletes, and promotes more specified power exercises.
He is always on the lookout for new fitness techniques and products, and urges his students to have a similar mindset and keep current with health journals when they graduate.
"To me it doesn't matter if they're a physician or a physical therapist," Scheett says. "I want them to constantly try to do things the best way possible."