The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

History of BASES

BASES (formerly BASS) was founded in September 1984 following the dissolution of the Biomechanics Study Group (SBSG), the British Society of Sports Psychology (BSSP) and the Society of Sports Sciences (SSS). The process of change involved establishing the British Association of Sports Sciences (BASS) in order to be able to speak with one more powerful voice about UK sports sciences.

The original aims of BASS were to facilitate communication amongst those actively engaged in the scientific study of sport both within and between the constituent sections and to promote the dissemination of information derived from the scientific study of sport. The Sections referred to above were originally designated Sports Biomechanics (ex SBSG), Sports Psychology (ex BSSP), Sports Physiology and Open (both ex SSS). Of interest was the fact that the original title proposed for the Open Section was the Interdisciplinary Section. However, at the seminal AGM in 1984 the Open Section name was adopted in order to "apply the methods and rigour of the scientific approach to everyday problems of the sport practitioner" as well as "provide an opportunity for the scientific study of any aspect of sport involvement which does not fall naturally under the aegis of the other discipline-oriented sections".

The original BASS Executive Committee comprised two representatives from each of the four sections and the Editor of the Journal of Sports Sciences, who was ex officio. This group comprised Adrian Lees and David Kerwin (Sports Biomechanics), Frank Sanderson and Gerry Barrell (Sports Psychology), Clyde Williams and David Kellett (Sports Physiology), John Alderson and Les Burwitz (Open Section) and Tom Reilly (Editor JSS). The constitution required the Executive Committee to elect the first officers and Clyde Williams, Les Burwitz and Adrian Lees became the first Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

The first BASS conference took place in Chichester in September 1985 when it was announced that there were 146 members (2 Honorary, 117 full and 12 students). At that time, Clyde Williams spoke of the enthusiasm, goodwill and spirit of cooperation that had led to the establishment of BASS. He also spoke of two challenges, namely, to establish a "position statement" on the role of testing in elite sport and to reflect on the nature and content of sport science degrees in order to ensure that they had a higher position in the "pecking order" within academic institutions.

There have been four other significant changes since the inception of BASS. The first was in 1993 when BASS became BASES in anticipation of the crucial role that physical activity would be seen to have in society. The major proponents of this change were Andy Smith, Stuart Biddle and Adrian Taylor, but the implication was far reaching in that the remit of the Association was suddenly extended and every aspect of BASES needed to respond accordingly under the careful, open-minded guidance of the BASES Chair Roger Bartlett. The futuristic vision of the above mentioned colleagues and others epitomises BASES, as does the mutual support that members normally provide for each other and a willingness of senior colleagues to adapt when necessary in order to maintain the position of BASES as the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.

The second major change was in 1996 when the Open Section became the Interdisciplinary Section. This development was led by Andy Miles and Andy Borrie, who produced a position paper on Interdisciplinary Sport Science in 1997 that made reference to the 1992 Sports Council funded Interdisciplinary Research Review written by Les Burwitz, Phil Moore and Dave Wilkinson. The constitutional change meant that the Section could concentrate on fostering the integration of sport and exercise science knowledge across various disciplines to explain relevant behaviours and inform practice and policy in sport and physical activity. This end-user orientation is now recognised in the BASES Corporate Plan and the objective of nurturing interest groups outside the three main discipline groups has become the responsibility of the Association rather than any one section.

The third change occurred following the February 2005 EGM, where BASES members voted in support of another significant step forward for the Association. That was, to form BASES as a private company limited by guarantee and to govern BASES by a Memorandum and Articles of Association and Rules (rather than by the Constitution). As a consequence of the vote, BASES was incorporated under the Companies Act 1985 as a private limited company in March 2005.

The fourth significant change was perhaps the most drastic and exciting for the Association.  The decision was taken at the Association’s second EGM held in February 2005 to restructure and form three Divisions in the areas of Sport and Performance; Physical Activity for Health; and Education and Professional Development. The overriding opinion was that BASES needed to change its structure to more appropriately reflect the external environment. By doing this, BASES believed that it would improve the link between the membership and service roles and simultaneously meet the needs of w ider range of members and the communities that BASES members serve.  It wass anticipated that this decision would attract more members from sport and health professionals, students and H/FE staff.  The restructure meant that as of September 2005, the four sections of BASES (Biomechanics, Interdisciplinary, Physiology and Psychology) were dissolved. However, it was envisaged that the section-based approach to supervised experience and accreditation would remain until the divisions and Special Interest Groups were able to justify revisions to this process.  All members, especially new members, were encouraged to take an active interest in developing the divisions and one or more Special Interest Groups in order to ensure that the Association achieves its vision and strategic goals.

Chairs of the Association

2015-to present:      Keith Tolfrey

2012-2015:      Ian Campbell

2010-2012:      Jo Doust

2008-2010:      Jo Doust

2006-2008:      Richard Davison

2004-2006:      Craig Mahoney

2002-2004:      Clyde Williams

2000-2002:      Neil Spurway

1998-2000:      Andy Smith

1996-1998:      Les Burwitz

1994-1996:      Tom Reilly

1991-1994:      Roger Bartlett

1989-1991:      Neil Armstrong

1987-1989:      Tudor Hale

1984-1987:      Clyde Williams

BASES Venues for the Annual Conference

(Provided by Professor Edward M Winter and Professor Stuart J Biddle)

2017                East Midlands Conference Centre jointly with FEPSAC (hosted by BASES)

2016                East Midlands Conference Centre (hosted by BASES)

2015                St George's Park (hosted by BASES)

2014                St George's Park (hosted by BASES)

2013                University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)

2012                ICSEMIS (Glasgow Conference & Exhibition Centre)

2011                Essex (University of Essex)

2010                Glasgow (Glasgow University)

2009                Leeds (Leeds Metropolitan University)

2008                London (Brunel University)

2007                Bath (University of Bath)

2006                Walsall (University of Wolverhampton)

2005                Loughborough (Loughborough University)

2004                Liverpool (Liverpool John Moores University)

2003                Sheffield (Sheffield Hallam University)

2002                Manchester (Commonwealth Games)

2001                Newport (University of Wales, Newport)

2000                Liverpool (Liverpool John Moores University)

1999                Leeds (Leeds Metropolitan University)

1998                Worcester (Worcester College of Higher Education)

1997                York (York St John's University)

1996                Lilleshall (Football Association Human Performance Centre)

1995                Belfast (Queen's University Belfast)

1994                Aberdeen (University of Aberdeen)

1993                Didsbury (Commercial organiser)

1992                Edinburgh (Heriot Watt University)

1991                Twickenham (St Mary's)

1990                Cardiff (University of Wales Institute Cardiff)

1989                Bangor (Bangor University)

1988                Exeter (University of Exeter)

1987                Borough Road (West London Institute of Higher Education)

1986                Birmingham (University of Birmingham)

1985                Chichester (West Sussex Institute of Higher Education)

1984                Formation of the Association at Bedford College of Higher Education during the last Society for Sport Sciences conference