Being an athlete my whole life growing up, I was always looking for ways to legally enhance my performance. Before each game, I would eat a protein bar because in my head, that protein bar was exactly what I needed to be energized enough to play. There was no evidence behind that thought of mine, just an anecdote based on my personal experience. Other people would tell me to eat something different or drink something different, but I always stuck to my protein bar. One day, my friend’s Mom told me to drink coffee before every game because the caffeine in the coffee would energize me.
I didn’t believe this statement, but I am curious whether she was correct or not. My hypothesis in this experiment would be that caffeine has no impact on athletic performance. In this case, my hypothesis would be the null hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis would be that coffee enhances athletic performance.
The results of studies on this topic are very mixed. Many experts in the field advise athletes to stay away from caffeine completely, but many others say that caffeine in small doses will provide benefits to athletic performance. This study is one that believes caffeine provides athletic benefits, but even this study admits more specialized studies need to be executed. Right now, there is not enough evidence on either side to make a definitive decision on whether or not caffeine will enhance athletic performance. This particular article shows the mixed results of the studies so far and explains why there must be more studies done.
More studies must be done in order to come to a correct conclusion. There needs to be an experiment done that only tests one variable and holds all else constant to truly know the effects of caffeine. I think the experiment should be a double blind placebo trial and should be set up like this: gather a sample size of at least 500 randomly selected athletes from all sports and test their athletic capabilities by having them perform drills. You can do this by testing each athlete with caffeine and without caffeine in his or her diet. To do this, you test each athlete twice. Before one test, give the athlete a caffeine pill. Before the second test, give the athlete a fake pill. Neither the scientist nor the athlete can know whether he or she was given a real or fake pill. You then have the athlete perform many different drills and record his or her results. By comparing these results, you can tell if the caffeine really helped their performance in the drills.
In conclusion, the results of this hypothesis could still go either way. I tend to lean toward caffeine having no benefit to athletic performance, but until more definitive results come out, no one will know the true answer.