Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 29, 2016

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 29, 2016


Promising teenagers raise hopes of a rebirth of U.S. men’s tennis

The Washington Post from August 27, 2016

… No American man has captured a Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open, the country’s longest major singles drought in history. The highest-ranked American is No.?21 Steve Johnson.

Led by Fritz, 18, who is already inside the top 60, these youngsters have turned outstanding junior careers into early success on the pro circuit — a rarity in today’s physically demanding game, which favors mature minds and developed bodies. All have moved up the rankings in 2016 by dozens, if not hundreds, of spots.


The BS Meter – NFL players in ‘the best shape of my life’ – QB Tim Tebow, Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant

ESPN NFL, David Fleming from August 26, 2016

… After all this BS talk, we decided to investigate all the other “Best Shape of my Life” claims that were made this summer.


Albert Pujols used to be amazing

NBC SportsWorld, Joe Posnaski from August 26, 2016

… When you look past RBIs, it’s pretty bleak. Pujols can no longer play the field. He can no longer run the bases. He doesn’t walk anymore. He doesn’t hit line drives anymore. He makes a lot of soft outs. His slugging numbers are down. He has more double-play grounders than doubles.

The Angels and everyone else should have seen this coming, of course. Pujols is 36 years old. And 36-year-old baseball players, for the most part, are done. We tend not to think about it this way; we tend to believe that most good players aren’t really done until they are 39 or 40. But it just isn’t so.

Why do we continue to believe that players age better than they do? There are a lot of reasons, of course, some of them psychological: It’s hard for our minds to get around the idea that a player can be really good YESTERDAY and be completely shot TODAY. We do understand this in football, probably because of the violence. Nobody was really all that surprised that, say, LaDainian Tomlinson was otherworldly at 27 years old (1,815 rushing yards, 5.2 yards per carry, an NFL-record 31 touchdowns), somewhat less great at 28, barely average at 29 and expendable at 30. We get that it happens that way in football, especially for running backs.


Too little sleep and an unhealthy diet could increase the risk of sustaining a new injury in adolescent elite athletes – Rosen – 2016 – Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports – Wiley Online Library

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from August 19, 2016

Little is known about health variables and if these variables could increase the risk of injuries among adolescent elite athletes. The primary aim was to present overall data on self-perceived stress, nutrition intake, self-esteem, and sleep, as well as gender and age differences, on two occasions among adolescent elite athletes. A secondary aim was to study these health variables as potential risk factors on injury incidence. A questionnaire was e-mailed to 340 adolescent elite athletes on two occasions during a single school year: autumn semester and spring semester. The results show that during autumn semester, the recommended intake of fruits, vegetables, and fish was not met for 20%, 39%, and 43% of the adolescent elite athletes, respectively. The recommended amount of sleep during weekdays was not obtained by 19%. Multiple logistic regression showed that athletes sleeping more than 8 h of sleep during weekdays reduced the odds of injury with 61% (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.16–0.99) and athletes reaching the recommended nutrition intake reduced the odds with 64% (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.14–0.91). Our findings suggest that nutrition intake and sleep volume are of importance in understanding injury incidence.


University of Oregon’s new sports performance center has sleeping pods for players

Twitter, Football Players from August 25, 2016


The Spawns of Creative Behavior in Team Sports: A Creativity Developmental Framework | Movement Science and Sport Psychology

Frontiers in Psychology from August 26, 2016

Developing creativity in team sports players is becoming an increasing focus in sports sciences. The Creativity Developmental Framework is presented to provide an updated science based background. This Framework describes five incremental creative stages (beginner, explorer, illuminati, creator, and rise) and combines them into multidisciplinary approaches embodied in creative assumptions. In the first training stages, the emphasis is placed on the enrollment in diversification, deliberate play and physical literacy approaches grounded in nonlinear pedagogies. These approaches allow more freedom to discover different movement patterns increasing the likelihood of emerging novel, adaptive and functional solutions. In the later stages, the progressive specialization in sports and the differential learning commitment are extremely important to push the limits of the creative progress at higher levels of performance by increasing the range of skills configurations. Notwithstanding, during all developmental stages the teaching games for understanding, a game-centered approach, linked with the constraints-led approach play an important role to boost the tactical creative behavior. Both perspectives might encourage players to explore all actions possibilities (improving divergent thinking) and prevents the standardization in their actions. Overall, considering the aforementioned practice conditions the Creativity Developmental Framework scrutinizes the main directions that lead to a long-term improvement of the creative behavior in team sports. Nevertheless, this framework should be seen as a work in progress to be later used as the paramount reference in creativity training. [full text]


Quantification of training load during return to play following upper and lower body injury in Australian Rules Football

Martin Buchheit, International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance from August 26, 2016

Training volume, intensity and distribution are important factors in training design during periods of return to play. The aim of this study was to quantify the effect of injury on training load (TL) before and after return to play in professional Australian Rules Football.

Weekly perceived training load (RPE-TL) for 44 players was obtained for all indoor & outdoor training sessions, while pitch-based training was monitored via GPS (total distance, high-speed running, and mean speed). When a player sustained a competition time-loss injury, weekly TL was quantified for 3 weeks before and after return to play. General linear mixed models, where inferences about magnitudes standardized with between-player SD, were used to quantify effects of lower and upper body injury on TL compared to the team.

While total RPE-TL was similar to the team within 2 weeks of return to play, distribution of training was different, whereby skills RPE-TL was likely and most likely lower for upper and lower body injury, respectively, and most likely replaced with small to very large increases in running and other conditioning load. Weekly total distance and high-speed running was most likely moderately-largely reduced for lower and upper body injury until after return to play, at which point, total RPE-TL, training distribution, total distance and high-speed running were similar to the team. Mean speed of pitch-based training was similar before and after return to play compared to the team.

Despite injured athletes obtaining comparable training loads to injured players, the distribution of the training is different until after return to play, indicating the importance of monitoring all types of training athletes complete.


Call for Papers – Multimedia Tools for Physiological Computing – Springer Journal | Just Kiel

Multimedia Tools and Applications, Springer Journal from August 17, 2016

… In this special issue we call for the submission of cutting edge research work aimed at bridging the gap between multimedia tools and physiological computing systems, by addressing topical issues involved in the creation of multimedia tools for physiological computing.


CICS Researchers Introduce New Radio Technology, Allows Mobile Devices to Share Power

UMass Amherst, College of Information and Computer Sciences from August 25, 2016

In a paper presented today at the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group on data communication (SIGCOMM) conference in Florianopolis, Brazil, a team of computer science researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by professor Deepak Ganesan introduced a new radio technology that allows small mobile devices to take advantage of battery power in larger devices nearby for communication.

Ganesan and his graduate students in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, Pan Hu, Pengyu Zhang and Mohammad Rostami, designed and are testing a prototype radio that could help to extend the life of batteries in small, mass-market mobile devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches. They hope using “energy offload” techniques may help to make these devices smaller and lighter in the future.


John Harbaugh calls for preseason changes after Benjamin Watson tears Achilles

ESPN NFL, Jamison Hensley from August 28, 2016

After watching two of his players get carried off the field Saturday night — including tight end Benjamin Watson, who is expected to miss the entire regular season with a torn Achilles — Ravens coach John Harbaugh was critical of the number of preseason games.

“It’s not the ’70s anymore,” Harbaugh said after the Ravens’ 30-9 win over the Detroit Lions. “These guys playing in these games — it’s tough — and they’re not meaningful games. They are important to get better, and they improve us. But we football coaches can find ways to get our guys ready and get our players evaluated without the kind of risk that a game necessarily entails.

“I’m really hopeful that the union and the league can get together and do something that’s good for everybody — especially what’s good for the players and for the fans.”


Mobility, proprioception, strength and FMS as predictors of injury in professional footballers

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine from August 18, 2016

Background The premise of this study was to investigate if anthropometric variables such as mobility, proprioception, strength and modified Functional Movement Screen (mFMS) could be used as primary indicators of injury risk in an English Championship division football team. This study focused on moderate injuries occurring in the lower extremities, during the 2014/2015 competitive season.

Methods To differentiate between minor, moderate and severe injuries, this study classified moderate injuries as an injury with an average injury severity of 2–28?days. This study is composed of 4 individual investigations. Each variable was assessed against 2 groups: injured (n=6) and non-injured (n=10). The 2 groups were compiled from the first team, with the criteria that each participant of this study required: full preseason assessment and injury history for the time period, 1 July 2014 to 19 March 2015. A Mann-Whitney U test (0.05% significance) was applied to statistically analyse if each variable showed any variation across the 2 groups. Effect size was estimated with Cliff’s d.

Results Strength asymmetry displayed significant difference (p=0.007), mobility, proprioception and mFMS did not (p=0.263, p=0.792 and p=0.181, respectively). Mean scores for mobility, proprioception, strength asymmetry and mFMS for injured versus non-injured players (effect size) were: 40.00 vs 38.00 (0.37), 10.33 vs 10.20 (0.10), 61.13 vs 30.40 (0.80) and 7.33 vs 8.90 (?0.4), respectively.

Conclusions This study found no relationship between mobility/proprioception and injury risk; however, strength asymmetry was statistically significant in predicting injury and mFMS exhibited enough positive difference for recommendation of further investigation. [full text]


Why U.S. Distance Runners Won So Many Medals at the 2016 Olympics

Runner's World, Newswire from August 23, 2016

… Though not an exhaustive list of factors, the following are three variables that contributed to the U.S. distance success in Rio:

1. Training high


Transfer window: exposing the widely held myths about how clubs sign players

The Guardian, The Set Pieces, Jake Cohen from August 24, 2016

There are some widely held myths about how the football industry works, especially when it comes to finances. This is largely due to an intentional lack of transparency – mainly regarding transfer fees and wages – that is in stark contrast to the NBA and NFL, where player costs are publicly reported and every deal is viewed through the lens of how it will affect teams’ salary caps. With football clubs privately owned and free from most public reporting standards, fans receive most of their information about player costs and wages through the media.

But why are player costs important? After all, it’s not our money, right. Disregarding that it kind of is our money – the huge increase in Premier League TV revenue, for example, is being paid for through Sky and BT subscription fees from UK viewers – with domestic and Uefa financial regulations, clubs are prevented from spending much more than they earn. In practice, this results in individual spending caps for each team. Understanding how clubs calculate player costs helps us to see how they really value certain players, as well as how the money is being spent, which players provide good value, and which players do not.


Pochettino and Klopp are driving the Premier League’s pressing revolution – ESPN FC

ESPN FC, Michael Cox from August 26, 2016

… There are various ways to gegenpress — managers can ask players to shut down individual opponents, or block off passing lanes. But Klopp’s version seems to place significant emphasis on getting bodies around the ball quickly, almost panicking the opponent in possession and forcing him to concede cheaply.

The interesting thing about Pochettino and Klopp’s emphasis on pressing, however, is that this approach has rarely proved successful in the Premier League. As a general rule, English champions have concentrated on getting back behind the ball into a solid shape rather than engaging with the opposition high up the pitch. In more recent times, the obvious victim of pressing was Andre Villas-Boas, who watched his heavy tactics backfire spectacularly during his half-season with Chelsea. While he enjoyed more success initially at Tottenham, there were a couple of truly embarrassing defeats in his second season — 6-0 against Manchester City and 5-0 against Liverpool — which saw him sacked.


How long can a run of bad luck last before we start to suspect a football team is actually crap?

Medium, David Sumpter from August 25, 2016

I give two simple rules for deciding if a big name team might actually be crap this season. We should conclude that a team is probably crap if they have (1) a run of three losses without a win or (2) establish no clear pattern of winning more than losing after 12 matches.


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