Applied Sports Science newsletter – September 3, 2016

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for September 3, 2016

Sometimes I send a Saturday newsletter to clear out a backlog of material sitting in the newsletter production queue. There are about double the number of items in this queue-clearing newsletter compared to the regular weekday email newsletter.


The Latest American Accused of Being Good at Soccer – The New York Times

The New York Times from August 29, 2016

… [Jordan Morris’] teammate Hérculez Gómez, a striker who has spent 14 years playing in Mexico and in M.L.S., said he believed that introspection like that, rather than the reflexive bravado of some young pros, might give Morris a better chance to thrive than some of the previously anointed young players.

“A lot of guys get that taste of success and buy into what they hear,” Gomez said. “He didn’t buy into it. He doesn’t think he’s done anything. And to me, that’s the best sign yet.”

Lagerwey, the Sounders’ general manager, thinks that outlook is a direct result of Morris’s staying at Stanford for three years instead of turning professional as a teenager. Being around smart people in all disciplines, Lagerwey said, “reminds people that you’re not necessarily such a special snowflake in terms of the rest of the world, and from a life perspective, that can be valuable.”


Kevin Mirallas – ‘I’ve lost a stone under Koeman training regime’

Liverpool Echo from August 31, 2016

Kevin Mirallas has lost a stone under Ronald Koeman’s new Everton training regime – and by eating less pasta served up by his Italian wife.

And Belgium forward Mirallas hopes that weight loss will help him win back his international place under their new manager Roberto Martinez, who he fell out with last season when the Cataolan was still in charge at Goodison.


Serena Williams, Wonder Woman, Is Our September Cover Star

SELF magazine from August 01, 2016

For two decades, Serena Williams has been a tennis superhero. Now, she opens up about the challenges she’s overcome to get there—and what it will take to stay number one.


Lynden Gooch to ASN: “I Want to Play Every Game”

American Soccer Now, Brian Sciaretta from September 01, 2016

THE FORTUNES of a young soccer player can change quickly—and Lynden Gooch is proof of that. Coming into this season, he wasn’t sure what to expect at Sunderland. After a loan to Doncaster last year, he returned to Sunderland over the summer to find a new manager at the helm, and more questions than answers.

As August comes to a close, however, Gooch has started Sunderland’s first three English Premier League games and its first cup match. He has earned accolades for his play and has put himself in the driver’s seat to become one of the top American players of his age group.

“Leading into this season, I would have been happy maybe starting a couple games this season or coming off the bench,” Gooch told American Soccer Now. “Now I’ve started [three] Premier League games and the cup game, I want to play in every game. I am hungrier now than I was before, now that I’ve gotten the taste of it.


Sidney Crosby: How I’m preparing to keep the Stanley Cup, Sidney Crosby from September 01, 2016

… Not that fixing things came overnight. It’s not that easy. You can’t just flip a switch and resurrect your best self. There were things I wanted to adjust about my own game, but it would’ve been overwhelming to take it all on immediately. Instead, my focus was to simplify things and just try to improve incrementally, piece by piece. When the little things got ironed out, the bigger stuff simply fell into place.

Eventually, the hundreds of hours we put in as a team at practice as a team paid dividends. By dedicating ourselves to preparation and development before games, we were able to play instinctively in games, confident?—?certain, actually?—?that our hard work would pay off.

Over time, we slowly developed an identity as a team based on how we wanted to play. Undeniably, that happened a lot slower than everyone wanted it to happen. As a result, a coaching change was made (which is difficult as a player to have rest on your shoulders), but the wins finally started to come.


A prospective multilevel examination of the relationship between cohesion and team performance in elite youth sport

Psychology of Sport and Exercise from July 17, 2016

The purpose of the current research was to (a) develop and establish the factor structure of the Czech and Slovak versions of the Youth Sport Environment Questionnaire (YSEQ; Eys, Loughead, Bray, & Carron, 2009) and (b) examine the relationship between team performance and cohesion with a sample of European elite youth sport teams. At time point one, with 352 elite youth athletes from 22 teams, support was obtained for a two factor structure underlying the YSEQ. Based on data collected at the second (N = 291) and third (N = 246) time points, multilevel analyses revealed that, when controlling for midseason cohesion, midseason team performance significantly and positively predicted task and social cohesion later in the season. Neither task nor social cohesion predicted team performance. In addition to adapting the YSEQ for use in a unique context, these findings reveal the nature of the cohesion-performance relationship in elite youth sport.


Success as an athlete depends on managing injury and illness

ithlete, Myithlete from August 25, 2016


Is there a link between previous exposure to sport injury psychology education and UK sport injury rehabilitation professionals’ attitudes and behaviour towards sport psychology?

Physical Therapy in Sport from August 12, 2016


The use of sport psychology strategies during sport injury rehabilitation can lead to several positive outcomes such as improved adherence and self-efficacy. The purpose of this study was to compare the sport psychology related attitudes and behaviours of UK sport injury rehabilitation professionals (SIRPs) who had studied the psychological aspects of sport injury to those who had not.
Participants and design

Ninety-four SIRPs (54 physiotherapists and 40 sports therapists with a mean of 9.22 years’ experience of working in sport) completed an online survey and were grouped according to their level of previous exposure to sport injury psychology education at an undergraduate/postgraduate level. Analyses were undertaken to establish whether there were any differences in sport psychology related attitude (MANOVA), usage (MANOVA), and referral behaviours (chi square) between the groups.

The MANOVA and chi square tests conducted revealed that those who had studied the psychological aspects of sport injury reported using significantly more sport psychology in their practice and making more referrals to sport psychologists.

It was concluded that sport injury psychology education appears to be effective in increasing the sport psychology related behaviours (use of sport psychology and referral) of SIRPs and should be integrated into professional training.


Mental Toughness Can Be Taught

The New York Times from August 28, 2016

[Paul Hipwell interviews English national rugby team coach Eddie Jones.]
Q. Mental toughness is something we hear about a lot, in sports and in other domains. Can it be trained, or is it innate?

A. It’s very much trainable. I think everyone’s born with a degree of mental toughness. I think it depends on your family life, how you were educated by your parents, what sort of school you went to, but then the environment you go into in a team can create a much higher level of mental toughness.

Q. Even at the professional level?

A. You never stop learning. And the fact is that if you think you’ve stopped learning, your career is almost finished.


Can exercising make you smarter?

Headspace blog, Marcos Economides from August 30, 2016

… guess what one of the most powerful drivers of neuroplasticity is? Fascinatingly, it’s exercise. The hippocampus (which is associated with learning, memory, navigation and decision-making) seems to be particularly sensitive to the effects of exercise. Early research in animals showed that mice with access to a running wheel have a dramatic increase in the number of new brain cells in the hippocampus compared to mice than don’t use a running wheel. The running mice were also better at learning how to navigate a maze.

Why does this matter? Well, similar results have been found in humans across a variety of different studies and age groups. For example, children with higher VO2 max scores (a measure of physical fitness) are likely to have more brain cells in the hippocampus than children with lower VO2 max scores, and hippocampal volume has also been shown to correlate with cardiovascular fitness and memory function in adults.


Six Brain Hacks To Learn Anything Faster

Fast Company from August 30, 2016

Whether it’s a new technology, a foreign language, or an advanced skill, staying competitive often means learning new things. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers have taken a course or sought additional training to advance their careers, according to a March 2016 study by Pew Research Center. They report that results have included an expanded professional network, new job or different career path.

Being a quick learner can give you an even greater edge. Science proves there are six ways you can learn and retain something faster.

1. Teach Someone Else (Or Just Pretend To)


Cognitive Fatigue Influences Time-On-Task during Bodyweight Resistance Training Exercise | Exercise Physiology

Frontiers in Physiology from September 01, 2016

Prior investigations have shown measurable performance impairments on continuous physical performance tasks when preceded by a cognitively fatiguing task. However, the effect of cognitive fatigue on bodyweight resistance training exercise task performance is unknown. In the current investigation 18 amateur athletes completed a full body exercise task preceded by either a cognitive fatiguing or control intervention. In a randomized repeated measure design, each participant completed the same exercise task preceded by a 52 min cognitively fatiguing intervention (vigilance) or control intervention (video). Data collection sessions were separated by 1 week. Participants rated the fatigue intervention with a significantly higher workload compared to the control intervention (p < 0.001). Additionally, participants self-reported significantly greater energetic arousal for cognitively fatiguing task (p = 0.02). Cognitive fatigue did not significantly impact number of repetitions completed during the exercise task (p = 0.77); however, when cognitively fatigued, participants had decreased percent time-on-task (57%) relative to the no fatigue condition (60%; p = 0.04). RPE significantly changed over time (p 0.05). There was no statistical difference for heart rate or metabolic expenditure as a function of fatigue intervention during exercise. Cognitively fatigued athletes have decreased time-on-task in bodyweight resistance training exercise tasks. [full text]


A novel sleep optimisation programme to improve athletes’ well-being and performance: European Journal of Sport Science: Vol 0, No 0

European Journal of Sport Science from August 30, 2016

Objectives: To improve well-being and performance indicators in a group of Australian Football League (AFL) players via a six-week sleep optimisation programme. Design: Prospective intervention study following observations suggestive of reduced sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness in an AFL group. Methods: Athletes from the Adelaide Football Club were invited to participate if they had played AFL senior-level football for 1–5 years, or if they had excessive daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale [ESS] >10), measured via ESS. An initial education session explained normal sleep needs, and how to achieve increased sleep duration and quality. Participants (n?=?25) received ongoing feedback on their sleep, and a mid-programme education and feedback session. Sleep duration, quality and related outcomes were measured during week one and at the conclusion of the six-week intervention period using sleep diaries, actigraphy, ESS, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Profile of Mood States, Training Distress Scale, Perceived Stress Scale and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task. Results: Sleep diaries demonstrated an increase in total sleep time of approximately 20?min (498.8?±?53.8 to 518.7?±?34.3; p?<?.05) and a 2% increase in sleep efficiency (p?<?0.05). There was a corresponding increase in vigour (p?<?0.001) and decrease in fatigue (p?<?0.05). Conclusions: Improvements in measures of sleep efficiency, fatigue and vigour indicate that a sleep optimisation programme may improve athletes’ well-being. More research is required into the effects of sleep optimisation on athletic performance.


Test-Retest Reliability of Rating of Perceived Exertion and Agreement With 1-Repetition Maximum in Adults

Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy from August 05, 2016

Study Design

Clinical measurement.

It has been suggested that rating of perceived exertion (RPE) may be a useful alternative to 1-repetition maximum (1RM) to determine proper resistance exercise dosage. However, the test-retest reliability of RPE for resistance exercise has not been determined. Additionally, prior research regarding the relationship between 1RM and RPE is conflicting.

The purpose of this study was to (1) determine test-retest reliability of RPE related to resistance exercise and (2) assess agreement between percentages of 1RM and RPE during quadriceps resistance exercise.

A sample of participants with and without knee pathology completed a series of knee extension exercises and rated the perceived difficulty of each exercise on a 0-to-10 RPE scale, then repeated the procedure 1 to 2 weeks later for test-retest reliability. To determine agreement between RPE and 1RM, participants completed knee extension exercises at various percentages of their 1RM (10% to 130% of predicted 1RM) and rated the perceived difficulty of each exercise on a 0-to-10 RPE scale. Percent agreement was calculated between the 1RM and RPE at each resistance interval.

The intraclass correlation coefficient indicated excellent test-retest reliability of RPE for quadriceps resistance exercises (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.895; 95% confidence interval: 0.866, 0.918). Overall percent agreement between RPE and 1RM was 60%, but agreement was poor within the ranges that would typically be used for training (50% 1RM for muscle endurance, 70% 1RM and greater for strength).

Test-retest reliability of perceived exertion during quadriceps resistance exercise was excellent. However, agreement between the RPE and 1RM was poor, especially in common training zones for knee extensor strengthening.


Using your phone as a digital doctor means you’re handing your data to tech companies

Wired UK from August 26, 2016

As phones transform medicine, we need to be aware of the implications that can arise from digitising our health data.


Inside Fitbit’s Quest to Make Fitness Trackers Invisible | WIRED

WIRED, Gear from August 29, 2016

… The world is changing: people have gotten used to the idea of tech in their pockets, and even on their body. Everything is connected, battery-powered, “smart.” Which means technology that looks like technology isn’t good enough anymore—it has to slot neatly into our own personal styles. So Fitbit, which has spent the last nine years becoming synonymous with step tracking and sleep counting, is looking beyond the insomniacs, triathletes, and quantified-self nuts. It’s trying to work out how to get everyone on the planet to wear one of its trackers. These new devices, particularly the Flex 2, are the beginning of a new breed of Fitbit: Fitbits that don’t look like Fitbits at all.


Emerging Technologies

Sports Health from September 01, 2016

It is difficult to believe how much musculoskeletal medicine has improved over the past 30 years. In the sports medicine world, the arthroscope has been one of the instruments that has revolutionized orthopaedic care of the synovial joints, especially the knee, shoulder, and recently, the hip. These developments are far beyond what orthopaedic entrepreneurs of the 1970s and 1980s could imagine. Many orthopaedic residents today have not performed arthrotomies on many of these joints, which were the standard of care to treat even the simplest of joint disorders not long ago. I am thankful that I witnessed the transition from open joint surgery to endoscopic approaches as the arthroscope made its way from the hands of a few gifted orthopaedic surgeons to academic medical centers. Interestingly, many respected orthopaedic educators of the past did not welcome this transition to arthroscopy, which slowed its acceptance in academia.


Jabra Elite Sport Wireless Headbuds with Heart Rate Monitoring, Activity Tracking

Medgadget from September 01, 2016

Jabra, the big name in headphones and headsets, is releasing a pair of wireless earbuds that continuously measure the user’s heart rate. Designed for athletes, the Jabra Elite Sport are essentially an advanced activity tracker, earbuds, and a Bluetooth communication device all in one.

The heart rate tracking technology is called PerformTek, and was developed by Valencell, a company out of Raleigh, North Carolina. It uses an optical emitter and detector to notice tiny changes in the reflected light as blood moves through the capillaries of the ear.

Having a built-in tri-axis accelerometer, the device can even count your push-ups and sit-ups and the accompanying Jabra Sport Life app can act like a coach that talks to you through exercise routines.


Three Grand Challenges for Brain Science That Can Be Solved in 10 Years

MIT Technology Review, arXiv from August 31, 2016

One of the great scientific challenges is to understand the human brain. Research teams around the world are gathering data at breakneck speed on everything from the brain’s connectome and the way it computes to the nature of brain disease and how it can be better diagnosed and treated.

And yet bringing together this work in a way that produces achievable goals is still a problem. So later this month the international brain science community will sit down in New York to work out how to coordinate its work on important common goals.

But exactly what these goals should be, nobody knows. So an important outstanding question is: what grand challenges should brain scientists focus on?


Wait, an Edible Battery? Not So Hard to Swallow

KQED Future of You from September 01, 2016

“I’m not comfortable eating a watch battery.”

That’s how researcher Christopher Bettinger describes one of the biggest obstacles for sending tiny medical robots into the human body for diagnosing and treating diseases.

These devices run on batteries (like those in watches) and they are usually made of toxic materials such as lithium.

This month, Bettinger, based at Carnegie Mellon University, presented his group’s work on creating edible, nontoxic batteries at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.


Psychological factors are important to return to pre-injury sport activity after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: expect and motivate to satisfy | SpringerLink

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy from August 25, 2016


To describe individuals’ expectations, motivation, and satisfaction before, during, and after rehabilitation for ACL reconstruction and to explore how these factors were associated with return to pre-injury sport activity at 1-year follow-up.

Sixty-five individuals (34 males), median age 22 (15–45) years, scheduled for ACL reconstruction participated. Participants completed the International Knee Documentation Committee Subjective Knee Form (IKDC-SKF) and questions about expectations, satisfaction, and motivation pre-operatively and at 16 and 52 weeks after surgery.

Prior to surgery, 86 % of participants stated that their goal was to return to their pre-injury sport activity. Those who had returned to their pre-injury sport activity at 52 weeks were more motivated during rehabilitation to return to their pre-injury activity level, more satisfied with their activity level and knee function at 52 weeks, and scored significantly higher on the IKDC-SKF [median 92.0 (range 66.7–100.0)] at 52 weeks, compared to those who had not returned [median 77.6 (range 50.6–97.7)].

Prior to ACL reconstruction, most participants expected to return to their pre-injury activity level. Higher motivation during rehabilitation was associated with returning to the pre-injury sport activity. The participants who had returned to their pre-injury sport activity were more satisfied with their activity level and knee function 1 year after the ACL reconstruction. Facilitating motivation might be important to support individuals in achieving their participation goals after ACL reconstruction.


Identification of types of landings after blocking in volleyball associated with risk of ACL injury

European Journal of Sport Science from August 22, 2016

Landing with a low knee flexion angle after volleyball block jumps may be associated with an increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The aim of the present study was to identify the types of volleyball landings after blocks where the knee flexion angle is found to be under a critical knee flexion angle value of 30° at the instant of the first peak of the ground reaction force (GRF). Synchronized kinematic and kinetic data were collected for each trial. T-tests were used to determine if each knee flexion angle at the instant of the peak GRF was significantly different from the critical value of 30°. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare knee flexion angle, time to first peak and the magnitude of the first peak of the resultant GRF and knee stiffness. Significantly lower knee flexion angles were found in the “go” landing (p?=?.01, ES?=?0.6) and the “reverse” landing (p?=?.02, ES?=?0.6) only. The results for knee flexion angle and GRF parameters indicated a significant difference between a “reverse” and “go” and other types of landings, except the “side stick” landing for GRF. The “reverse” and “go” landings may present a risk for ACL injury due to the single-leg landing of these activities that have an associated mediolateral movement.


Zika Versus Miami, Sports Edition – Vocativ

Vocativ, Joe Lemire from August 26, 2016

The NFL’s Miami Dolphins are set to debut the $500-million renovations of newly-named Hard Rock Stadium in their first home preseason game on Thursday. The organization is also working proactively to make sure the threat of Zika virus doesn’t mar the occasion.

The stadium is some 10-to-15 miles from areas with confirmed cases of Zika, so the organization has been using pesticide pellets to eliminate mosquito larvae in standing water and backpack foggers in high-risk areas, timing those treatments shortly before games, according to reports from the Associated Press and Miami Herald. The University of Miami football team shares the stadium and plays its first home game on Sept. 3.

Baseball’s Miami Marlins are a scant two miles from a Zika zone, but the ballclub has intensified spraying around Marlins Park “in an abundance of caution,” team president David Samson told the AP, even though home games are typically played indoors under a retractable roof that stays closed for most of the hot, humid summer. The roof has only been open for seven of Miami’s 62 home games so far this season and not since May 11.


Playing with sports concussion doubles recovery time: Study

Associated Press from August 29, 2016

Continuing to play despite a concussion doubles recovery time for teen athletes and leads to worse short-term mental function than in those immediately removed from action, a study found.

It’s billed as the first to compare recovery outcomes for athletes removed from a game or practice compared with those who aren’t. The study was small, involving 69 teens treated at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center concussion clinic, but the results bolster evidence supporting the growing number of return-to-play laws and policies nationwide

The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.


Student-athletes start new year with concussion testing, Columbus OH from August 24, 2016

Thousands of high school football players will hit the field this Friday and while those athletes may have winning on their mind, athletic professionals are thinking about their safety.

Athletic trainers and sports medicine doctors are taking steps to prevent serious head traumas even before head-to-head contact ever happens.

“Baseline testing gives us a sense before any practice happens, before any impact occurs. It’s a neuropsychological test,” said Dr. John Hedge, with Ohio Health Sports Medicine.


Michael Carroll — ResearchStack: Building a Cross-Platform Mobile Research Study in 30 Minutes!

YouTube, MD2K Center from August 30, 2016

ResearchKit (Apple) and ResearchStack (Android) are open source frameworks for researchers to inform and consent patients, and to collect personal health data from participants in trials. This presentation will cover the basics about these platforms: how they work, why they matter to researchers and app developers, and how you — yes, you — can build your own prototype study on both Apple and Android without any background in programming.


Using Caffeine as a Performance Enhancer

Canadian Science Publishing from August 05, 2016

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the use of caffeine as a performance enhancer by professional athletes. With the 2016 summer Olympics underway, we’re delving into the use of caffeine as a (legal) performance enhancer by professional and amateur athletes alike. We know that the rhetoric about caffeine consumption is incredibly inconsistent and confusing – to dispel some caffeine-related myths and talk more about how and when caffeine should be consumed as part of a healthy diet, we chatted with Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Terry Graham.


When It Comes To Food, “Generally Recognized As Safe” May Not Mean What It Sounds Like

Consumerist from August 24, 2016

Here in the U.S., we have food safety regulations — a lot of them. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for making sure foods (and a bunch of other stuff) adhere to some basic health and safety rules to reduce the likelihood these products will hit store shelves and make a million people sick. So far, so good… but there’s a major food safety system that the FDA uses that, it turns out, is neither standard nor safe — despite its name.

So, what’s this standard?

Generally Recognized As Safe, or GRAS.


These Athletes Add Cannabis To Their Workout Regimen

Forbes, Debra Borchardt from August 31, 2016

… Jim McAlpine is one of the earliest supporters that made the connection between cannabis and fitness. He became a convert after using marijuana as a way to lose weight, a big contrast to the image of a stoner gorging on snack foods to satisfy the munchies. McAlpine established the 420 Games, a competition among athletes that use cannabis. “I wanted to destigmatize the people that used marijuana. I wanted to teach people the healthy and optimal way to take in cannabis,” he said. He advises taking in cannabis by either a vaporizer or an edible as opposed to smoking flower.

McAlpine has joined with former NFL football player Ricky Williams in creating a gym called Power Plant Fitness. “We’ll do a cannabis performance assessment for our clients by starting with a baseline workout. In a calculated way, we’ll determine the best protocol,” said McAlpine. The smoking area will be separate.


Michigan State linebacker Chris Frey swaps pizza for playing time

Detroit Free Press from September 01, 2016

Chris Frey got a taste of being a starter last fall.

Now the Michigan State junior linebacker has given up a taste of one his favorite foods, saying good-bye to Cottage Inn’s sausage and pepperoni pizzas, to ensure he gets another shot at starting this season.


Organic Gatorade: It’s Still Loaded With Sugar, Folks

NPR, The Salt blog from September 01, 2016

… is this new line of organic Gatorade really any better for you?

I put the question to Haemi Choi, a sports medicine doctor at Loyola University Medical Center.

She says some consumers like to see artificial colors and flavors removed from products. “It’s more natural,” Choi says. “But I don’t think it’s healthier per se. It’s pretty similar,” she says.


Fundamental structures of dynamic social networks

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Vedran Sekara, Arkadiusz Stopczynski and Sune Lehmann from August 23, 2016

We study the dynamic network of real world person-to-person interactions between approximately 1,000 individuals with 5-min resolution across several months. There is currently no coherent theoretical framework for summarizing the tens of thousands of interactions per day in this complex network, but here we show that at the right temporal resolution, social groups can be identified directly. We outline and validate a framework that enables us to study the statistical properties of individual social events as well as series of meetings across weeks and months. Representing the dynamic network as sequences of such meetings reduces the complexity of the system dramatically. We illustrate the usefulness of the framework by investigating the predictability of human social activity.


Using NHL Passing Data To Uncover Playing Styles

Today's Slapshot, Sean Tierney from August 24, 2016

Recently, I’ve focused on exploring NHL passing data compiled by Ryan Stimson and the volunteers involved in the passing project. I spoke about the value of shot assists specifically and took a closer look at some exceptionally good (and exceptionally bad) passers, along with offering some thoughts on using the data to test hypotheses when watching live action.

Here, I’ll shift focus and propose a simple system for classifying playing “styles” for skaters based on their total contribution to their team’s offense.


Dodgers Injuries: Here’s Why LA has so Many Hurt Players

NBC Southern California from August 05, 2016

… The answer may lie in the new and improved front office orchestrated by President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. Under Friedman—who was hired before the 2015 season—the Dodgers are one of just three teams to implement a new system known as “The Profiler” which uses data to “anticipate injuries or downturns in performances.” … Friedman has used the new Profiler system to help predict future injuries as well as dips in the performance of his players. His philosophy is simple: if your performance on the field is in decline, than a move to the disabled list should be in the works.


Forms of interdisciplinarity in four sport science research centres in Europe

European Journal of Sport Science from August 24, 2016

Interdisciplinarity is often presented as a significant element of sport science. We present here the results of an investigation conducted in four European Sport Science Research Centres applying interdisciplinarity. Four main dimensions, that we have called “forms”, have been investigated. The “scientific”, “organisational”, “academic” and “societal” forms cover a wide range of activities run by these Centres. We have compared their situations using indicators. Globally they present quite similar combinations of forms, with dominant roles in the construction of interdisciplinarity played by the organisational and societal forms. The scientific form is never quite supported by an epistemological setting and the academic form, mostly characterised by the position of the university, plays an influential role when it is hostile to that kind of research. Following Klein classification, all of them remain at a multidisciplinary stage, one of them exploring interdisciplinary tracks in some research projects. The development of a common culture and a curiosity regarding disciplines other than its own is a key factor for a sustainable situation, as is the capacity to secure long-term financial resources, often linked to a high academic recognition for the director(s).


The Indians Are Reshaping How We Think About Relievers

The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh from September 01, 2016

… [Terry] Francona, who managed Miller in Boston in 2011, says the Indians would have wanted [Andrew] Miller even if he insisted on being a no-show before the ninth, but knowing he “wasn’t tied into any inning” was a plus. “I’ve always liked the idea of having a guy that you can kind of leverage,” Francona says. “When we got Miller, that was one of the most enticing things about it, is not only are you getting a really good pitcher, but you’re getting a guy that is willing to pitch any inning, which in my opinion makes him more valuable.”

The stats support Francona’s statement. Thanks to his near-flawless work in tight games, Miller ranked fourth among relievers with a 1.21 Win Probability Added in August. Chapman, despite carrying virtually the same surface stats, fell all the way to 93rd, with a WPA of only 0.15. That’s partly because Chapman’s worst outing was particularly ill-timed: His WPA suffered a huge hit on August 19, when he entered a one-run game that the Cubs were 75 percent likely to win and coughed up two runs to take a blown-save loss. (Miller’s few mistakes didn’t cost Cleveland a victory.) But it’s also because Chapman generally enjoyed more comfortable leads. Of Chapman’s 11 converted saves last month, only one was a one-run game when he faced his first batter; the Cubs’ average margin of victory in those games was 2.36 runs. That doesn’t mean that Chapman’s contributions were worthless, but it does discount them somewhat from a win-probability perspective.


How the Big Data Explosion Has Changed Decision Making

Harvard Business Review, Michael Schrage from August 25, 2016

… The digitally networked enterprise — whether Slacked, Chattered, Skyped, Google Doc-ed — sharply exacerbates tensions and pain points: More stakeholders can instantly access, and share, actionable information. Technology facilitates greater transparency and visibility throughout enterprise ecosystems. Real-time situational awareness dramatically increases. But the managerial and operational ability to act on that data-driven information may not.

By far the best and most useful approach for managing those tensions is Michael Jensen’s path-breaking work in decision rights a quarter-century ago. Simply put, decision rights clarify authority and accountability for decisions and decision making. Decision rights are about how organizations “decide how to decide” who is empowered to make decisions. Think of it as a governance model for enterprise decision.


On the Relationship Between Attacking Third Passes and Success in the English Premier League

The Sport Journal, Bret Myers from September 01, 2016

This research examined how changes in attacking third pass behavior can impact a team’s ability to maintain leads and secure wins based on data collected from the 2011-2012 English Premier League Season. A team’s attacking third behavior is measured by the number of attacking third passes completed per minute. The results of this paper suggest that while teams tend to complete less passes in the final third when they are ahead in a match vs. being behind, there is evidence to suggest that a drop in attacking third pass behavior when ahead in a match will reduce the likelihood of maintaining a lead and securing three points.


Blog 7: Rio 2016 and the Marginal Gains from Data Analytics – Winning With Analytics

Dr. Bill Gerrard, Winning With Analytics from August 30, 2016

  • Team GB’s success at Rio 2016 continues the strong upward trend in “fundamental performance” evident since Atlanta 1996.
  • The upward trend in Olympic performance has resulted from a “perfect storm” of a number of mutually-reinforcing forces including National Lottery funding, performance-related resource allocation, the central focus on Olympic success, and the widespread adoption of a marginal-gains philosophy.
  • Data analytics has been one component of the marginal-gains philosophy in a number of Olympic sports.
  • A marginal-gains philosophy, specifically the use of data analytics, is always more likely in resource-constrained teams in need of a “David strategy” in order to compete effectively with resource-richer rivals.

    US Open Men’s First Round Clutch Preview ·

    Stephanie Kovalchik, Stats On the T blog from August 29, 2016

    The first round of the main draw of the 2016 US Open begins today. If you are like me you have spent a good part of the weekend digesting the draw and making predictions about which matches could be the most interesting to come out of Flushing Meadows. In this post, I want to highlight a few of the matches that stood out to me. In doing so, I also want to introduce a new way of looking at recent form with something I call clutch averaging.

    When mulling over a draw, it is typical to look back at the stats from recent matches and head-to-heads. The stats that are most commonly reported are simple averages of serve and return events. These do a good job of telling us about a player’s overall form. But they fail to tell us how a player has been handling pressure, which is often the more critical question to winning. This is where “clutch averaging” comes in.


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