Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 27, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 27, 2017


Seager expects more out of his second full season

Associated Press from

Corey Seager, the unanimous pick for NL Rookie of the Year in 2016, begins his second season as the Dodgers’ shortstop confronted by one daunting question.

What can he do for an encore?

There is no simple answer. Perhaps, there’s no answer at all. Great rookie seasons are often followed by the so-called sophomore slump. But Seager isn’t listening to the clamor for an encore, or suggestions that he will struggle in 2017.

“He eliminates the noise,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who sees a young player not easily distracted from the immediate task.


Steph Curry’s Secrets to Success: Brain Training, Float Tanks and Strobe Goggles

Bleacher Report, Brandon Sneed from

… Curry began working out with [Brandan] Payne in 2011 during the NBA lockout, driving an hour south of his home in Charlotte to Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Payne’s bland-looking warehouse, home to his private coaching business, Accelerate Basketball. It was here that Steph Curry started to become STEPH CURRY. Now Curry flies Payne to Oakland all the time so they can work out; Payne spends weeks if not months on the road with him. And all of this is because, in addition to his savvy strength training and physical conditioning, Payne is one of pro basketball’s foremost experts in what he calls “neurocognitive efficiency.”

Payne and Curry are a good fit because, the way Payne puts it, “So much of it comes down to the intelligence level of the player. You have to have players who can look past the drill, who can understand the multiple layers of benefit that each drill gives them. And Steph is that kind of guy.”

Curry is even better than Payne imagined, because he is uniquely intelligent, curious and unafraid to (a) ask questions, and (b) try new things.


EXOS workouts designed for specific drills of NFL combine

USA Today Sports, AP from

UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes barrels toward the orange cone, plants his left foot outside it to make a cut, then slides his right foot to the inside before finishing the drill.

Two of his workout partners notice the gaffe and chuckle, though Vanderdoes doesn’t seem to notice, his focus more on trying to catch his breath.

Vanderdoes takes his second turn on the agility course and again slips his right foot inside instead of planting it around the orange marker. This time everyone notices, the laughing and trash talking starting even before the 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive lineman crosses the finish line.

“That’s what you call athletic ability right there, fellas,” Vanderdoes says in his own defense.


New study reveals how high-mileage running makes muscles and tendons more efficient

The Conversation, Jasper Verheul, Adam Clansey, Mark Lake from

… The medical community is still largely in the dark on how our bodies react to long-distance running, but new research shows that, for regular runners, the beneficial adaptations are substantial. Through adaptations that happen gradually as you run further and more often the tendons of the legs can be used more efficiently in propelling you forward, meaning your muscles don’t need to work as hard.

And that’s not all. The benefits of these changes in muscle-tendon behaviour become more important at higher speeds. Because we need more energy to propel us forward at higher speeds, the advantage of efficient tendons becomes even greater the faster you go.


The NFL Combine: Pro football’s intrusive, and mandatory, job interview

The Washington Post, Rick Maese from

A dozen years ago, when Jeff Foster first came to National Football Scouting, the company that runs the NFL combine, he surveyed all 32 teams. The sport’s biggest job fair has four components — an on-field workout, medical testing, player interviews and psychological testing — and Foster wanted to know what teams valued the most.

“All 32 teams said medical was No. 1,” Foster explained recently. “All 32 teams said interviews were No. 2.”

Over the past decade, the combine, which begins Tuesday, has exploded into one of the NFL’s premier events, with activities for football-starved fans on-site and nearly round-the-clock television coverage for everyone else. But the part of the event that matters most to NFL personnel executives takes place far from any fan’s line of sight.


A Hockey Player, Once Shattered, Returns to the Ice

The New York Times, Pat Borzi from

Watching Lisa Marvin practice with the University of North Dakota women’s hockey team offered no hint of the painful ordeal she had endured. She skated fluidly, her long blond pony tail dangling beneath her No. 55 helmet. Off the ice, Marvin walked to a bench near the dressing room without a limp and took a seat.

Then Marvin, her soft voice barely audible above the chatter of the preteen boys waiting to take the ice, told the remarkable story of her return to the Fighting Hawks 22 months after being struck by a car along the side of a road in Grand Forks, N.D.

She spoke without emotion. Marvin has never been much of a crier, according to her mother, Kallie, who fed, dressed and bathed her during the three months she spent in a wheelchair. But Marvin’s devastating injuries tested both her pain tolerance and her resolve.


Building a Network

The Hardball Times, Rachel Heacock from

The college baseball season can easily be considered grueling. Student athletes are forced to meet the demands of several different people and institutions, balancing academic, athletic, and social calendars contemporaneously. As if the grind of the spring is not enough, most baseball players who are serious about the sport continue playing past the last game of the NCAA season and into the summer.

The decision to play in a college summer league is popular among student athletes, often facilitated by their coaches. The summer season provides opportunity for a ballplayer to grow and develop skills in the hands of a different coach, though likely a coach endorsed and trusted by his college coach. Recently, summer ball has transitioned from a dominantly developmental asset to more of a showcase to professional scouts.

This extended playing time allows very limited time for rest and recovery from the college season, spending time with family and to be a normal college student. Despite these concerns, summer ball has proven to be an excellent way to gain exposure, especially if one attends a school unlikely to be visited by scouts. A smattering of different people can be found in attendance at summer games – from host families, to tourists, to children imagining themselves on that very field one day – but for players hoping to get noticed, the most important people in the audience are the ones with the radar guns.


How does Iowa football turn 2-star recruits into NFL prospects? Through grit, science and a whole lot more

Land of 10, Scott Dochterman from

Chris Doyle’s office and conference room overlooks a 23,000-square foot strength-and-conditioning center that forms the foundation of Iowa football.

One glance around his office tells you how Iowa has built itself as a hard-edged Big Ten contender. Next to a door is an enlarged Sports Illustrated cover of former Iowa defensive tackle and current Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels. NFL action photos of former Iowa players, such as Aaron Kampman, Dallas Clark and Micah Hyde, sit high on the walls.

Above his desk hangs a grouping of photos that tells you everything you need to know about his program. Nearly a decade ago in the old practice “Bubble,” Riley Reiff and Bryan Bulaga were photographed running sprints against one another. Reiff was a 240-pound defensive end recruit. Bulaga wasn’t much heavier as a high school tight end transitioning to offensive line. Both bulked up to 300 pounds, switched to tackle and garnered All-American honors. Both became first-round draft picks. Both have a combined 145 career starts for a pair of NFC North Division teams.


Vanaf vandaag welkom in het Nederlands profvoetbal: ‘laptoptrainers’

Google Translate, Decorrespondent, Michiel de Hoog from

You read not so often, so hold on tight: the KNVB, the past few years, so often criticized and ridiculed, has done something right.

The Football Association has radically reformed the training of professional football. The union offers more space for so-called laptop trainers – relatively young trainers that no significant career had as a professional player.

When admitting to the latest edition of the course – open: today – will experience as a professional player less important than before.


Alberto Salazar used banned drugs to boost athlete performance, SI Wire from

A report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency has concluded that renowned track and field coach Alberto Salazar used banned drugs to boost athletes’ performance, according to a new report by The Sunday Times.

Documents seen by the Sunday Times detail that double Olympic champion Mo Farah and other athletes were given infusions of a research supplement based on the chemical L-carnitine, which is an amino acid produced naturally in the body and can also be prescribed by a doctor as a supplement for heart and muscle disorders.


Dietary prebiotics improve sleep, buffer stress

University of Colorado Boulder, CU Boulder Today from

In recent years, reams of research papers have shed light on the health benefits of probiotics, the “good bacteria” found in fermented foods and dietary supplements. Now a first-of-its kind study by University of Colorado Boulder scientists suggests that lesser-known gut-health promoters known as prebiotics – which serve as food for good bacteria inside the gut – can also have an impact, improving sleep and buffering the physiological impacts of stress.

“We found that dietary prebiotics can improve non-REM sleep, as well as REM sleep after a stressful event,” said Robert Thompson, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology and first author of the new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.


Mel Kiper on the NFL Draft, Then and Now

The MMQB, Kalyn Kahler from

KAHLER: You’ve been in this business since 1978. How many combines have you covered, and how has it changed in those years?

KIPER: I’ve never been to the combine. You can’t watch anything, it’s a waste. My time is better spent watching tape of players than wasting time at the combine where you can’t get in to see the guys. I can’t get into the event, none of us can get into the event, it is only for the select NFL people. All you can do is stand outside and wait for the kids to come out. That’s a waste of time for me. You get the results from it, which is all you need. We all can get the results, we are able to watch it on TV now. Back in the day, you didn’t have a chance to see it, you just got the results and they are all measurables, so I don’t need to see guys catching the football, I’ve watched them catch a football their whole career. I don’t need to see all the drills in that environment, I don’t need to see quarterbacks throwing to receivers they have never thrown to before, that tells me nothing. There are a lot of things with the combine that really are misleading when you watch kids their whole career.


Ben Simmons injury marks the 5th straight year a key 76ers player has missed an entire season – SBNation.comclockmenumore-arrow

SB Nation, Mike Prada from

We now know that Ben Simmons will miss his entire rookie season with a foot injury. We know the 76ers have experienced season-ending injuries to key players in the past.

But this is still an incredible stat.

Each injury had its own unique circumstances, but this is all true.


View from Couch: Hark! The MLS roster revolution has already arrived, Ben Couch from

… Major League Soccer might have just had a revolution. With a nod to Kevin Kinkead’s primary legwork, as of Thursday, 81 players had signed during the Primary Transfer Window, all from international leagues. The average age? 25.73. And 58 percent come with an international cap.


Red Sox analytics guru Zack Scott keeping the team up to speed

Boston Herald, Evan Drellich from

… Now the Red Sox vice president of research and development, Scott’s job is to bring the organization up to speed in an area it once appeared to lead but slipped.

Transitioning the team to a new-age database called Beacon and replacing the old one, the famous Carmine, is the tip of the iceberg.

Scott, 39, has help worthy of King Kong and Godzilla, literally.


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