Applied Sports Science newsletter – April 29, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for April 29, 2017


John Ross’ knees should make NFL teams slow down

The San Diego Union-Tribune, ProFootballDoc from

… How long Ross can be that fast is what interested teams have to determine.

And there is plenty of interest in the 5-foot-11 receiver who had 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016. He is a projected first-round talent and reportedly visited the Titans, Redskins, Bengals, Eagles and Ravens, likely among others.

But those teams undoubtedly took a pause to balance the reality of his health history with his prodigious speed and talent.


At 17, ‘the Tiger Woods of Pole Vaulting’ Soars Ahead of His Time

The New York Times, Jere Longman from

A pole-vaulting runway extends about 125 feet from the side of the Duplantis family’s Acadian-style home, under a gate and into the backyard, where it ends at a foam landing pit, floodlit by a light made for an oil rig.

It was, until recently, the training site for the family’s youngest son, Armand. On April 1, at the Texas Relays, he vaulted 19 feet 4 1/4 inches, a national high school record, a world junior record and the highest jump at any level of international competition so far in this outdoor season. A vault of that height at the Rio Olympics last summer would have won a bronze medal.

Armand Duplantis — known as Mondo — is the only high school vaulter to have cleared 19 feet, and he has already done it twice this year. He is considered a medal candidate at the world track and field championships in August in London. This is extraordinary, given that Duplantis is only 17, a junior at Lafayette High School who competes in an event where athletes tend to reach their prime in their late 20s.


The old guys are coming up big so far in these playoffs

Associated Press, Tim Reynolds from

So-called old guys like them are delivering all across these playoffs thus far. And many of those elder statesmen will be back at work Tuesday as the Western Conference playoffs continue with a trio of Game 5s — Houston will be home with a chance to eliminate Oklahoma City, Memphis goes back to San Antonio and Utah visits the Los Angeles Clippers.

Among those expected to be in action: 40-year-old Vince Carter, 39-year-olds Manu Ginobili and Paul Pierce, 37-year-old Jamal Crawford, 36-year-old Pau Gasol, 35-year-olds like Johnson, Zach Randolph and Boris Diaw, and 34-year-olds in Tony Parker and Nene.


Bucks, a Youthful Bunch, Are Facing a Bright Future

The New York Times, Scott Cacciola from

The Milwaukee Bucks are one loss away from elimination. The N.B.A. playoffs do not slow down for any team, not even for one as precocious as the Bucks. It could all come to an end for them against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. But even if the Bucks lose, it will still feel as if they are just getting started.

Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are young, long and talented. They emerged as a threat in the Eastern Conference despite the absence of Jabari Parker, who had another season derailed by a knee operation. Thon Maker, months removed from high school, is starting at center. And Malcolm Brogdon, a second-round pick in last year’s draft, is one of the best young point guards in the league.


The NBA Is Finally Seeing The Real John Wall, Lee Jenkins from

It’s funny what finally being healthy—and having a coach who understands you—can do for a guy. John Wall, the NBA’s fastest player, has found another gear this season.


Why Tina Muir retired from running, at the peak of her career

espnW, Amanda Loudin from

… a couple weeks ago, at the age of 28, Muir shocked the running world with her retirement announcement.

At the core of her decision, she says, is the fact that she has spent the last nine years of her 14-year running career suffering from amenorrhea, or lack of menstruation. And Muir is hoping to become pregnant in the near future.

Two years ago, Muir married her husband, Steve, who is 37, and ever since she’s dealt with nagging concerns that she might miss her window of opportunity with fertility. “I knew the longer we waited, the older he would be when we had kids and the greater chance something could go wrong on my end,” she says. “If I continued to put it off, before I knew it I’d be 40 with many running accomplishments, but unable to have a baby.”


A new approach in assessing core muscle endurance using ratings of perceived exertion.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

This study sought to develop regression models to estimate maximal endurance time by using data from four core muscle endurance tests. Eighty healthy university students (age: 22.7 +/- 1.9 yr) performed the plank, right side-bridge, left side-bridge, and back extension tests in a random order. Participants were instructed to hold each static position for a maximal endurance time, while maintaining proper form, and then rest for 5 min between tests. A test administrator recorded participants’ ratings of perceived exertion (RPE; modified 10-point scale) every 5 s. Based on regression analysis, the elapsed time to reach an RPE of 8 (RPE8) exhibited statistical significance (p < .0001) and the highest accuracy as compared with lower RPE values. The following univariate regression models were generated to estimate maximal endurance time across the four tests: plank (r = .94; SEE = 17.6 s; n = 77) = 23.9 + [1.110 * RPE8)]; right side-bridge (r = .92; SEE = 11.4 s; n = 80) = 18.5 + [1.022 * RPE8)]; left side-bridge (r = .93; SEE = 10.8 s; n = 80) = 16.8 + [1.062 * RPE8)]; and back extension (r = .93; SEE = 14.2 s; n = 79) = 21.5 + [1.027 * RPE8)]. These results suggest that submaximal protocols based on elapsed time to reach RPE8 provide strength and conditioning professionals relatively accurate univariate regression equation estimates of maximal core muscle endurance time and offer a viable submaximal alternative to maximal capacity testing when time-efficiency, participant safety, or certain educational objectives may be a priority.


Differences in game reading between selected and non-selected youth soccer players

Journal of Sports Sciences from

Applying an established theory of cognitive development―Skill Theory―the current study compares the game-reading skills of youth players selected for a soccer school of a professional soccer club (n = 49) and their non-selected peers (n = 38). Participants described the actions taking place in videos of soccer game plays, and their verbalisations were coded using Skill Theory. Compared to the non-selected players, the selected players generally demonstrated higher levels of complexity in their game-reading, and structured the information of game elements―primarily the player, teammate and field―at higher complexity levels. These results demonstrate how Skill Theory can be used to assess, and distinguish game-reading of youth players with different expertise, a skill important for soccer, but also for other sports.


Why athletes should treat the brain like a muscle

The Washington Post, Amanda Loudin from

After back surgery three years ago, 31-year-old environmental scientist Danielle Cemprola had become a frustrated runner, suffering from a sense that she might never return to her former level of performance. Having run 44 marathons pre-surgery and six after, she had all but given up on eking anything more from the physical side of training. That’s when she decided to work on her mental game, something she says has made all the difference as she preps for an upcoming marathon.

While elite athletes have long honed their mental skills, Cemprola, who lives in Greenville, S.C., is joining a growing number of amateurs delving into the power of the mind. These athletes are working on their confidence, motivation and the mind-body connection to overcome obstacles and reach new heights. “Finding the limit of your potential as an athlete involves proper mental training along with the physical,” says Joanna Zeiger, former Olympic triathlete and author of a book on mental toughness called “The Champion Mindset.”

Some of this increased focus on mental training stems from the fact that some amateur runners are approaching a finish line of sorts. “As athletes, we’re at the point of marginal returns from physiological sports enhancement,” says Brad Stulberg, journalist, columnist and co-author of the upcoming book “Peak Performance.” “So the next legal [non-doping] frontier is the mind.”


How the Ticking Clock Kills

Stanford Graduate School of Business from

… [Jeffrey] Pfeffer’s most recent research, coauthored with Dana R. Carney from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates the physiological consequences of the economic evaluation of time. Their study concludes that people who are keenly aware of the economic value of their time — people who think of time as money — generally are more psychologically stressed and exhibit higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol that do people for whom the economic value of time is less salient.


COS is partnering with @SportRxiv to offer a preprint service for the sport, exercise, and rehab sciences.

Twitter, Brian Nosek from


Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones

The New York Times, Jane E. Brody from

… I lived for half a century with a man who suffered from periodic bouts of depression, so I understand how challenging negativism can be. I wish I had known years ago about the work Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, has done on fostering positive emotions, in particular her theory that accumulating “micro-moments of positivity,” like my daily interaction with children, can, over time, result in greater overall well-being.

The research that Dr. Fredrickson and others have done demonstrates that the extent to which we can generate positive emotions from even everyday activities can determine who flourishes and who doesn’t. More than a sudden bonanza of good fortune, repeated brief moments of positive feelings can provide a buffer against stress and depression and foster both physical and mental health, their studies show.


A review of player monitoring approaches in basketball: Current trends and future directions. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

Effective monitoring of players in team-sports such as basketball requires an understanding of the external demands and internal responses as they relate to training phases and competition. Monitoring of external demands and internal responses allows coaching staff to determine the dose-response associated with the imposed training load, and subsequently, if players are adequately prepared for competition. This review discusses measures reported in the literature for monitoring the external demands and internal responses of basketball players during training and competition. The external demands of training and competition were primarily monitored utilizing time-motion analysis (TMA), with limited use of micro-technology being reported. Internal responses during training were typically measured using hematological markers, heart rate (HR), various training load (TL) models, and perceptual responses such as rating of perceived exertion (RPE). HR was the most commonly reported indicator of internal responses during competition with limited reporting of hematological markers or RPE. These findings show a large discrepancy between the reporting of external and internal measures and training and competition demands. Micro-sensors however, may be a practical and convenient method of player monitoring in basketball to overcome the limitations associated with current approaches, while allowing for external demands and internal responses to be recorded simultaneously. The tri-axial accelerometers of micro-sensors appear well-suited for basketball and warrant validation to definitively determine their place in the monitoring of basketball players. Coaching staff should make use of this technology by tracking individual player responses across the annual plan and utilizing real-time monitoring to minimize factors such as fatigue and injury risk.


Speed Development 101: Should Distance Runners Sprint?, Running, Jason Fitzgerald from

… There are three main reasons why runners should incorporate speed development in their training.

First, it improves top-end speed. You’ll be able to sprint faster, thus increasing the range of speed that you’re capable of achieving.

This helps slower paces feel a lot easier. And if you compete in middle distance events like the 800m, mile, or 3,000m then you’ll experience tangible performance improvement.


Relationship between trainers, coaches back under spotlight

USA Today Sports, Gary Mihoces from

Ron Courson, who oversees athletic trainers at the University of Georgia, has a short version of what he sees as the best relationship between those who tend to injured athletes and those who coach them.

“I work with the coaches … but not for the coaches,” says Courson, Georgia’s senior associate athletic director for sports medicine.

That concept – not always followed – is addressed in a recent article co-authored by Courson in the Journal of Athletic Training. Aimed at high schools and colleges, it describes a chain of command designed to assure medical decisions such as when an injured athlete can return to play are made by medical personnel – without pressure from coaches or fear of losing jobs.


Steven Gerrard: ‘There’s a showboating mentality in academies. My teams will be physical’

The Guardian, Andy Hunter from

The former Liverpool captain talks about his new role as coach of the club’s under-18s, why young players should not try to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo and why he turned down the MK Dons job


A lack of knowledge hampers effective injury prevention in volleyball — Health & Safety in Sports

Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports from

… Ozgur’s systematic review showed that musculoskeletal injuries are common among volleyball players, while effective preventive measures remain scarce. Further epidemiological studies should focus on other specific injuries besides knee and ankle injuries, and should also report their prevalence and not only the incidence. Additionally, high-quality studies on the aetiology and prevention of shoulder injuries are lacking and should be a focus of future studies.


A Revolution in Analytical Technology

DataInformed, Thomas H. Davenport from

It’s been 10 years since Jeanne Harris and I published our book, Competing on Analytics, and we’ve just finished updating it for early-fall (2017) re-publication. We realized during this process that there have been a lot of changes in the world of analytics, although some things have remained the same. The timeless issues of analytical leadership, change management, and culture haven’t evolved much in 10 years, and in many cases those remain the toughest problems to address.

But analytical data, technology, and the people who use them have changed a lot. I must confess that I didn’t anticipate how difficult updating the book would be (so please buy it when it comes out to make the effort worthwhile!). I thought that perhaps a few global Replace commands in Microsoft Word would do the trick—changing terabytes to petabytes, for example, and quantitative analysts to data scientists. Although we did make a few such easy changes, there are many others that required more than a simple word substitution.

I won’t go into all of them here, but below is an annotated list of some of the most impactful changes over the past decade to the world of analytical technology.


Denver Broncos Adopt Teamworks to Enhance Operations and Communications

Teamworks from

Teamworks, the industry leader in mobile collaboration and communication software for athletic organizations, is pleased to announce that it will provide its services to the Denver Broncos. As a collaboration software provider to the Broncos, Teamworks will streamline the franchise’s communication, scheduling, travel planning and player information management. The Broncos become the fifth National Football League organization to utilize Teamworks’ technology to modernize internal operations and communication.

“The Denver Broncos fully embrace innovation and technology to help us win both on and off the field,” said Russ Trainor, Vice President of Information Technology for the Denver Broncos. “Implementing Teamworks’ simplified communication method across the organization will help us optimize internal operations while adjusting to ever-changing mobile technology.”

The first NFL team in the AFC West to adopt the platform, the Broncos will take advantage of Teamworks’ many timesaving management solutions. The application will revamp the communication methods, ease file sharing processes, eliminate inefficiencies and allow for more seamless collaboration, resulting in significant time and hard good savings for front office, staff, coaches and players. The teams’ adoption sustains Teamworks’ emergence across professional football, having previously announced relationships with the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. The National Football League Players Association also uses Teamworks to communicate and share information with every active NFL player.


Why Wrist-Worn HR Devices Aren’t Ready for Prime Time

LinkedIn, Isaiah Kacyvenski from

You know when you go into the hospital, and the nurse puts that thing on your fingertip? That’s the same technology that companies like Apple, Fitbit and Whoop are using to monitor heart rate from the wrist. It’s called pulse oximetry. These devices shine light through the skin and detect how much is reflected back. As blood flows in and out of the area, the amount of reflected light changes – every time there’s a heartbeat, there’s blood flow.

Why this is an issue: Pulse oximetry (AKA optical heart rate monitoring) is a well-validated measurement for in-clinic use on the fingertips of stationary people. Moving the device to the wrist, and changing the environment from a hospital bed to a sports field, introduces some challenges.


Nike News – Meet the Man Behind Breaking2

Nike News from

… of all the records that remain to be broken, why fixate on this one? “The sub-two-hour marathon barrier is one of those rare ones that, if broken, can transform a sport,” says Bodecker. Two other records have redefined running: breaking the four-minute mile in 1954 and the 10-second barrier in 1968. “The sub-two-hour marathon is the last big, once-in-a-generation barrier,” he says. “It will impact the way runners view distance running and human potential forever.”

To do it requires a combination of athletic superiority and a mental edge. “What separates the great from the good is the mental side of the equation,” says Bodecker. That means Nike’s chosen Breaking2 athletes, Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese, will need to have an authentic and potent self-belief that they belong at this level, a confidence that comes from knowing they’ve prepared for this moment and a trust in their ability to run fast enough for long enough to run 26.2 miles in less time than any other human ever has. “If they don’t have this innate ability to focus all their emotion and effort on this, they won’t succeed,” he says.


Nike Ease Challenge Winner Announced

Nike News from

In the end, Brett Drake, an architectural engineer from Cheyenne, Wyoming was honored as the winner of the Nike Ease Challenge.

The winning design combined Brett’s training as an engineer with his passion for Nike footwear and his desire to bring the opportunity of sport to all athletes. “I wanted to create something that didn’t interfere with the aesthetic and performance achievements of Nike’s original design. My goal was to enhance it with an entry and exit system that would be easy for anyone to use. I’m an athlete and know the passion and enjoyment I have gained from sport,” he said. “So, the idea that I could use my passion, problem solving and engineering expertise to enable others to enjoy movement and sport like I do became great inspiration for my idea.”


Pod: Should Athletes Be Wearing Continuous Biometric Monitors?

The Ringer, MLB Show podcast from

The NFL Players Association recently struck a deal with Whoop, a fitness-tracking company whose wristbands monitor athletic training, rest, and recovery. Under the deal, NFL players can opt in to wearing such a device, and will be allowed to sell the data it collects. The devices — called continuous biometric monitors — record data 24/7, taking readings 100 times per second. That kind of access into not just the way athletes train, but the way they relax, has made some uneasy and has already generated controversy at other levels of the sport. Major League Baseball approved the in-game use of Whoop’s devices in March, though on Thursday, Ringer MLB Show hosts Ben Lindbergh and Michael Baumann brought in a football player — offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs — to share his thoughts on the NFLPA’s deal. [audio, 51:31]


Exploring the world of self-tracking: who wants our data and why?

University of Oxford, The Policy and Internet Blog from

Ed.: Over one hundred million wearable sensors were shipped last year to help us gather data about our lives. Is the trend and market for personal health-monitoring devices ever-increasing, or are we seeing saturation of the device market and the things people might conceivably want to (pay to) monitor about themselves?

Gina: By focusing on direct-to-consumer wearables and mobile apps for health and wellness in the US we see a lot of tech developed with very little focus on impact or efficacy. I think to some extent we’ve hit the trough in the ‘hype’ cycle, where the initial excitement over digital self-tracking is giving way to the hard and serious work of figuring out how to make things that improve people’s lives. Recent clinical trial data show that activity trackers, for example, don’t help people to lose weight. What we try to do in the book is to help people figure out what self-tracking to do for them and advocate for people being able to access and control their own data to help them ask — and answer — the questions that they have.

Ed.: A question I was too shy to ask the first time I saw you speak at the OII — how do you put the narrative back into the data? That is, how do you make stories that might mean something to a person, out of the vast piles of strangely meaningful-meaningless numbers that their devices accumulate about them?

Gina: We really emphasise community. It might sound clichéd but it truly helps. When I read some scholars’ critiques of the Quantified Self meetups that happen around the world I wonder if we have actually been to the same meetings. Instead of some kind of technophilia there are people really working to make sense of information about their lives. There’s a lot of love for tech, but there are also people trying to figure out what their numbers mean, are they normal, and how to design their own ‘n of 1’ trials to figure out how to make themselves better, healthier, and happier. Putting narrative back into data really involves sharing results with others and making sense together.


Launching a lab

Medium, MIT MEDIA LAB, Canan Dagdeviren from

… In the summer of 2015, I [Canan Dagdeviren] [[=was at MIT to do my postdoctoral research under the supervision of Professor Bob Langer and I thought it would be a good opportunity to organize a workshop, inviting prominent researchers in materials science and the biomedical fields. That way, I would meet them in person, rather than just reading and citing their papers. So, I co-organized “Energy Efficiency and Harvesting Strategies for Body Sensor Networks” at the IEEE’s 12th Annual International Conference on wearable and implantable body sensor networks on June 9 that year. The venue was on the 6th floor of the MIT Media Lab, and it was my first time at the Lab. Little did I know then that it would lead to the next step in my career.

When I delivered a short talk at the end of that workshop, Joe Paradiso was in the audience. He heads the Media Lab’s Responsive Environments group and during the lunch break he praised my presentation and invited me to give another, more comprehensive talk at the Lab in August. As I was giving that second talk, I realized it was a kind of audition for a job at the Media Lab. A month later, I was offered a tenure-track position there as an assistant professor.


New Linux Open Source Group Focuses on IoT and Edge Computing

SDxCentral, Linda Hardesty from

Today, the Linux Foundation launched yet another open source group — this one relating to the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing. The new group is EdgeX Foundry, and its goal is to standardize industrial IoT edge computing.

According to the Linux Foundation, IoT efforts are fragmented, and they need a common IoT framework. In addition, the sheer quantity of data that will be transmitted from IoT devices is driving adoption of edge computing, where connected devices and sensors transmit data to a local gateway device instead of sending it back to the cloud or a central data center.


American Sports Medicine Institute to host 1st sports medicine conference for sports agents: 5 details

Becker's Orthopedic Review, Adam Schrag from

American Sports Medicine Institute Chairman James Andrews, MD, of Gulf Breeze, Fla.-based Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, announced the Inaugural Sports Medicine Conference for Sports Agents.

Here are five things to know:

1. Sports medicine specialists will teach sports agents about the latest advancements in sports medicine, injury prevention, treatments and surgical procedures at the one-and-a-half-day conference.


ACL Symmetry Comparison – Timing Could Be Everything (Sports Med Res)

Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field, Nicole Cattano from

Take Home Message: If we compare a post-surgical knee to the uninvolved limb it may be ideal to test the uninvolved limb before surgery rather than later.


Understanding The Biomechanics Of Plantar Plate Injuries

Podiatry Today, Kevin Kirby from

Given the common incidence of plantar plate injuries and the complications that can arise from more severe tears, this author offers a comprehensive guide to the biomechanics inherent to the plantar plate as a foundation for effective treatment of related injuries.


The Postgraduate Meal Plan

NCAA, Champion Magazine from

In the months preceding graduation, student-athletes will begin preparations for a different kind of game plan. Major life changes await — new jobs, cities, people, goals — and the bustle of transition can lead soon-to-be grads to overlook another important adjustment. Often, they’ll experience steep drops in physical activity from their playing days — a shift experts say should be reflected in their diet. “Without adjusting their dietary habits, including calories and nutrients, it could lead to some unwanted and sometimes surprising outcomes,” says Lenka Shriver, an associate professor in The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Department of Nutrition.


Variable habitat conditions drive species covariation in the human microbiota

PLOS Computational Biology; Charles K. Fisher et al. from

The human body is inhabited by a vast number of microorganisms comprising the human microbiota. The species composition of the microbiota varies considerably from person-to-person and the relative abundances of some species rise and fall in concert. We introduce a mathematical model where differences in habitat conditions cause most of the variability of the microbiota. A statistical analysis shows that variable habitat conditions are sufficient for explaining the patterns of variation observed across a healthy human population and, as a result, the correlation between the relative abundances of two species reflects how closely related they are rather than how they directly interact with each other.


Do MLB Teams Undervalue Defense — Or Just Value It Differently?

FiveThirtyEight, Rob Arthur from

Absent a helpful general manager opening up his computer system — or letting you hack in, if that’s more your style — it’s tough to know what baseball teams think of different players. But one place GMs leave clues about their preferences is in free agency. Since each team can bid on every available player, and the competition to acquire the most valuable talent is fierce, the free-agent sweepstakes is baseball’s closest answer to an open market; accordingly, the cash that teams deal out tells us how much they’re willing to pay for each area of on-field expertise. And for all the strides made in evaluating defense (plus convincing clubs to buy in), my analysis of recent offseasons suggests that MLB teams still don’t value defense the same way as sabermetricians do — though it might not be because they don’t value it enough.

To estimate how much teams pay for offense relative to defense, I looked at the average annual value of every non-catcher1 position-player contract signed since the 2006 offseason2 and compared those dollar figures to players’ offensive and defensive runs above average (according to in the previous three years.3 I found that, from the front-office perspective, a run saved just isn’t worth as much as a run scored.


Studying 5 years of NFL drafts to find best, worst teams at picking

New York Post, Brian Costello from

… We looked at who is best and worst at drafting over the past five years in our third annual team draft rankings. No one nails it year after year, but there are some teams doing a much better job than others.

The rankings are based on: how many games the draft pick has played, Pro Bowl appearances, first-team All-Pro selections, and awards like MVP and Rookie of the Year. We also factored in how much the team has won during the five years, because players on losing teams tend to have an easier path to playing time.

Here are the rankings from best to worst, with last year’s ranking in parentheses.


Injuries & squad depth prove Liverpool’s undoing again – so what’s the root cause?

This Is Anfield blog from

A horrible lack of squad depth was once again exposed on Sunday, as Liverpool’s Champions League hopes were dealt a crushing blow.


Income Taxes and Team Performance: Do They Matter?

SSRN, Erik Hembre from

State- and local-income tax rates differ across locations, giving low-tax teams a competitive advantage when bidding for players. I investigate the effect of income tax rates on professional team performance between 1977 and 2014 using data from professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey in the United States. Regressing income tax rates on winning percentage, I find little evidence of income tax effects prior to 1994, but since then a ten percent increase in income taxes is associated with a three percent decline in winning percentage. A robustness check using within state variation in income taxes affirms this result. The income tax rate effect varies by league, with the largest effect in professional basketball, where teams in states without income tax win 4.5 more games each year relative to high-tax states. The income tax effect is smallest in major league baseball, which could be explained by greater team payroll disparity. Placebo tests using college team performance find no evidence of an income tax effect.


Darren Rovell takes Wonderlic test, rethinks publishing leaked scores of NFL draft prospects

ESPN, Darren Rovell from

… My thinking has always been along these lines: the Wonderlic test has been part of the NFL draft evaluation process since the early 1970s. As long as scores are being used by teams to make decisions, in varying degrees, we should be able to talk about the scores produced by the players. Since the industry had been reporting on them for years, I thought the scores themselves had context.

Today, I learned that’s just not true. While most people can inherently relate to or understand the 40-yard dash and the bench press rep test that players participate in during the combine, we don’t have that same ability in regard to the Wonderlic because we lack the proper context. I can try to run a 40-yard dash outside right now and I can go to a gym and try to put up 225 pounds as many times as I can (answer: zero), but I couldn’t take the Wonderlic. The real one, that is.

Until now.


The nearly universal link between the age of past knowledge and tomorrow’s breakthroughs in science and technology: The hotspot

Science Advances; Satyam Mukherjee, Daniel M. Romero, Ben Jones and Brian Uzzi from

Scientists and inventors can draw on an ever-expanding literature for the building blocks of tomorrow’s ideas, yet little is known about how combinations of past work are related to future discoveries. Our analysis parameterizes the age distribution of a work’s references and revealed three links between the age of prior knowledge and hit papers and patents. First, works that cite literature with a low mean age and high age variance are in a citation “hotspot”; these works double their likelihood of being in the top 5% or better of citations. Second, the hotspot is nearly universal in all branches of science and technology and is increasingly predictive of a work’s future citation impact. Third, a scientist or inventor is significantly more likely to write a paper in the hotspot when they are coauthoring than whey they are working alone. Our findings are based on all 28,426,345 scientific papers in the Web of Science, 1945–2013, and all 5,382,833 U.S. patents, 1950–2010, and reveal new antecedents of high-impact science and the link between prior literature and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas. [full text]


Jürgen Klopp says injuries scuppered Liverpool’s Premier League title bid

The Guardian, Andy Hunter from

Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool would have competed alongside Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur for the Premier League title but for “unlucky” injuries that stretched his resources this season.

Liverpool remain firmly on course for Champions League qualification following important victories at West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City achieved without players such as Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson. Despite a damaging run of form in January, Klopp is adamant his team – nine points behind Chelsea, the leaders – could have sustained their early-season challenge to Antonio Conte’s side had injuries not disrupted their momentum.

“I think we can all agree that if we could have played our first 12 or 13 for the whole season, and we are only six, seven, eight points away from the very interesting region of the table, then it’s not unlikely that it could have worked,” said Klopp, whose side face Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday. “But it’s not important now because we don’t know for sure. It’s not allowed to look back. We have to find a lineup solution for the next game.


Learn Data Science by Doing it

Medium, Doug Puett from

… The hard part is that the beginner has a chicken-and-egg problem: You don’t know what research to do because you don’t have any skills, and you don’t have any skills because you haven’t done any research yet. I’m not sure I would have been successful learning from video courses. I think I would recommend the following course of study if I had to teach myself just starting out.


How the Spread Offense Created a Cornerback Gold Rush

The Ringer, Kevin Clark from

One of the unintended consequences of the spread-offense revolution is the huge demand for good cornerbacks. Lucky for NFL teams, this draft is loaded with them. This is the story of how the college game’s addiction to high-octane offense has created a cornerback renaissance.


Kings GM Vlade Divac is fully empowered and making more moves

The Sacramento Bee, Ailene Voisin from

… what most attracted Divac to Bornn was his ability to synthesize data and succinctly present information. Though Divac and head coach Dave Joerger value analytics as a tool in acquiring talent and coaching teams, neither perceives players as widgets nor believes players can be pieced together on assembly lines.

“Basketball is not science,” Divac said. “You have talent, you develop your players, you play hard. But you want to get players who complement each other, and analytics helps in that regard. Marc Gasol the other day said stats are killing the game because a lot of stuff that’s important can’t be quantified. Luke is able to identify what’s important and explain things in language we can understand.”


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