Applied Sports Science newsletter – June 28, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 28, 2017


Katie Ledecky is better than … well, better than everybody, David Woods from

… Ledecky will demonstrate her extraordinary range on day one of the Phillips 66 National Championships on Tuesday at the Natatorium at IUPUI. She will have prelims of the 100-meter freestyle in the morning, and presumably the final at night before her 800-meter freestyle.

Yeah, she likes beating the boys.

“It gives me a good target, and kind of makes things a little bit easier sometimes, just racing,” Ledecky said. “I don’t really have to focus on my own pacing as much. I can just try to beat the person next to me.


Timo Werner abused in Germany but key to World Cup defense

Associated Press, Rob Harris from

… Werner’s rivals for a place in the squad next year include fellow squad newcomers Lars Stindl and Sandro Wagner. They are both close to 30, while the 21-year-old Werner has youth, strength and speed on his side. Even Wagner said he has “never seen such a good striker at that age.”

That’s a result of Werner fusing his pace with intelligence on the ball, mastering dribbling at high speed first with Stuttgart and then at Leipzig.

“There’s no recipe for it,” Werner said. “The quickest players just know how to do it automatically. I like to knock the ball three or four meters ahead of me when I’m on the counter or have space in front of me, that way I can increase the distance between a defender and myself.”


Koreen: Roberto Osuna’s battle with anxiety hits close to home

The Athletic, Eric Koreen from

… “I just feel a little bit anxious, a little bit weird. I’m just not myself right now,” Osuna told reporters, including Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, in Kansas City, speaking through Blue Jays interpreter Josue Peley. “I feel great physically. It’s just more mentally.

“I don’t really know how to explain it. I just feel anxious. I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now. This has nothing to do with me being on the field. I feel great out there. It’s just when I’m out of baseball. When I’m not on the field, I feel just weird and a little bit lost.”

To be clear, neither the Blue Jays nor Osuna said that he had been diagnosed with anything in particular. The difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder is, crudely, the difference between sneezing and having a cold.


How lack of sleep affects the brain

BBC News, Fergus Walsh from

… “We all know what it feels like to not get enough sleep but we know very little about the effects on the brain; we want to see how it affects cognition, memory and your ability to concentrate.”

The team will collate the cognitive scores and see the variations depending on how much sleep people have had.

Everyone’s sleep requirements are different, but if enough people join the study, it may allow scientists to determine the average number of hours needed for optimum brain function.


Why Are Runners Obsessed with the Pain Cave?

Outside Online, Sam Robinson from

… Pain is perhaps the most common experience in competitive distance running. If you want to achieve your best performances, you must be willing to suffer. In trying to podium or snag a personal best, your own physiology will fight against you. Your muscles ache, the lactic acid builds, and you slip into oxygen debt. So why do it? Why do runners willingly enter the pain cave?


Recovery Tips from the Most Beat-Up Guys in New York

Men's Journal, Alice Oglethorpe from

Bruce Lifrieri just wrapped up his 24th season as a full-time trainer for the New York Rangers, which means he’s spent almost a quarter century helping the team recover after grueling games, practices, and workouts so they can get back out on the ice the next day (and the next, and the next). And as a result, he’s pretty much an expert in how to get your body to bounce back after you push it to its limits.


On Campus, Failure Is on the Syllabus

The New York Times, Jessica Bennett from

A Smith College initiative called “Failing Well” is one of a crop of university programs that aim to help high achievers cope with basic setbacks.


Why ‘Unlearning’ Old Habits Is An Essential Step For Innovation

KQED, MindShift, Leah Schaffer from

… “We’ve all gone to workshops and seminars and learned from a class,” she said. “We go there, gain skills, change mindsets, we get very excited, and then we head back to work and things get in the way. And then we wonder why change isn’t taking place.”

She said often what stands in the way of implementing change is the inability to see things beyond what they’ve always been in the past. In order to figure out if something needs to be unlearned to make room for change.


STEX event showcases innovations in fitness technology and science

MIT News from

… Apart from providing a venue to spread the word about his wearables, the event enabled Alessandro Babini MBA ’15, co-founder of Humon, to connect with larger organizations in the space. Humon, a wearable targeted at endurance athletes, attaches to a muscle, where it monitors blood oxygen levels by shining a light into the skin and analyzing changes in the light that indicate less or more oxygen.

“It was interesting to get an understanding about what big brands seek in partners, what they’re looking to invest in, and what they’re working on now,” Babini told MIT News. “Big corporations have a lot of customers and a big influence on where the market is going.”

Another interesting MIT spinout, figure8, presented a wearable that captures 3-D body movement that can be analyzed by the user or shared with an online community — like a “YouTube” of movement data.


Protein found in saliva related to human stress levels, research shows

Edmonton Journal, Dustin Cook from

A new protein has been identified in the salivary glands of humans and is influenced by acute stress, feelings of negative mood and emotional distress.

Dean Befus, a professor at the University of Alberta and a research leader for AllerGen, who funded the research, led three studies looking into the protein known as calcium-binding protein spermatid-specific 1 (CABS1) and how its levels relate to stress.

The protein, which was previously only identified in the male reproductive system, exhibits anti-inflammatory activity and is influenced by the nervous system.


Scientists develop low-cost device for monitoring diabetes through sweat

Gadgets & Wearables, Ivan Jovin from

A new, non-invasive option for controlling diabetes may be just around the corner. Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have developed a wearable that is capable of managing the condition just by monitoring a patient’s sweat. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. … The new wearable diagnostic biosensor can detect three interconnected compounds – cortisol, glucose and interleukin-6, for up to a week. The University of Texas at Dallas team showed that the measurements are accurate with just one to three microliters of the liquid, much less than the 25 to 50 previously believed necessary.


EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Massey – Liverpool Football Club’s Head of Medical Services

Rousing the Kop blog, Dave Davis from

… I will usually meet the sports science and physio teams to have a morning medical meeting where we discuss all first team players and plan their sessions throughout the day. Premier League teams tend to run at injury rates of about 10-18%, so at any one stage we can expect to have 3-6 injuries.

We also plan the sessions for the players who may either need additional work or less loading. The season is long and often players will contend with a number of complaints, but still be involved in matches and training. This is a fine balancing act and requires great detail to know when to push players or alter their training loads.

After the medical meeting I will usually report back to the manager or Zeljko regarding the player availability.


“Thick Data” – How Science Of Human Behavior Will Augment Analytics Outcomes

Sameer Dhanrajani, Demystifying Data Analytics, Decision Science & Digital blog from

In recent years, there has been a lot of hype around “big” data in the marketing world. Big data is extremely helpful with gathering quantitative information about new trends, behaviors and preferences, so it’s no wonder companies invest a lot of time and money sifting through and analyzing massive sets of data. However, what big data fails to do is explain why we do what we do.

“Thick” data fills the gap. Thick data is qualitative information that provides insights into the everyday emotional lives of consumers. It goes beyond big data to explain why consumers have certain preferences, the reasons they behave the way they do, why certain trends stick and so on. Companies gather this data by conducting primary and secondary research in the form of surveys, focus groups, interviews, questionnaires, videos and other various methods. Ultimately, to understand people’s actions and what drives them to your business (or not), you need to understand the humanistic context in which they pursue these actions.


Basketball Analytics Coaching Newsletter #2

Jordan Sperber, Hoop Vision Coaching Analytics Newsletter from

… In the NBA, it’s gotten to the point where having bad shot selection is going to hurt you much more than having good shot selection is going to help you. That’s because most teams have generally figured it out, by necessity. Shooting is more important in the NBA than any other league (“make or miss league”). The nature of the NCAA allows for a dominant offensive rebounding team like UNC or a dominant pressing team like West Virginia, but that’s not the NBA model.

Consider a scenario where a coach takes over an AAU team for a weekend tournament. You have one practice before the tournament to get ready. I’d argue the most practical and valuable thing a coach could implement for immediate improvement would be shot selection. Just marginal improvements in expected value are going to improve offensive efficiency significantly.


Inside the first legally binding contract between a college athlete and a school, Dennis Dodd from

What is being called the first-ever legally binding contract between a college prospect and his school will be unveiled Wednesday at the NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia.

The College Athletic Protection Agreement would make negotiable such items as medical treatment/insurance beyond an athlete’s eligibility and an automatic release from a scholarship should a player want to transfer.

The agreement states that the protections and benefits secured by such a contract would be “worth over $100,000 beyond a minimum scholarships without breaking NCAA rules.”


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