Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 1, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 1, 2017


Sara Vaughn Steals Our Hearts and the Internet Goes Wild

Runner's World, Sarah Lorge Butler from

When the women’s 1500 meters was finishing on Saturday afternoon at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the television cameras were focused on the leader and eventual winner, Jenny Simpson, who pulled away from Kate Grace down the final stretch.

But the internet was focused on what was happening in the battle for third place.

Sara Vaughn, a 31-year-old mother of three and a realtor who works and trains in Boulder, Colorado, was mounting a furious final kick. She crossed the line in 4:07.85, just 0.28 seconds ahead of fourth place. She gave a breathless post-race interview on NBC where she greeted each of her three daughters and told them she is bringing them to London, where she’ll be representing Team USA at the world championships.


Kenny Saief Tells ASN: “This Is the Right Step for Me”

American Soccer Now, Brian Sciaretta from

… “He’s one of those players where he was not a star in the Israeli youth system but he was always overlooked,” Krupnik said. “Players like these should be valued a lot more because he’s done everything through is hard work—going from a tiny club Ramat HaSharon that actually got relegated to being one of the top players at Gent.

“I think it’s a big loss for Israel but I can’t blame Kenny. He was willing to be part of their national team. He was called into their full team and he showed up, sat on the bench, and they didn’t play him. How ridiculous can that be? It’s unfortunate for Israel that they are losing a player of Kenny’s caliber.”


Royals reliever Seth Maness a pioneer in baseball’s battle against elbow injuries

The Kansas City Star, Rustin Dodd from

… Ten months ago, Maness, then a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the injury that portends Tommy John surgery. On Sunday afternoon, Maness made his eighth relief appearance of the season for the Royals in an 8-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

The fact Maness is even here, back in the major leagues, pitching out of the Royals bullpen, makes his right elbow one of the most fascinating body parts in the game. Maness is less than a year removed from an injury that usually sidelines a pitcher for 12 to 16 months, and now he is back on the field, part trailblazer, part reliever, part patient zero in a potential medical breakthrough for elbow injuries.

“He’s a pioneer,” said Royals head trainer Nick Kenney.


Placing Nick Fairley on IR a big loss for Saints, win for player safety

ESPN NFL, Mike Triplett from

… A win for player safety. Player safety has become a huge topic in the NFL, especially when it comes to the long-term effects of concussions. And it has been hotly debated how much the league and its teams care about the players’ well-being. This is obviously an instance in which the Saints are looking out for Fairley’s health — and their team doctors deserve a huge kudos for red-flagging the issue during his physical.

A skeptic might say the Saints have financial motives for placing Fairley on the non-football injury list — and they will likely fight to recoup some of his $8 million signing bonus and other guarantees. But the Saints obviously didn’t want this. They just signed Fairley to the richest deal of his career three months ago because they thought he was such a good fit in his first year in New Orleans last season.


Steven Caulker: ‘I’ve sat here for years hating myself … This year was almost the end’

The Guardian, Dominic Fifield from

Steven Caulker has a tale to tell and, as hard as it is to hear, it is best simply to listen. His stream of consciousness veers from scoring on his England debut less than five years ago and the thrill at potential being realised to the horrific mental health issues that have almost ended it all in the period since. A player who, from the outside, appeared blessed with talent and opportunity speaks of desperate anxiety and self-loathing.

He contemplated killing himself in his darkest moments with his path one of self-destruction. Attempts at escapism cost him hundreds of thousands of pounds, wages frittered away in casinos. Then came the drinking aimed at numbing the pain. The 25-year-old finds himself recalling the times spent in custody watching CCTV footage of his misdemeanours, his lawyer at his side, and not recognising the vile person on the screen.

Football is still coming to terms with mental illness and Caulker, an international and a last lingering reminder at Queens Park Rangers of financially misguided days as a Premier League club, has been an easy target. He is not seeking to make excuses or win sympathy.


Fitness vs. Exercise: Which Matters More?

Runner's World, Sweat Science blog, Alex Hutchinson from

Focus on the journey, not the destination—that’s pretty good advice for a lot of things in life, including health and fitness. After all, you’re unlikely to stick with an exercise routine if it’s not, at least on some level, enjoyable.

But the journey isn’t the only thing that matters. You have to be headed in the right direction. In this case, I’m thinking of exercise as the “journey,” and improved fitness—some quantifiable measure of cardiorespiratory capacity, like VO2 max—as the “destination.” People who exercise regularly tend to live longer, we know. And people with higher VO2 max tend to live longer too. Which is the key variable, and why?

That’s the question that a group of researchers led by Taryn Davidson of Queen’s University in Canada, along with colleagues from Stanford and Georgetown universities, tackled in research presented earlier this month at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in Denver.


How Well Does Running Fitness Translate To Other Sports?, Running, Amanda Loudon from

… Runners, while incredibly fit from a cardiovascular standpoint, tend to have several common weak spots: hip and glute strength, balance and upper body strength. One reason is that running only works one plane of movement. Lateral movement—which comes more from sports like tennis, soccer, lacrosse and even football—is missing in running. And so too is the ability to activate some of these related muscles.

It pays for runners to engage in other sports that do work these movement patterns and muscles. Aiming for better all-around fitness can help a runner perform better and avoid injury.


Mauricio Pellegrino, the complete coach who hates losing and frets when he wins

The Guardian, Sid Lowe from

… It is Pellegrino’s. “Had it not been for football I would never have left home,” he once said. He was a little introverted, at least to start with, and one former team-mate says football is his life while he told a player who worked under him that through football he found a way to express himself. Especially through coaching, his calling. He has emerged and evolved over the years but even as a player he was a manager. Louis van Gaal once said: “He’ll make a great coach.” Although Pellegrino was not pleased, joking that meant the Dutchman did not think he was much of a centre-back, Van Gaal is not a man given to handing out compliments and he knew he was right.

Pellegrino did not always think he was much of a player, either: he was too tall, too skinny, too clumsy, he had problems with his back. But there was something about him that team-mates and coaches appreciated that took him to Barcelona, Valencia and Liverpool, and a coaching career that now brings him to Southampton via Spain and Argentina. “He makes you think,” his former centre-back partner Roberto Ayala says. He makes himself think, too, particularly about others.


Men in Blazers Presents: The Future

Men in Blazers from

There are 320 million people in the U.S. Yet, the country is yet to produce a world class male footballer. For all our dreams, we yearn to develop — never mind a Messi or Ronaldo — a few more Landon Donovans or Christian Pulisics. And so the efficacy of our youth development system is the subject of much agonizing debate. Yet, amidst all the different stakeholders offering their opinions, be they coaches, bureaucrats, and parents, the one voice we rarely hear: players in the system. The teenagers who grind away day in, day out, on fields across the nation, propelled by their love of the game. In a moment of rare optimality, the Men in Blazers team went out to speak with the next generation of 14 and 15 year olds and hear, directly from them, their challenges, hopes, fears, and biggest dreams. The end result: two short films highlighting players with a burning desire to represent the U.S. at the highest level.


Sustaining a Lifetime Passion for Your Sport

Outside Online, Brad Stulberg from

… How do we keep a healthy perspective on competition? How do we bounce back when we fail to achieve our goals, and at the same time, prevent ourselves from becoming addicted to success and results?

The key, psychologists say, may lie in the difference between two mindsets: harmonious passion and obsessive passion. In harmonious passion, you become hooked on an activity—music, art, writing, sport—because of how it makes you feel; you are driven from within and want to get better for the sake of personal improvement and fulfillment. With obsessive passion, externals like achievement, results, rewards, and recognition become more important.


For Coaches: Making Downtime More Productive During Practice

Doug Lemov, Teach Like a Champion blog from

Recently I watched Mike Ellicott training his U13 girls at Empire United‘s development academy in Rochester. I wanted to share an idea that came out of it.

When his girls broke into three groups for small sided games–one group ‘off’ while the other two played; the third group rotating in after five mins–something caught my eye. Mike gave the girls in the third group cards.

He said “We’ll be using the cards again” and the girls laughed. The purpose of the cards soon became clear. They were workout cards. While they were ‘out’ the girls did a series of fitness activities–one minute on one minute off, each time drawing a new card–instead of just standing and waiting. It struck me as a very clever solution to one of training’s constant challenges: What to do to maximize value when not everyone can be on the field or court at once.


How to improve your mental toughness

220Triathlon, Helen Webster from

Spending hours training your body? Great… But to be the best, you need to train your brain just as hard. We’ve rounded up some of the toughest athletes in triathlon, including Chrissie Wellington and Dave Scott, to share their secrets.


Hamstring injury prevention in soccer: Before or after training? – Lovell

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from

We examined the effects of a 12-week program of Nordic hamstring exercises (NHE), administered before or after football training, upon eccentric hamstring strength, muscle activity, and architectural adaptations. Amateur soccer players were randomized into three groups. The control group (CON; n=11) undertook core stability exercises, whereas a periodized NHE program was delivered either before (NHEBEF; n=10) or after (NHEAFT; n=14) biweekly training sessions. Outcome measures included peak torque and concomitant normalized peak surface electromyography signals (sEMG) of the biceps femoris (BF) and medial hamstring (MH) muscles during knee flexor maximal eccentric contractions, performed at 30°·s−1. Ultrasonography was used to determine BF muscle thickness, muscle fiber pennation angle, and fascicle length. Performing the NHE derived likely moderate peak torque increases in both NHEBEF (+11.9%; 90% confidence interval: 3.6%-20.9%) and NHEAFT (+11.6%; 2.6%-21.5%) vs CON. Maximum sEMG increases were moderately greater in the BF of both NHE training groups vs CON. There were likely moderate increases in BF muscle thickness (+0.17 cm; 0.05-0.29 cm) and likely small pennation angle increases (+1.03°; −0.08° to 2.14°) in NHEAFT vs CON and NHEBEF. BF fascicle length increases were likely greater in NHEBEF (+1.58 cm; 0.48-2.68 cm; small effect) vs CON and NHEAFT. A 12-week eccentric hamstring strengthening program increased strength and sEMG to a similar magnitude irrespective of its scheduling relative to the football training session. However, architectural adaptations to support the strength gains differed according to the timing of the injury prevention program.


The German Soccer Experience Part 1: Learn to Play and Live Like a Top German Professional

Bundesliga Fanatic, Gerry Wittmann from

There’s no doubt that Germany is the best producer of well-trained young footballing talent in the world right now. But for foreign youngsters, male and female, who want to test their footballing skills and see if they have the dedication and persistence to succeed, getting noticed and earning a chance to be seen in Germany can be a daunting task. But through Justin Rose’s JJR Consulting, young, foreign talents can experience German training up close and personal, learn what it means to be a professional player, and take the first steps to earning a professional contract, while also learning to communicate in German and feel comfortable in a foreign culture.

JJR Consulting has for years been offering such young talents the opportunity to experience German training. Rose, a native of Colorado who lives in Frankfurt, has been instrumental in building bridges between Germany and other nations not only to bring outstanding training to foreign youngsters but also to build the Bundesliga’s profile outside of Germany, including putting together last year’s Colorado Cup featuring 1.FSV Mainz training in Colorado Springs for a week last July and playing friendlies against American and Mexican clubs.

The large, mandated investments by all 36 professional clubs in Germany (the 18 teams in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2)as well as the many lower-division clubs in Germany in academy training for youth has put Germany where France was a few decades back and Spain more recently as the country that is developing the most well-trained talent, ready to perform well, at the top levels of the game not only in Germany but throughout Europe. It is no coincidence that so many teenagers, including Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, are starring in regular league play and international competitions for club and country. The training received, along with the player’s individual talents and dedication, makes this possible.


‘Relentless pursuit of player development’ – Ryan Russell, Auburn football strength and conditioning from

… In 2012, Gus Malzahn hired Russell to run Arkansas State’s weight room.

“I got there in January and left in December, came back here and the rest is history,” he says. “I’m here for my third stint. I feel like God wants me here for a reason. I’m supposed to be here to impact these kids in a positive way. It’s been really cool to see Auburn grow. I love how important ball is to these guys, and how important their development is.”

To enhance that development, Russell and his assistants take a long-term approach.

“It’s constant development throughout their whole career,” he says. “We want those guys running their fastest, moving the most efficient they have ever moved going into their senior year with us.”


Crane offering new challenges to MSU men’s basketball

The Dispatch (Columbus, MS), Brett Hudson from

Collin Crane’s job description extends far beyond using only weights.

Hired in May as strength and conditioning coach for the Mississippi State men’s basketball program, Crane learned from MSU coach Ben Howland and others what the Bulldogs did in the weight room with his predecessor, David Deets. He also discovered those things weren’t a top priority.

“Coach Howland was ready for a new challenge for our team,” Crane said. “That was something we talked about a lot in the process of me getting acclimated to our program. He wanted a new sense of what our team is going to be about, a new sense of identity.”


Winning is not the reason kids play sports

USA Today High School Sports, Kyle Winters from

… In this article, I’ll break down exactly why kids participate in youth sports and how parents and coaches can create a culture that encourages a lasting passion for the game.

It may sound like a no-brainer that kids play sports because they are fun. However, kids’ definitions of “fun” are a lot different from an adult. Researchers actually asked young athletes what they found fun about youth sports, offering 81 reasons. Overwhelmingly, the young athletes reported that social interactions and access to action tipped the fun scale in the right direction.


What is the psychological state underlying “clutch performance” – excelling under pressure? – Research Digest

The British Psychological Society, Research Digest, Bradley Busch from

Pressure does interesting things to an athlete. For some, it leads to an increase in tension, nerves and anxiety. Others are able to channel this increased pressure into running faster, jumping higher and throwing further. What strategies do these “big game players” use to raise their game under heightened pressure – known as a “clutch performance”?

In the Journal of Sports Sciences, researchers from Australia and England recently reported the results of their interviews with sixteen athletes from around the world just a few days after they had delivered an excellent sporting performance in a competition when under pressure. The findings represent a step forward in our understanding of expert and skilled performances, showing how clutch performance is similar to, but distinct from, the related concept of “flow”.

Christian Swann at the University of Wollongong, Australia, and his colleagues interviewed 16 athletes (5 women and 11 men, with an average age of 27) who came from a range of team and individual sports that included a Rugby World Cup Winner from New Zealand, a professional tennis player competing at Wimbledon, and an Olympic badminton player. The researchers asked the athletes to describe their recent outstanding performance in as much detail as possible, including what they were thinking and feeling at the time.


Pay attention: Practice can make your brain better at focusing

The Verge, Rachel Becker from

… The question is: which part of this attention equation is more important for learning, and how is it affected by practice? To find out, researchers led by Sirawaj Itthipuripat at the University of California, San Diego, subjected 12 research participants to the least entertaining computer game in the world, while measuring their brain activity. They found that the research subjects’ brains amped up activity in the visual processing center of the brain (called the visual cortex) while they were learning how to play — kind of like turning up the volume on that violin.

But as the research participants became more comfortable with the game, and their scores stopped improving, that initial burst quieted down. The researchers suspect that this more automatic phase is the result of the brain fine-tuning what exactly it needs to pay attention to, basically switching over to a process that’s more like muting the volume on the rest of the orchestra. Both of these processes are important for learning, just at different phases of training, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Biology.


Gezocht: geldschieter voor nieuw Nederlands trainerstalent. Want het plan is er

Google Translate, Decorrespondent, Michiel de Hoog from

The Netherlands has a lot of need for good youth trainers to improve football. And those are there, only they are not seen and they can not develop enough. Now there is a plan to improve that.
Wanted: money shooter for new Dutch trainer talent. Because the plan is there


The NFL Combine 40-Yard Dash: How Important is Maximum Velocity? – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

This investigation analyzed the sprint velocity profiles for athletes who completed the 40-yard (36.6m) dash at the 2016 NFL Combine. The purpose was to evaluate the relationship between maximum velocity and sprint performance, and to compare acceleration patterns for fast and slow athletes. Using freely available online sources, data were collected for body mass and sprint performance (36.6m time with split intervals at 9.1 and 18.3m). For each athlete, split times were utilized to generate modeled curves of distance vs. time, velocity vs. time, and velocity vs. distance using a mono-exponential equation. Model parameters were used to quantify acceleration patterns as the ratio of maximum velocity to maximum acceleration (vmax / amax, or τ). Linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between maximum velocity and sprint performance for the entire sample. Additionally, athletes were categorized into fast and slow groups based on maximum velocity, with independent t-tests and effect size statistics used to evaluate between-group differences in sprint performance and acceleration patterns. Results indicated that maximum velocity was strongly correlated with sprint performance across 9.1m, 18.3m, and 36.6m (r of 0.72, 0.83, and 0.94, respectively). However, both fast and slow groups accelerated in a similar pattern relative to maximum velocity (τ = 0.768 ± 0.068s for the fast group and τ = 0.773 ± 0.070s for the slow group). We conclude that maximum velocity is of critical importance to 36.6m time, and inclusion of more maximum velocity training may be warranted for athletes preparing for the NFL Combine.


Laboratory and Match Physiological Data from an Elite Male Collegiate Soccer Athlete. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

This study compared physiological data from an elite collegiate soccer player to that of his teammates over two seasons. The player of special interest (Player A) was the winner of the MAC Hermann trophy and was therefore considered the top player in NCAA division I soccer for each of the two seasons in which data was collected. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) was measured during preseasons and heart rate was recorded during competitive matches. Polar training loads (PTL) were calculated by the Polar Team2 Pro (Polar USA) system based on time spent in HR zones. Player A had a lower VO2max than the team average in 2012 (56 vs. 61.5 ± 4.3 ml/kg/min) and a similar value in 2013 (54 vs. 56.9 ± 5.1 ml/kg/min). During matches, Player A showed consistent significant differences from the team in percentage of time spent at 70-79% HRmax (12.8 ± 5.5% vs. 10.1 ± 4.0%), 80-89% HRmax (54.3 ± 11.5% vs. 29.3 ± 6.8%), and 90-100% HRmax (23.1 ± 10.6% vs. 45.4 ± 8.5%). This led to a consistently lower PTL/min accumulated by Player A compared to his teammates (3.6 ± 0.4 vs. 4.4 ± 0.3), which may be beneficial over a season and may be related to his success. Thus, the ability to regulate moments of maximal exertion is useful in reducing training load and may be a characteristic of elite players, though whether our findings relate to differences in the playing style, position, or aerobic capacity of Player A, are unknown.


Dallas Mavericks: Mavs’ latest free-agent recruiting tool? A new locker room with all kinds of high-tech bells and whistles

Dallas Morning News, SportsDay blog, Eddie Sefko from

Talent-acquisition season in the NBA is upon us with the draft on Thursday and free agency coming July 1.

What better time for the Mavericks to unveil their latest recruiting tool?

Work has begun on a major renovation of the Mavericks’ locker room, weight room and offices at American Airlines Center to bring the facilities into the digital age and take advantage of technological advances.


WHOOP, there it is: Technology tracks patterns of WVU athletes

Exponent Telegram (Morgantown WV), Bob Hertzel from

… “Right when we got these bands, right when we got this new program, they said ‘Anyone that doesn’t feel comfortable doing this, you can hand it back in and we’ll give it to the next guy that wants it,’” Bosch recalled.

“Obviously none of us wanted to do that because we’re all committed to trying to to win the Big 12, to trying make it to the College Football Playoff, so were all taking this offseason very seriously. Monitoring everything we do, everything we eat, and every time we fall asleep.”

There is, certainly, peer pressure to go along with this and certainly potential benefit from it, but one reason they probably can’t order players to wear it is the potential for an invasion of privacy situation.


How Can Machine Learning Make You Fitter and Healthier?

RE•WORK | Blog, Katie Pollitt from

… Fitness apps compatible with the hardware are increasingly popular, but what makes each fitness products stand out from the crowd? And how are you supposed to stick to your chosen platform once you’ve signed up?

We spoke to Freeletics, the high intensity interval training app that combines full body routines and exercises with running for ‘a complete fat shredding workout’, ahead of their talk at the Machine Intelligence Summit Amsterdam 28 & 29 June. The app, which is compatible with most wearable technologies, concentrates on motivating its users by creating ‘a community of athletes’ who can then compare their progress against their friends on the app.

To personalise these workouts and make them tailored to each individual, a significant amount of programming has to take place. Freeletics are using AI and more specifically machine learning to train the product which is now ‘actively learning from all 14 million users’ performance and progressing with them over time’. The ‘coach’ in the app takes into consideration ‘dozens of variables and compares them with those of other users.’ This intelligent feature also helps to reduce the risk of injury or over training by analysing your workouts against your fitness level amongst other features.


Kinexon: Revolutionising data analytics in sports

AZO – Space of Innovation from

Many applications require tracking solutions that are precise, but at the same time affordable and small. The former incubatee of the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria and overall winner of the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) in 2013, Kinexon, offers such a precision tracking solution that meets these needs perfectly. The Kinexon sensors use the latest space technology to track the positions of individuals and objects with centimetre accuracy. Its app, a secure cloud-computing platform with a smart analytics application, transforms big sensor data into valuable information in real time.

Before its incubation at the ESA BIC Bavaria, Kinexon’s business success was at its very beginning. The support received from the partner network helped it to build its first working prototype. This resulted in Kinexon being named not only the winner of the Bavaria Regional Prize, but also the overall winner of the ESNC in 2013. Huge media interest, even more awards and Kinexon’s growth into one of the market leaders in precision localisation and motion sensing solutions followed.


Apple Invents an Apple Watch Feature to measure Respiration Rate with Multi-Band Plethysmography

Patently Apple blog from

Apple’s CEO was in the news lately saying that the Apple Watch helped him lose 30 pounds. In an interview with Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Cook stated: “You know, the Watch has been an incredible move into health, in the wellness and fitness piece.” Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled “Measuring Respiration Rate with Multi-Band Plethysmography,” that focuses on yet another future Apple Watch feature related to health.

A photoplethysmogram (PPG) signal may be obtained from a pulse oximeter, which employs a light emitter and a light sensor to measure the perfusion of blood to the skin of a user. However, the signal may be compromised by noise due to motion artifacts. That is, movement of the body of a user may cause the skin and vasculature to expand and contract, introducing noise to the signal.


A Review of In-Body Biotelemetry Devices: Implantables, Ingestibles, and Injectables

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering from

Wireless medical devices used to sense physiological parameters (sensors) and/or stimulate the nervous system (stimulators) are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, 27% of Americans already use some sort of wearable device, such as a smart watch that records heart rate and number of steps, or smart socks that track speed and calories. Nevertheless, wearables are limited to monitoring parameters that are readily accessible from outside the human body. With these in mind, wireless in-body medical devices that are placed directly inside the human body are promising an entire new realm of applications.

In this paper, a holistic and comparative review is conducted that focuses on three types of in-body medical devices: a) devices that are implanted inside the human body (implantables), b) devices that are ingested like regular pills (ingestibles), and c) devices that are injected into the human body via needles (injectables). Design considerations, current status and future directions related to the aforementioned devices are discussed. Indeed, design of in-body devices is highly challenging, and needs to concurrently address concerns related to operation frequency, antenna design, powering, and biocompatibility.


Fitness Trackers Are More Accurate Than Ever

Consumer Reports, Brendan Borrell from

… our survey suggests—and experts we spoke with agree—that you should view trackers as one tool in a comprehensive effort to be more active, lose weight, and improve your health. (Find out whether counting your ZZZ’s will improve your sleep.)

For example, though most people in our survey did not report that trackers helped them feel healthier, some did: Twenty-four percent said the devices helped them achieve their weight-loss goals, 15 percent said they made them feel healthier, and 14 percent said they helped make them more active.

Those who endorse the devices are quite enthusiastic, saying trackers helped them overcome decades of bad habits.


The Inextricable Tie Between Eating Disorders and Endurance Athletes

Outside Online, Nora Caplan-Bricker from

Climbers, cyclists, runners, and all kinds of other athletes—both men and women—are starting to speak out about disordered eating in their communities


The effects of acute carbohydrate and caffeine feeding strategies on cycling efficiency. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Sports Sciences from

To assess the effect of carbohydrate and caffeine on gross efficiency (GE), 14 cyclists (V̇O2max 57.6 ± 6.3 completed 4 × 2-hour tests at a submaximal exercise intensity (60% Maximal Minute Power). Using a randomized, counter-balanced crossover design, participants consumed a standardised diet in the 3-days preceding each test and subsequently ingested either caffeine (CAF), carbohydrate (CHO), caffeine+carbohydrate (CAF+CHO) or water (W) during exercise whilst GE and plasma glucose were assessed at regular intervals (~30 mins). GE progressively decreased in the W condition but, whilst caffeine had no effect, this was significantly attenuated in both trials that involved carbohydrate feedings (W = -1.78 ± 0.31%; CHO = -0.70 ± 0.25%, p = 0.008; CAF+CHO = -0.63 ± 0.27%, p = 0.023; CAF = -1.12 ± 0.24%, p = 0.077). Blood glucose levels were significantly higher in carbohydrate ingestion conditions (CHO = 4.79 ± 0.67 mmol·L-1, p < 0.001; CAF+CHO = 5.05 ± 0.81 mmol·L-1, p < 0.001; CAF = 4.46 ± 0.75 mmol·L-1; W = 4.20 ± 0.53 mmol·L-1). Carbohydrate ingestion has a small but significant effect on exercise-induced reductions in GE, indicating that cyclists' feeding strategy should be carefully monitored prior to and during assessment.


5 Core Eating Habits for Endurance Athletes

Ironman, John Post from

… “People generally think that getting nutrition right is complicated, technical and difficult to achieve,” writes Asker Jeukendrup, director of the lauded website “There is an overload of information and often contradicting advice.” Fitzgerald is able, in not so many words, to spell out an easy to understand (and follow) plan that the reader can be confident will lead to the results they’re seeking.

Fitzgerald began his project by interviewing world-class athletes from over 30 countries in 11 different sports. He then used scientific studies together with his keen sense of good versus bad science to distill five key principles. These form the core of the The Endurance Diet; he says that if you follow them, you’ll have the best chance to realize your athletic potential. He openly states that The Endurance Diet is for those who intend to maximize performance. However, if your primary goal is weight loss, look elsewhere.


UB Sports Nutrition teaches student-athletes what food can do for their form

University at Buffalo, UB Now, AtBuffalo, David J. Hill from

Rachel Barich didn’t always have a positive relationship with food. In high school, she suffered from disordered eating behaviors, starving her body of many of the nutrients needed to fuel her cross-country and track and field workouts.

She could still compete at a high level — for high school. But Barich’s body couldn’t handle the increased intensity and duration of the training regimen of an NCAA Division I athlete, and she suffered a stress fracture in her tibia her freshman season at UB.

Though the injury sidelined Barich for a few months, it had a silver lining: It led her to the UB Sports Nutrition staff, who helped her understand how important proper eating is for an athlete. Now, Barich scans the dining hall menus each day to plan her meals in advance, sprinkles in energy-packed snacks between practice and class, and most importantly, doesn’t fear food. “They helped me realize food is my friend,” says the junior nutritional science major from Ontario.


Have the Rockies Found Answers at Altitude?

FanGraphs Baseball, Travis Sawchik from

… Said Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster, who Black retained — and who believes in the curveball — of coaching at Coors Field: “It’s the ultimate challenge.”

Plenty of executives, coaches, and pitchers have failed to conquer the challenge, to unlock the secret of pitching in Denver. The Rockies have tried four-man rotations, to collect sinkerball pitchers, to bring in big-money, top-of-the-rotation arms. Little has worked. But anyone capable of succeeding in Coors will be remembered. And these Rockies might have figured out how to pitch, and win, at altitude. After having never produced an ERA- better than 90 for a season (the metric adjusts for ballpark and run-scoring environment), the Rockies enjoyed a franchise-best mark entering the weekend, pacing the club to its 43-26 start.

By adjusting their sights, by adjusting their pitch mix — and certainly by adding considerable talent — the Rockies have perhaps cracked the code in pitching at Coors.


Tennessee first state to set up safety ratings for youth sports leagues

Vanderbilt University Medical System from

A new rating system called Safe Stars will soon allow parents to check and see if youth sports leagues in Tennessee follow state-recommended safety protocols.

A collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Health and the Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports (PIPYS) at Vanderbilt, Safe Stars is the nation’s first statewide safety rating system for all types of youth leagues.

Details about the initiative will be announced July 13 during the 2017 Youth Sports Safety Conference and Celebration Gala at Vanderbilt University.


The athlete monitoring cycle: a practical guide to interpreting and applying training monitoring data

British Journal of Sports Medicine, Editorial from

I want to monitor my athlete but where do I start?

Given the relationships among athlete workloads, injury1 and performance,2 athlete monitoring has become critical in the high-performance sporting environment. Sports medicine and science staff have a suite of monitoring tools available to track how much ‘work’ an athlete has performed, the response to that ‘work’ and whether the athlete is in a relative state of fitness or fatigue. The volume of literature, coupled with clever marketing around the ‘best approaches’ to optimising athlete performance, has resulted in practitioners having more choices than ever before. Furthermore, the range of different practices used in sport and the lack of agreement between parties emphasise the importance of having a clear rationale for athlete monitoring. The aim of this paper is to provide a practical guide to strategic planning, analysing, interpreting and applying athlete monitoring data in the sporting environment irrespective of data management software.


Pitch Tunneling: Is It Real? And How Do Pitchers Actually Pitch?

The Hardball Times, Dan Blewett from

The concept of pitch tunneling is gaining popularity. The idea is that two different pitches fly down the same trajectory long enough to look nearly identical through the point when a hitter must decide whether, or not, to swing. If pitches thrown back to back travel down this same “tunnel” long enough, a hitter won’t be able to tell them apart until it’s too late. There also seems to be some confusion about the idea itself – is it mechanical, in which pitchers should change their deliveries to improve tunneling? Or, is it simply a matter of pitch sequencing? And, if tunneling is only a sequencing concept, are, and should, pitchers be using it? Let’s find answers to these three questions.


Slow motion video makes football referees more likely to give a red card

KU Leuven News from

Video assistant refereeing in football has to be used with caution. Researchers at KU Leuven have shown that refs are more likely to give red when they see a foul committed in slow motion, even when a yellow card is more justifiable. This is because fouls viewed in slow motion appear to be more serious.


The science of shootouts offers escape from England’s penalty complex

The Guardian, Ben Lyttleton from

At least this time, an England team made it to a penalty shootout. In recent tournaments, the senior team finished bottom of their 2014 World Cup group, and lost against Iceland in their first Euro 2016 knockout match. So when England Under-21s reached the Euro 2017 semi-final and took a far more experienced Germany team to penalties, that in itself represented progress – until the penalty curse struck again.

This was an opportunity for England to exorcise some serious penalty ghosts. The Germany coach was Stefan Kuntz, who had scored Germany’s fifth penalty in the Euro 96 semi-final at Wembley. I spoke to Kuntz in researching my book Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty. He understands the pressure of a penalty and did not want to take one at all. He chose to kick fifth because he hoped the shootout would be over before he was required. The kicker after him was Gareth Southgate; his penalty was saved.
England’s Under-21s now need Premier League games or it will count for nothing

I also spoke to a German psychoanalyst, Dr Michael Froese, who agreed that it was in 1996 – and not 1990 – when England’s penalty complex took root. After all, at Euro 96, England had beaten Spain on spot-kicks four days earlier at Wembley. But the fact that it was Germany, again, beating England on home soil, with the backdrop a media frenzy of military metaphors – “We knew the media had turned this game into a war,” Kuntz said – was a traumatic moment. If England had lost that shootout to Switzerland, say, or Greece, then England’s senior team today might not have a penalty shootout record at tournaments of one win in seven (14%) with a penalty conversion rate of 66%.


In Game Velocity Changes – When Fatigue Attacks

FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball, Mike Sonne from

… Velocity is very important to the success of pitchers – as I’ve written about with respect to my Stuff metric, and as highlighted in this great article by Mike Fast from 2010, every little bit of velocity matters. Within pitchers – those who lose velocity become shells of their former selves – like Eno Sarris wrote about Matt Harvey before this season started. While a Velocity drop between games is an indicator that someone might be hurt, a velocity drop within a game might indicate that a pitcher is becoming fatigue – a big sign of possible future injury.


Are the Dodgers playing DL games?

FanGraphs, RotoGraphs, Mike Sonne from

… are the Dodgers playing games with the 10 Day DL?

I performed a query on Starting Pitchers who have been on the 10 Day DL, and returned to play in 2017. I calculated the average number of days that were missed, and the number of pitchers on each team who made DL appearances. How does this shake out? Well, first of all – the Dodgers have the most number of Staring Pitcher 10 Day DL trips of any MLB team; 6 of them to be exact. The average number of days on the DL for these DL trips was 14.3 days per trip. The longest trip they had to the DL belonged to Rich Hill – a 23 day appearance (which was followed by a separate 10 day appearance). When Rich Hill is removed from that list, the days per DL appearance drop to 11.75. They are playing it by the letter of the law when it comes to SP DL stints.


Elliptical Machine Calorie Counting

Popular Mechanics, Tim Newcomb from

… Gym cardio machines such as ellipticals, stair steppers, and stationary bikes offer a reassuring calorie count on their LED screens—a little numerical reminder that you’re really doing something. If you’re wearing a smartwatch or a Fitbit, though, it might tally a totally different calorie number for the exact same workout. Same for a fitness-tracking app that monitors your steps or tracks your movement by GPS if you’re biking or running around the neighborhood.

So what gives? Here’s why they’re different, and how to know which numbers you can trust.


How the Sports Landscape in Canada Is Changing

VICE Sports, Blake Murphy from

Hockey has been Canada’s dominant sport for the country’s first 150 years. But sports like basketball and soccer are becoming more popular among the country’s youth and will continue to grow as a result of Canada’s changing demographics.


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