Applied Sports Science newsletter – January 12, 2019

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for January 12, 2019


How the NBPA Guides Players Into Life After Basketball

Front Office Sports, Bailey Knecht from

The moment they step off the court for the last time, NBA players experience a series of life changes, both professionally and personally. In an aim to address those changes, former NBA player Antonio Davis and the National Basketball Players Association have spearheaded a player program called Off the Court to assist those players as they make the transition.

Off the Court, which has been in place for just over a year, helps players with themes like mental health, finances, career goals, health and wellness, and philanthropy.

“That’s why I called it Off the Court — it’s everything when you step off the floor,” said Davis, who serves as the director of Off the Court. “There are a lot of different aspects. Older guys can tell you what they were feeling now, but as you’re going through that, you don’t understand what you’re going through or what you’re feeling.”


Emily Sisson Ready To Tackle 26.2 With Spring Marathon, Running, Theresa Juva from

After years of success in races from the 5K to half marathon, elite runner Emily Sisson is ready for her next big challenge: 26.2. “I’m excited to try the marathon,” says the 27-year-old, who is sponsored by New Balance and currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ. “It’s so different than any other distance.”

If Sisson performs well in her marathon debut this spring—she won’t reveal yet which race she plans to run—she will consider competing at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta next February. Given the depth of talent among American women distance runners these days, the gritty fight for the top three spots for the Tokyo Olympics won’t be easy. “I know how strong it is in the marathon,” she says. “It’s pretty exciting, and it’s making everyone up their game and bringing out the best in everyone.”


Justise Winslow is in his comfort zone

Fansided, The Step Back, Wes Goldberg from

… Winslow’s usage has climbed past 20 percent for the first time in his career and his confidence is surging. It’s not uncommon to see him snake a pick-and-roll, pull up from mid-range or try a new finishing move at the rim. Glares and scowls are habitual gestures. For the first time since high school, he’s playing the role he’s most comfortable in.

“Growing up, especially on my high school team, I had to do it all. I had to be the point guard, the center, the wing, I had to do all of it. I think that’s where my versatility started,” Winslow said. “And with guys in and out of the rotation and my leadership vocally and my ability to see things and read things with my IQ on the floor, it kind of just happened naturally.

Last year it was ‘point forward’ and, now that I’m making 3s, they dropped the forward and put the guard at the end.”


Best ways to reduce your risk of common injuries

EXOS, Kellen Merrill from

Bam! A car smashes into someone in a crosswalk, and there goes the pedestrian’s knee. A witness wants to help and starts to run toward the accident, but she steps off of the curb at an awkward angle and pop — there goes her knee. Two knee injuries — both accidents — but one is more preventable than the other. While you can’t control bad drivers (or other potential impacts to the body), you can take steps to keep your body moving the way it’s supposed to so you’re less likely to hurt yourself.

So what happened to our concerned citizen as she stepped off the curb? A likely possibility is her movement pattern was compromised by the muscles that support her knee. And this was probably due to underactive and overactive muscles.

“Poor posture has a lot to do with underactive and overactive muscles,” says Stefan Underwood, director of continuous improvement at EXOS. “And posture is a constant factor in life — how you stand and sit throughout the day, and the position you sleep in at night.”


The Differences in Running Outside in the Winter Versus the Summer

Beginner Triathlete from

Ever been for a run outside on a cold day and smashed your PB? Or, struggled with a long run outside on a summer day? Running outside is an excellent way to build stamina and strength. Depending on the weather when you run, you’re likely to notice significant differences in how you run and recover. In this article, we’re taking a look at the differences between running outside in winter versus summer.

In winter dehydration might creep up on you.

Running in colder weather can be deceiving. You may feel like you’re not sweating as much or getting as thirsty when you run in winter and this can make dehydration a more significant risk. Interestingly, however, most people’s sweat rates don’t change in the winter — it may just feel that way.


Does growth require suffering? A systematic review and meta-analysis on genuine posttraumatic and postecstatic growth.

Psychological Bulletin journal from

Previous literature on growth after major life events has primarily focused on negative experiences and operationalized growth with measures which rely on the post hoc self-perception of change. Because this method is prone to many biases, two questions have become increasingly controversial: Is there genuine growth after major life events and does growth require suffering? The present meta-analysis is the first synthesis of longitudinal research on the effects of life events on at least one subdomain of psychological well-being, posttraumatic, or postecstatic growth. Studies needed to have a longitudinal design, assess changes through independent measures over time, and provide sufficient data to estimate change scores. The present meta-analysis comprises 364 effect sizes from 154 independent samples (total N = 98,436) in 122 longitudinal studies. A positive trend has been found for self-esteem, positive relationships, and mastery in prospective studies after both positive and negative events. We found no general evidence for the widespread conviction that negative life events have a stronger effect than positive ones. No genuine growth was found for meaning and spirituality. In the majority of studies with control groups, results did not significantly differ between event and control group, indicating that changes in the outcome variables cannot simply be attributed to the occurrence of the investigated life events. More controlled prospective studies are necessary to validate the genuine nature of postevent growth. Overall, the meta-analysis provides a systematic overview of the state of life event research and delineates important guidelines for future research on genuine growth.


Heart rate recovery during repeated high-intensity efforts is not related to the recovery of systemic oxygen uptake and muscle oxygenation, and can’t be used to predict performance decrement

Sport Performance & Science Reports from

Practitioners are always seeking for non-invasive, easy-to-use indices of exercise tolerance to adjust training contents (e.g., work intensity and volume, number of repetitions,
recovery interval duration before the next effort) during a training session. Hear rate (HR) recovery (HRR) during high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions has been empirically used to regulate training. For example, the return of HR to a fixed value or percentage of maximal HR is sometime used in the field and in the scientific literature in an attempt to individualize between-effort recovery duration (1, 2). The present understanding of the determinants of HRR suggest, however, that this practice may not be very relevant (3). During the
post-exercise recovery period, HR is believed to neither be related to systemic O 2 demands nor muscular energy turnover (4), but rather to the magnitude of the central command and
metaboreflex stimulations (6-8). However, whether HRR can effectively be used to track between-efforts metabolic recovery and performance capacity during an actual HIIT session has surprisingly received little attention in the literature (9).


Why are kids turning their backs on sports?

CBC News, Amy Bell from

… A study conducted by charitable foundation True Sport shows 70 per cent of Canadian youth athletes are leaving team sports by the time they enter high school — and a lot of them are leaving sports for good.

One of the top reasons?

They’re not enjoying the sport anymore. And who can blame them? With a focus on early specialization — where a child plays one sport exclusively for more than nine months out of the year — it’s easy to see where a lot of kids are burning out physically and emotionally.


What will make “Data” work in 2019?

Data Science Central, Gaurav Kumar from

Speed of Adoption will matter more than ever

It’s been a while since businesses have been debating over investment into data and analytics. Some people have already done it and it is working out. We are over and above the apprehensions of whether Data investments work or not, now, the questions is how soon you can make it work. It has to be strategy first and a top down push on getting the data investments to execution and results. It is a herculean task but by now there are already best practices and open source tools to help adopt the data solutions. You cannot do it half-heartedly, you must determine before 2019 starts on how much are you going to be data-led and then be true to yourself as an organization.


GESTURIZE: Directional Touch Sensitivity Layers for Fashion Tech

Medium, LOOMIA Creator Lab, Ray LC from

… Wearable technology provides a way to bridge the gap between our ideas of primitive movement and the digital imprint we have on our devices. Our two hands express these ideas of movement differently, and produce asymmetric movements with different speeds and nuances. Can we use garments for detecting gestures instead of computer vision, resulting in a more organic and physical experience? I explore the use of garment-based gestures to control a 3D environment as applicable in VR and games.


OpenCV 4.0.1 deb Package for Raspberry Pi 3B+

Geek Next Door blog, Anupam Gupta from

It was a hellish experience building OpenCV4 (with NEON and VFPV3 support) without the cross-compile toolchain on a more capable hardware, with all required functionality (free, non-free, contrib etc.). But, I eventually did it… On a Raspberry Pi!

So that anyone else does not have to go through the ordeal over and over again, I am linking the DEB package I built for the Raspbian Stretch (Nov. 2018) here. Please check the SHA512 checksum against this. Enjoy!


New Technology Improves Athletes’ Eye-Brain Connectivity

Orthopedics This Week, Tracey Romero from

New visual training technology offered by Senaptec LLC is being used to enhance athletic performance by improving the movement, balance and reaction times of athletes.

The Senaptec technology focuses on strengthening visual and brain connections. It’s being used for athletic performance training by over 100 professional and collegiate sports teams including the Seattle Seahawks, New York Mets and the University of Alabama.

It also working for members of the military—who are also athletes. Senaptec’s CEO, Joe Bingold, was an eight-year U.S. Navy veteran who served as an officer for the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program.


CES 2019: Intel and Alibaba partner on artificial intelligence

ZDNet, Corinne Reichert from

Intel and Alibaba will collaborate over an AI project which will provide 3D real-time tracking of athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the firms announced this week at CES 2019.

By combining Intel hardware, Alibaba cloud infrastructure, and deep-learning algorithms, the companies hope to provide coaches with biomechanical data during training and competition without the need for special sensors or suits, Intel said at CES on Monday.


The FDA is still letting doctors implant untested devices into our bodies

The Washington Post, Jeanne Lenzer and Shannon Brownlee from

Ten years ago, Kathleen Yaremchuk raced to the bedside of a patient inexplicably gasping for breath. Chair of the department of otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Yaremchuk performed an emergency tracheotomy on the woman, cutting a hole in her windpipe, inserting a breathing tube and saving her life. When Yaremchuk began getting more calls over the following months for mysterious cases of respiratory distress, she launched a study to figure out what was going on.

All these patients, it turned out, had a small device implanted in the top of their spines to relieve pain. The object, used to hold a protein that stimulates bone growth, was cleared for sale by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003 without clinical testing in humans. When Yaremchuk and her colleagues reviewed the records of all 260 patients implanted with the device at Henry Ford Hospital between 2004 and 2009, they found that a significant number developed airway obstruction, trouble swallowing and respiratory failure, in some cases leading to death.

The neck implant is just one of the products associated over the past decade with 1.7 million injuries and more than 80,000 deaths. A searing global investigation last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists places much of the blame on significant failings in the FDA’s oversight.


Thanks to new RFID tag tech from CMU, your next new shirt could also serve as a touchscreen

Next Pittsburgh, Bill O'Toole from

What if the soft fabric of your pillow could silently monitor how well you’re sleeping? What if you could play your favorite video game just by moving your body, no handheld controller necessary, or wear a shirt that politely reminds you not to slouch?

It isn’t science fiction. And with new tech being developed at Carnegie Mellon University, it won’t even be expensive or complicated.

A team of Ph.D. students at CMU has developed a new system for using simple, cloth radio sensors to measure the movements of human bodies and much more. By adding the kind of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags often found in retails stores to everyday items, the team can get precise measurements from the tags in real time.


Proximity Detection

Trustworthy Health and Wellness project from

Abstract: Providing secure communications between wireless devices that encounter each other on an ad-hoc basis is a challenge that has not yet been fully addressed. In these cases, close physical proximity among devices that have never shared a secret key is sometimes used as a basis of trust; devices in close proximity are deemed trustworthy while more distant devices are viewed as potential adversaries. Because radio waves are invisible, however, a user may believe a wireless device is communicating with a nearby device when in fact the user’s device is communicating with a distant adversary. Researchers have previously proposed methods for multi-antenna devices to ascertain physical proximity with other devices, but devices with a single antenna, such as those commonly used in the Internet of Things, cannot take advantage of these techniques.

We present theoretical and practical evaluation of a method called SNAP – SiNgle Antenna Proximity – that allows a single-antenna Wi-Fi device to quickly determine proximity with another Wi-Fi device. Our proximity detection technique leverages the repeating nature Wi-Fi’s preamble and the behavior of a signal in a transmitting antenna’s near-field region to detect proximity with high probability; SNAP never falsely declares proximity at ranges longer than 14 cm.


Exosystems Gamifies Physical Therapy at CES 2019

Wearable Technologies, Cathy Russey from

Exosystems, a South Korea-based healthcare wearable maker will showcase its AI-based technology at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas on January 8. The exoRehab device is meant to give patients a “Personalized Rehabilitation Guidance” during their neuromuscular rehab stint.

In most traditional rehab methods of rehab, exercises performed are rigid. exoRehab, on the other hand, provides personalized physical and electrical stimulation programs based on the user’s musculoskeletal data, inducing joy and resulting in the most effective and efficient rehab.


Concussion: Head injuries fall in Premiership audit but length of absence rises

BBC Sport, Rugby Union from

The number of concussions suffered by players in Premiership rugby matches fell last season, although the average length of absence was higher than before, an annual study has revealed.

Concussion remained the most commonly reported injury in 2017-18 – with 140 in matches, down from 169 in 2016-17.

Meanwhile, injuries in contact training on England duty rose to 6.1 per 1,000 hours, double the study average.

Those injuries kept players out five times than the mean in the study.


Mayo Clinic urges ban of body-checking in hockey until age 15, ejections for NHL fights – Bring Me The News

Bring Me The News, Joe Nelson from

Medical experts and hockey researchers from Mayo Clinic released new recommendations for hockey that it believes will lower the risk and severity of brain injuries, namely concussions.

The recommendations that would impact the sport on the ice are the elimination of body-checking in Bantam youth hockey, and ejecting any player involved in a fight in the junior and professional levels.


A 5-minute guide to EXOS’ nutrition principles

EXOS, Amanda Carlson-Phillips from

… Since each person’s needs vary, EXOS has created a set of five nutrition principles to serve as a framework for dietitians to design individualized nutrition plans. These principles are rooted in research and practical application of the psychology, sociology, and physiology of nutrition. Here’s a brief overview of EXOS’ nutrition principles.

Nutrition principle No. 1: Make it about you


Ritalin is unlikely to hurt children’s hearts

Futurity, University at Buffalo from

Exposure to a common drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) isn’t likely to increase cardiovascular risk in healthy kids, according to a new study with monkeys.


What Is Fasted Cardio? Empty Stomach Workouts Explained

Refinery29, Fitness, Cory Stieg from

… There’s actually some solid science behind the concept of “fasted workouts.” Typically, your muscles get energy from carbohydrates in food, explains Tiffany Chag, MS, RD, CSCS, a performance coach and registered dietician at Hospital for Special Surgery. But first thing in the morning, after you’ve been fasting (and sleeping) for several hours, you’ve run out of these sources, she says. “If you haven’t eaten, your body will have to go find fuel, and it’ll go to fat for fuel,” she says.


The Effect of Tiebreak Luck

Jeff Sackmann, Heavy Topspin blog from

I’ve written several things over the years about players who win more or fewer tiebreaks than expected. (Interested readers should start here.) Fans and commentators tend to think that certain players are particularly good or bad at tiebreaks. For instance, they might explain that a big serve is uncommonly valuable at the end of a set, or that mental weakness is more harmful than ever at such times.

My research has shown that, for the vast majority of players, tiebreak results are indistinguishable from luck. Let me qualify that just a bit: Tiebreak results are dependent on each player’s overall skill, so better players tend to win more tiebreaks. But there’s no additional factor to consider. While players tend to win service points at a slightly lower rate in tiebreaks, the effect is similar for everyone. There’s no magical tiebreak factor.

However, a single season is short enough that some players will always have glittering tiebreak records, tricking us into thinking that they have some special skill.


Defense still matters in the NFL playoffs, and the Ravens are playing it as well as anybody

The Washington Post, Adam Kilgore from

Inside the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive meeting room, a grease board on the wall doubles as a time capsule of their season’s darkest moment. Players and coaches met at the conclusion of Baltimore’s bye week, when the Ravens stood at 4-5, their coach’s job was in jeopardy and their defense had yielded an unacceptable 83 points over the last three games.

“I’m big into goals,” defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said. “We’re big into goals. We sat down and said: ‘Okay. Here’s where we’re at. Here’s what we see. Here’s what we need to improve on. Here’s what we’re good at.’ It’s open forum in the defensive meeting room.”

The Ravens defensive players reassessed themselves. They could still end the season as the No. 1 defense in the NFL, but they would have to improve in key areas, especially stopping opponents in the red zone and protecting leads in the fourth quarter with more aggression. Martindale scrawled the new goals and objectives on the grease board. Over the course of the final seven weeks, as he saw players peek at the board, he knew they would be fine.


Can NFL Coaches Overuse Play-Action? They Haven’t Yet.

FiveThirtyEight, Josh Hermsmeyer from

Next Gen data shows that linebackers just can’t help themselves from falling for the fake.


A cheap QB is a quick route to NFL playoffs, but sustained success costs big money

The Washington Post, Jerry Brewer from

You can look at these NFL playoffs as a sort of team-building, quarterback culture war. On one side, six franchises are winning the trendy way, maximizing their opportunities to create deep rosters around talented quarterbacks still on cheap rookie contracts and defying the outdated belief that it takes forever to groom a player at the most complicated position in team sports. On the other side, five teams have established franchise quarterbacks, and they are living off their stardom, working around the imbalance of having to commit big, salary cap-crunching bucks to a single player competing in a game of attrition.

Then there is Philadelphia, the anomaly. The Eagles have a gifted young signal-caller on a rookie deal in Carson Wentz, but because of another injury to Wentz, they will be led by their expensive backup, Nick Foles, for a second straight playoff run. The Eagles are able to get away with Foles carrying a salary cap number of $13.6 million this season because Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft, counted only $7.3 million against the cap during his third season. So despite their unique circumstances, the defending Super Bowl champions may be the most dramatic recent example of the depth and talent that can be accumulated when a quality starting quarterback makes a relatively small amount.

Yes, these playoffs prove that the cheap rookie QB star can provide an express route to building a championship-caliber roster. But that’s just one phase of the process. If a team wants sustained success, it will have to pay its quarterback. It’s not a death sentence. It’s vital to retain relevance.


The Latest Victory for MLB Teams Over Free Agents? Introducing the ‘Swellopt’, MLB, Jack Dickey from

… [Jake] Arrieta signed a three-year, $75 million contract before the 2018 season, with the Phillies retaining the option, after 2019, to add 2020 and 2021 to the deal. Kikuchi signed a four-year, $56 million deal earlier this month that allows the Mariners, after 2021, to tack on 2023, 2024, and 2025 for an extra $53 million total.

Scott Boras, the agent who negotiated all three deals, calls it a “swellopt.” He unpacked the etymology for Ken Rosenthal: “For the club, if the player performs well, the club can opt in (contract swells). For the player, if the club doesn’t opt in, the player has the choice to continue with contract (swell) or opt out. It’s a swell option for both.” A contractual provision by any other name would swell as… well, you get it.


Deals not rules becomes football’s new game

Asia & The Pacific Policy Forum, Simon Chadwick from

Challenges to football’s financial regulations highlight the shifting sands of global power and increasing frustration at who gets to set the rules, Simon Chadwick writes.

There has been much kerfuffle of late following a new round of computer hacks that have led to a series of revelations being released under the moniker of ‘Football Leaks’.

As a result, we now know discussions really have taken place amongst Europe’s leading football clubs about the formation of a super league. We also now know that French international player N’Golo Kante refused to participate in a tax avoidance scheme.


Salary Survey Unveiled

Training & Conditioning from

In July 2018, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) partnered with Employers Council to collect data regarding the annual salaries and education level of strength and conditioning professionals around the country, with results unveiled this week. In total, 2,325 responses were collected from current Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certificants in North America. The majority of the participants work in a college or university setting (791), followed by independent (477), and high school (323) settings.

Based on the responses, the average annual salaries break down as follows: $49,037 at the high school level; $49,286 at the college or university level; $76,772 at the professional sports level; $69,437 in the tactical setting; and $48,584 in the independent setting.


Do Batters Learn to Narrow Their Splits?

The Hardball Times, Shane Tourtellotte from

Every position player in baseball is, in a sense, two distinct players on offense. He is the batter who faces right-handed pitchers and the one who faces left-handed pitchers. The difference between his performances in those situations—his platoon split—is usually significant and sometimes so stark that he is effectively unplayable in the adverse match-up.

Platoon splits complicate baseball strategy. Opening lineups are different depending on the handedness of the starting pitcher. Aggressive use of the bullpen, probably personified best by Tony LaRussa, can force opposing managers to burn players on an already short bench, leaving them without the resources to react to the next change on the mound.

How much easier strategizing would be if those platoon splits were narrow or nonexistent. How useful it would be for batters to learn how to narrow their splits, to become more consistent players who can’t be exploited as easily by a certain type of pitcher.


Why the NBA executive/coach doesn’t work, but won’t go away

ESPN NBA, Brian Windhorst from

… To the larger point, why hasn’t it worked out with these fine coach/presidents in recent years? All of the scenarios are different, but it’s safe to say that in 2019, the time demands on coach and president/GM are massive and probably not functional in a dual role. This is just not Red Auerbach’s prime here.

Popovich has succeeded at it for more than 20 years, but he has a Hall of Fame GM in R.C. Buford. He also has been fortunate to have several incredible players who have made sure the team kept winning — some who Buford found in Europe and other far-flung places while Popovich was coaching the team.

The failed Jimmy Butler experiment and the sub-.500 record probably did in Thibodeau. But, according to multiple reports, he was also done in by a rocky relationship with the business operations side of the Wolves franchise. The fact is, keeping the CEOs happy is an important part of a modern-day basketball executive’s workload.


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