Female Sports Science newsletter – June 9, 2019

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 9, 2019



Mallory Pugh Is Ready for Her Magic Hour

Bleacher Report, BR Mag, Mirin Fader from

She went from prodigy to being anointed the future of U.S. women’s soccer. From injuries to finding herself through the growing pains. Now, at 21, Pugh is poised to perform miracles for the USWNT.


Can the firsts keep coming for Johanna Konta at the French Open?

ESPN Tennis, Simon Cambers from

On the eve of her 2019 French Open quarterfinal match against Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta’s coach, Dimitri Zavialoff, tried to explain the one thing he thought had made the difference to the way Konta has been playing at Roland Garros.

“It’s just showing her how good she is and to invite her to try,” he told reporters. “To try and miss sometimes, and sometimes try and achieve something. I really don’t want to control anything in there. She obviously is a very good player, I would even say a fantastic player, and (now) she shows it. Now if she can express it — I think she did in the past — but also from one year to another, the evolution is there as a person.”


Women’s World Cup 2019: Australia Matildas star Mary Fowler and her stunning rise

Sydney Morning Herald, Vince Rugari from

The spectacular rise of Mary Fowler, the youngest player at the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, can be traced back to one particular stretch of Trinity Beach in far north Queensland.

It’s a grassy hilled area, just in front of the sand and surf, right next to one of the vinegar dispensers which are scattered along the Cairns coastline for the treatment of box jellyfish stings.

This is where Mary and her four siblings laid the bedrock for what could be long, successful careers in football. You could set your watch to it – parents Kevin and Nido would drive Mary (now 16), Quivi (20), Ciara (17), Louise (15) and Seamus (13) in their van to the same spot on the esplanade at the same time after school, almost every single day.


The Particular Drama of Simona Halep

The New Yorker, Louisa Thomas from

The former No. 1, who is now looking to defend her French Open title, makes the psychological complexity of sports visible as few athletes do.


The French Connection: Why Lindsey Horan’s Past Represents the USWNT’s Future

The Ringer, Andrew Helms from

… Though veteran players like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have greater name recognition, Horan will be the national team’s anchor in France, the midfielder who makes the supercharged American attack flow. Many analysts have called her the team’s most important player, which is a roundabout way of stating that she just may be the team’s best player. And at 25, she’s still getting better.

But what makes her so good isn’t just her technical skill, tactical savvy, or strength. It’s the mind-set that she’s acquired on her journey from Denver to Paris and back again. Over those seven years, she’s come to believe that her success is a process and not an outcome, the byproduct of the choices she has made and—just as crucially—the choices she did not make. And more broadly, Horan’s unique path to the World Cup may foretell significant changes for the future of women’s professional soccer. “I actually said this to her, that ‘You sacrificed a lot to get to this point, and I’m delighted to inform you that it is paying off, and that you’re here,’” says Ellis of her congratulatory call with Horan. “‘But we still have more to do.’”



Thermoregulation and Hydration in Female American Football Players During Practices. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

Thermoregulation and hydration in female American football players during practices. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2019-Little is known about hydration practices and thermoregulation in female tackle football players. The purpose of the study was to examine the thermoregulatory and hydration responses of female professional American football players. Fifteen females from the same tackle football team volunteered for this observational field study. Each subject was observed for 4 practices for the following measures: gastrointestinal temperature (TGI), maximum TGI, heart rate (HR), maximum HR (HRmax), fluid consumption, sweat rate, percent body mass loss (%BML), urine specific gravity (USG), urine color (Ucol), perceptual measures of thirst, thermal sensations, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Descriptive data (mean ± SD) were calculated for all measures. Main measures were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Trials took place during evening practices. Average TGI during practices was 38.0 ± 0.3° C while maximum TGI was 38.4 ± 0.3° C (n = 14). Average practice HR was 118 ± 11 b·min, while HRmax was 148 ± 13 b·min. Subjects arrived at practices with Ucol of 3 ± 1 and USG of 1.018 ± 0.007. Postpractice USG (1.022 ± 0.007) was significantly higher than prepractice across all days (p < 0.001). The average sweat rate across 4 practices was 0.6 ml·h. Average %BML was 0.3 ± 0.4%. Thirst and thermal sensations were moderate (4 ± 1 and 5 ± 1, respectively), while RPE was 11 ± 1. Female football players tended to have similar physiological responses to males. Although subjects seemed to adequately match their sweat losses with fluid consumed during practice, there was considerable variability in hydration indices and hydration habits, with some subjects experiencing hypohydration and others overestimating their fluid needs. Those working with this population should emphasize the need for hydration education and establish individualized hydration regimens.


Effects of Functional Strength Training Program on Movement Quality and Fitness Performance Among Girls Aged 12-13 Years. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of a 12-week intervention of functional strength training (FST) on movement quality and fitness performance among 12- to 13-year-old untrained girls. One hundred forty-four girls (age 12.47 ± 0.57 years) were randomly assigned to the FST group and traditional strength training (TST) group. The FST group underwent 10 functional movement corrective exercises in the first 6 weeks and 10 functional strength promotion exercises in the following 6 weeks, whereas the TST group did 10 TST exercises with progressive intensity in 12 weeks. The training was 3 times per week and 45 min per session for both groups. The subjects were tested at the beginning and at the end of the intervention on movement quality and fitness performance variables. To compare the 2 groups pretest vs. posttests, analysis of variance with mixed model analysis of variance, paired t-test and independent t-test, and 2 × 2 contingency chi-squared analysis were used. The main time-by-group interaction effect of the total score of Functional Movement Screen (FMS) showed FST group significantly better than TST group explicitly (p ≤ 0.05). Differences between groups were detected for individual components in FMS test, injury-related problem items of FMS, and fitness performance variables. Although TST group increased the muscular strength significantly (p ≤ 0.05), the FST group has significant improvements on more variables such as deep squat and trunk stability, muscular strength, flexibility, and power (p ≤ 0.05). In comparison with TST program, FST program may be more effective on the improvements of movement quality, muscular strength, flexibility, and power among untrained healthy girls aged 12-13 years, and may result in better health promotion and injury prevention as well.


Low-Load vs. High-Load Resistance Training to Failure on One Repetition Maximum Strength and Body Composition in Untrained Women

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

This study examined the effects of resistance training (RT) to failure at low and high loads on one repetition maximum (1RM) strength and body composition (bone- and fat-free mass [BFFM] and percent body fat [%BF]) in untrained women. Twenty-three untrained women (age: 21.2 ± 2.2 years; height: 167.1 ± 5.7 cm; body mass: 62.3 ± 16.2 kg) completed a 12-week RT to failure intervention at a low (30% 1RM) (n = 11) or high (80% 1RM) (n = 12) load. On weeks 1, 5, and 12, subjects completed 1RM testing for 4 different exercises (leg extension [LE], seated military press [SMP], leg curl [LC], and lat pull down [LPD]) and a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan to assess body composition. During weeks 2–4 and 6–7, the subjects completed 2 sets to failure for each exercise. During weeks 8–11, the subjects completed 3 sets to failure for each exercise. The 1RM strength increased from week 1 to week 5 (LE: 18 ± 16%; SMP: 9 ± 11%; LC: 12 ± 22%; LPD: 13 ± 9%), week 1 to week 12 (LE: 32 ± 24%; SMP: 17 ± 14%; LC: 23 ± 26%; LPD: 25 ± 13%), and week 5 to week 12 (LE: 11 ± 9%; SMP: 7 ± 9%; LC: 10 ± 7%; LPD: 11 ± 11%) in each exercise, with no significant differences between groups. There were no significant changes in BFFM (p = 0.241) or %BF (p = 0.740) for either group. Resistance training to failure at 30% 1RM and 80% 1RM resulted in similar increases in 1RM strength, but no change in BFFM or %BF. Untrained women can increase 1RM strength during RT at low and high loads, if repetitions are taken to failure.


The Power & Passion of Being a Female Massage Practitioner

Message Magazine, Theresa Schmidt from

We asked eight leaders in the massage field — Jill K. Berkana, Anita Shannon, Sandy Fritz, Cherie Sohnen-Moe, Elena Zabala, Nathalie Cecilia, Shari Auth and Theresa A. Schmidt — to share their advice on how female professionals can unleash power and passion.



watchOS 6 advances health and fitness capabilities for Apple Watch

Apple from

… “Apple Watch has become an indispensable part of our customers’ everyday lives, from helping users stay connected to the people and information they care about, to inspiring them to live a better and more active day,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. … The new Cycle Tracking app gives women the ability to log important information related to their menstrual cycles and see predicted timing for their next period and fertile window using the convenience of Apple Watch.1 The daily log function enables the quick addition of information related to the menstrual cycle, including current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation prediction kits and other elements of fertility tracking. The new Cycle Tracking feature is also available in the Health app on iPhone with iOS 13.


Football Paradise: USWNT Finds Perfect Fit at Tottenham Training Ground

U.S. Soccer from

When investigating possible pre-World Cup training sites throughout Europe, the U.S. Women’s National Team coaching and administrative staff knew what boxes they wanted to check. It was then a matter of finding a facility that checked those boxes.

Sites were evaluated in France, Spain, Portugal, England and Italy. In the end, there was a consensus number-one choice from the coaches: “We want to go to Tottenham.”

The Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre in Enfield, England, looks amazing in photos. It’s even better when experienced in real life.


sports medicine

Oral contraceptives may protect women from serious knee injuries

Healio, Orthopedics Today from

A recent study found that oral contraceptive pills may provide protection against anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, injuries, particularly in young athletic women.

“Though ACL tears [affect] both male and female athletes, females have been shown to have two to eight times the risk of ACL injury when compared to their male counterparts, prompting some to suggest a hormonal influence,” Steven F. DeFroda, MD, of the department of orthopaedic surgery at Brown University, and colleagues wrote.


I guess my question is if BMI is a risk factor for ACL, are these findings a chicken or egg scenario?…

Twitter, David Bell from


How Much Do Psychological Factors Affect Lack of Return to Play After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction?

Twitter, OJSM_SportsMed from



Acrobatics and tumbling, women’s wrestling get backing to join NCAA emerging sports

NCAA, Media Center from

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics has recommended that all three divisions of the NCAA governance structure add two sports — acrobatics and tumbling and women’s wrestling — to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. If adopted, the sports would join the program Aug. 1, 2020.

The committee identifies sports to be added to the Emerging Sports for Women program, which is a pipeline supporting the advancement of women’s sports to NCAA championship status. The program also provides athletics opportunities for women and sport-sponsorship options for colleges and universities. Schools also may use an emerging sport to help meet membership minimum sports-sponsorship requirements and financial aid requirements.


The mismeasure of hands?

Science, Feature, Mitch Leslie from

Some researchers argue that the ratio between the length of the second and fourth fingers, the 2D:4D ratio, reflects the levels of testosterone and other hormones people were exposed to in the womb. Measuring the ratio, these scientists say, can thus provide insight into the role of hormones in shaping adult attributes such as aggressiveness and sexual orientation. It may also reveal sports prowess and disease risk. But other researchers criticize this work. Ratios are statistically dubious, they contend, and the evidence linking the 2D:4D ratio to prenatal hormone levels is weak. Moreover, they say, the field of 2D:4D research is rife with unrepeatable results.


Gender Equity is Good Governance – Lessons from the Sport Sector

Sport Information Resource Centre, SIRCuit from

… Gender diversity in sport leadership is a precondition for equity in other facets of sport. Studies in the corporate sphere have shown that organizations are more likely to understand target consumers when they have at least one member who represents their target’s gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or culture (Catalyst, Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter, 2018). It has also been demonstrated that without diverse leaders, women, people of colour, and LGBT employees are less likely to have their ideas endorsed (Catalyst, 2018).

A review conducted by Canadian Securities Administrators and supported by the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance demonstrated that boards of directors with a written policy on gender equity had a higher percentage of women than those without (Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, 2018).

Within the Canadian sport sector, Triathlon New Brunswick, Ontario Soccer, and Curling Canada are three organizations that have implemented board gender equity into their governance documents. As national and provincial/territorial sport organizations move forward in creating gender equity action plans, these organizations provide examples of practices that can be adapted and implemented to suit individual contexts.


Data Revolution in Women’s Football

StatsBomb, Charlotte Randall from

It’s been nearly a year since StatsBomb announced free data for women’s football. During this time analysts, bloggers and fans have been brushing off their coding skills and navigating github to produce analysis, data visualisations and gifs all entirely focussed on women’s football.

This has been really enjoyable to watch for two reasons:

  • By removing barriers to accessing quality data we are enabling a promising data analytics talent pool to develop.
  • We are making inroads to address the gender imbalance in the football industry.


    Gender inequality and rigid norms linked with poor health, global research shows

    Stanford Medicine, Scope Blog from

    Restrictive gender expectations hurt everyone’s health, and understanding how this happens is the first step toward improving the situation around the world, according to a new series of papers published in The Lancet.

    The five papers address the health-damaging effects of gender inequality, as well as the harms caused by norms restricting acceptable behaviors of men, women and gender minorities. The papers encompass the entire lifespan, draw on data from many regions of the world, and show health harms not just for women and girls but also for men, boys, and people who do not meet traditional gender expectations.


    This Is the Most Anticipated Women’s World Cup Ever. But Corruption and Abuse Still Block Women From Soccer

    TIME, Shireen Ahmed from

    … But if the most successful and popular women’s teams in the world are fighting for their dues, imagine the obstacles of those who don’t have the platforms, who don’t have the safety and who are simply trying to keep their teams afloat. The ones whose federations are marred with corruption and abuse. The ones whose freedom and identity is tightly connected to soccer, but whose chances of ever developing and realizing a World Cup dream lies in a dark abyss. The ones whose futures and possibilities are not valued by the men who control the sport and reign from thrones of privilege and impunity.

    Seven of the 10 top-ranked women’s teams are in North America and Europe. Japan is 7th and Brazil is 10th; Australia is 6th. There are three African nations attending (Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa) this year but there are no Arab or Middle Eastern, Central Asian or South Asian teams in the tournament. As we watch, cheer and embrace the fandom that the women’s game truly deserves, it is equally important to remember the girls and women who did not make it to the world’s stage. We must think more about how to include those players in this experience of the World Cup.


    Women’s World Cup: extra time to reflect on the broader injustices women and girls face

    The Conversation, Sarah Zipp and Lilamani de Soysa from

    … In February 2019, an important step was taken when the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Swiss government agreed to carry out a feasibility study into the creation of a new “global observatory” for women and sport.

    A global observatory (a source of information, analysis and activism) would help align several parallel movements: the UN’s overall efforts to promote gender equality, its sustainable development goals in low and middle income countries, and the ongoing struggle for girls and women in sport.

    For decades, these complementary movements have helped advance social change around the globe, working to make the world into a more inclusive space. Yet at the pinnacle of women’s sport, the best athletes are undeniably treated as lesser beings.


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