Female Sports Science newsletter – June 30, 2019

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 30, 2019



Carli Lloyd is mentally ‘stronger than ever’ thanks to motivational mentor

Los Angeles Times, Kevin Baxter from

When Carli Lloyd was in college, she was supremely talented, exceptionally athletic and, her coach remembers, super lazy.

“Everything she did as a youth player came pretty easily to her,” said Glenn Crooks, who coached Lloyd at Rutgers. “The fitness aspect of it is something she lacked. It was a challenge to get her to work as hard on the defensive side of the ball.”

Then Lloyd found James Galanis, who broke her down, then built her back up again. Galanis didn’t just work on her body, he worked on her mind. And that may have been the most important step in Lloyd’s transition from undisciplined college athlete to one of the most clutch players in women’s soccer.

“I would spend time after sessions to take Carli into the mind of the some of the greatest athletes that ever lived — Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, Diego Maradona,” Galanis said. “I would make the connection that these athletes loved pressure and thrived in it. When pressure surfaced, their game went to the next level and [they] kept breaking barriers until they won.”


Bianca Andreescu – Mississauga teen tennis triumph makes history at Indian Wells

Mississauga.com, Laurie Wallace-Lynch from

Like many teens who have just won an important game, 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu, along with her coach went out to celebrate with a burger. Only this Mississauga teen had just made history (in March) by becoming the first wild-card entry – and the first Canadian – to win a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Premier tournament (the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California) in a dramatic upset over three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber.

Bianca is also the youngest player to win the final at Indian Wells since Serena Williams did it in 1999. It’s Bianca’s first WTA title. Yet at one point in the match, was looking like it wasn’t going to happen.

Fighting severe fatigue, burning feet and cramping in the gruelling third and deciding set, Bianca called on her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, for advice. In a life-changing moment Bruneau found the magic words to inspire Bianca to push on to victory.


Steph Houghton on Her Evolution as England Captain

Our Game Magazine, Richard Laverty from

… The center back admits the new role took its toll in the first few months, but she’s grown into leading the team over the last five-and-a-half-years.

“That first six months, I don’t think I performed my best, but I think that was something I probably had to go through in a learning curve in terms of trying to develop into the captain I want to be today.

“It’s taken a long time in terms of perfecting that and being comfortable with how I am, but at the same time, there’s a lot of work that went on off the pitch that people probably don’t see, the conversations you have. I feel as though I’m comfortable in that role and it really brings out the best in me as a player and a person.”


Molly Huddle on Why and How to Run Outside Your Comfort Zone

Runner's World, Molly Huddle from

… I’ve learned to recognize and value things that make me feel this way because I notice they lead to the most growth. In running or in life, I’ve found it really important to not shy away from races, workouts, exercises, or experiences that I know I’m not great at or familiar with. It’s a fine balance between preserving your focus and confidence and discovering and sharpening weak areas, but I think it’s an important part of making a breakthrough.


How Megan Jastrab became U.S. cycling’s newest star

VeloNews, Chris Case from

Not long ago Megan Jastrab was riding a BMX bike in her neighborhood in California. Today, she’s American cycling’s brightest new star. We go inside Jastrab’s rapid rise


After Losing Basketball, Lauren Holiday Found Strength In Family

WBUR, Only A Game, Matthew Stock from

When Aaron Holiday’s name was called at last year’s NBA Draft, basketball fans were already familiar with his family. His brother, Jrue, is a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans and a member of the NBA’s all-defensive team. His other brother, Justin, is a six-year NBA veteran. Their parents, Toya and Shawn, both played college basketball at Arizona State. But those fans may not have known about Toya and Shawn’s other child: Lauren.

“People should know that she was a really good basketball player,” Aaron says. “She was probably the best out of all four of us. But most people wouldn’t know that because they didn’t see her play.”



Sex Differences in the Pulmonary System Influence the Integrative Response to Exercise

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews from

Healthy women have proportionally smaller lungs and airways compared with height-matched men. These anatomical sex-based differences result in greater mechanical ventilatory constraints and may influence the integrative response to exercise. Our review will examine this hypothesis in healthy humans in the context of dynamic whole-body exercise.


Performance coach Dawn Scott key to USA success behind the scenes

FIFA.com from

… So while in France, what exactly does her Women’s World Cup role look like?

“Players will start in the morning by filling in a wellness platform as well as doing a urine test so we can get their immediate hydration status,” Scott explains. “Once we have that information, I then follow up with the players who I feel might need some hydration fluid to rehydrate.

“If a player reports any sort of soreness I then follow up with our medical team and liaise with our coaches to plan out our training for later that day.”


Our new preliminary paper coming out … menstrual cycle phase of women affects the recovery responses for muscle damage-inflammation following endurance exercise

Twitter, AC Hackney from


“Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end”

Twitter, FOX Soccer from

Marta’s message for Brazil’s next generation will give you CHILLS. [video, 0:30]


Couldn’t have said it better myself. Perhaps the biggest impact of menstrual status pertains to perceived side effects (good or bad) rather than purely physiology based effects.

Twitter, Kirsty Sale, Graeme L. Close from

A valid point that more research on females is needed. Not a valid point that most research is not applicabe to females unless there is a solid reason to suggest they would respond differently. Probably wrong to say only 3% is transferable.


Getting Back Into Sport After Giving Birth

Women's Sports Foundation, The She Network, Marion Codino from

As an athletic woman, you may think your body can handle any physical challenge easily. Though when it comes bouncing back after pregnancy, there are some things to consider. No matter how old you are, how many pregnancies you have had, or what type of delivery you experienced, postpartum rehabilitation should be a priority after giving birth.

For women who have recently given birth, rebuilding muscle and regaining tonicity are very important before resuming sport and other forms of physical activity. As a first step, women should begin to strengthen the perineum and abdominal strap and follow up with overall muscular strength. Particularly emphasizing back and abdominal exercises will help avoid lower back pain.



Best female health tracking apps: Tracking your period, ovulati

Pocket-lint, Britta O'Boyle from

… There are a number of apps you can use to track your period and predict ovulation and fertility windows, from Fitbit to Natural Cycles, and Apple is also launching female health tracking on iPhone and Apple Watch later this year too.

Here are some of the best female period tracking apps and devices we’ve used to monitor our cycle, ovulation and fertility so far.


sports medicine

How Is Psychological Outcome Related to Knee Function and Return to Sport Among Adolescent Athletes After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction?

American Journal of Sports Medicine from


Adult patients who succeed in returning to their preinjury levels of sport after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction have been characterized by a more positive psychological response. It is not known whether this relationship is valid for adolescent athletes.

To investigate psychological readiness to return to sport, knee-related self-efficacy, and motivation among adolescent (15-20 years old) and adult (21-30 years old) athletes after ACL reconstruction. A further aim was to compare athletes (15-30 years old) who had recovered their muscle function and returned to sport with athletes who had not.
Study Design:

Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3.

Data were extracted from a rehabilitation-specific register 8 and 12 months after ACL reconstruction. Athletes previously involved in knee-strenuous sport who had undergone primary ACL reconstruction were included. Data comprised psychological patient-reported outcomes and results from 5 tests of muscle function. Comparisons were performed between age groups, between athletes who had and had not recovered their muscle function, and between patients who had returned to sport and not.

In all, 384 (50% females) and 271 athletes (52% females) were included at the 8- and 12- month follow-ups, respectively. Enhanced self-efficacy was reported at both follow-ups by adolescents and by athletes who had recovered their muscle function. Athletes who had recovered their muscle function reported higher (P = .0007) motivation to achieve their goals. Subgroup analyses on patient sex revealed findings similar to those in the main analyses for females but not for males. Moreover, adolescent and adult athletes who had returned to sport reported significantly higher levels on the Knee Self-Efficacy Scale and the ACL–Return to Sport After Injury scale at both follow-ups.

Adolescent athletes, especially females, perceived enhanced self-efficacy, had a higher return-to-sport rate, and were more motivated to reach their goals after ACL reconstruction compared with adults. Regardless of age, athletes who had returned to sport and athletes with more symmetrical muscle function had a stronger psychological profile.


Keep Kicking to Prevent Hip Soccer Injuries

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, John T. Richards, MD and Jonathan F. Dickens, MD from

… The most common hip injuries affecting female soccer players are pulled muscles and bruises.1,2 Pulled muscles are non-contact injuries that occur when muscles are overstretched and torn. These injuries range from minor, small tears to complete tears. Muscle strains most commonly occur during activities such as landing from a jump. Muscle strains are common in the muscles surrounding the hip, including the hamstrings, groin, and thigh. Depending on the severity most strains are treated effectively with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. Proper conditioning, warm ups and stretching are all important to prevent muscle strains.


Yentl Syndrome: A Deadly Data Bias Against Women

Longreads, Caroline Criado Perez from

The science of medicine is based on male bodies, but researchers are beginning to realize how vastly the symptoms of disease differ between the sexes — and how much danger women are in.


This morning I saw a 14 year old female soccer player 6 months s/p ACLR who is “cleared to play”.

Twitter, Nicole Surdyka from

Obvious wt shift onto uninvolved leg during squat, anterior knee pain with lunging, 60% quad strength LSI (neither one at BW), asymmetric SL hop with stiff & hip dominant landing. [thread]



Iron considerations for the athlete: a narrative review | SpringerLink

European Journal of Applied Physiology from

Iron plays a significant role in the body, and is specifically important to athletes, since it is a dominant feature in processes such as oxygen transport and energy metabolism. Despite its importance, athlete populations, especially females and endurance athletes, are commonly diagnosed with iron deficiency, suggesting an association between sport performance and iron regulation. Although iron deficiency is most common in female athletes (~ 15–35% athlete cohorts deficient), approximately 5–11% of male athlete cohorts also present with this issue. Furthermore, interest has grown in the mechanisms that influence iron absorption in athletes over the last decade, with the link between iron regulation and exercise becoming a research focus. Specifically, exercise-induced increases in the master iron regulatory hormone, hepcidin, has been highlighted as a contributing factor towards altered iron metabolism in athletes. To date, a plethora of research has been conducted, including investigation into the impact that sex hormones, diet (e.g. macronutrient manipulation), training and environmental stress (e.g. hypoxia due to altitude training) have on an athlete’s iron status, with numerous recommendations proposed for consideration. This review summarises the current state of research with respect to the aforementioned factors, drawing conclusions and recommendations for future work.


4 Myths about Testosterone

Scientific American, Observations blog, By Rebecca M. Jordan-Young and Katrina Karkazis from

… Myth 1: T is the “master molecule of athleticism.” T’s effect on athletic performance isn’t always positive, as the IAAF’s own data on elite women athletes well demonstrates. Its initial analysis of data from two world championship competitions showed that women with higher T had significantly better performances in only five of 21 events.

Serious methodological problems with the IAAF paper prompted independent researchers to call for the paper’s retraction, and the IAAF issued a correction. But the corrected version still undermines the regulation. In three of 11 running events, the lowest T group did better, and the strongest association across all events was the negative association between T and performance in the 100 meters, where lower T athletes ran 5.4 percent faster than the highest T athletes. In none of the events where high T athletes performed better was the gap greater than 2.9 percent.



Why is the U.S. women’s World Cup roster so white? Behind U.S. soccer’s diversity dilemma

Goal.com, Ameé Ruszkai from

Amir Lowery and Simon Landau, who run Open Goal Project in Washington D.C., have criticized how low-income families are priced out of soccer


Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills

Harvard Business Review, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman from

For the first time in history, a major political party in the United States has several women who have declared their candidacy to be their party’s presidential nominee. But TV pundits have been questioning whether, despite the progress indicated by the huge influx of women elected into Congress last fall, the U.S. is ever going to elect a woman to the country’s highest leadership position.

This is baffling to us, especially in light of what we see in our corporate research. In two articles from 2012 (here and here) we discussed findings from our analysis of 360-degree reviews that women in leadership positions were perceived as being every bit as effective as men. In fact, while the differences were not huge, women scored at a statistically significantly higher level than men on the vast majority of leadership competencies we measured.

We recently updated that research, again looking at our database of 360-degree reviews in which we ask individuals to rate each leaders’ effectiveness overall and to judge how strong they are on specific competencies, and had similar findings: that women in leadership positions are perceived just as — if not more — competent as their male counterparts.


An ode to Sam Kerr

StatsBomb, Mark Thompson from

Kerr managed eight of her ten footed shots with no outfield defenders in the cone between her and goal, an extraordinary 80% rate. Apart from Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen, who managed to make ten of her 12 shots completely unobstructed by defenders, no-one really comes close. Only four forwards in the entire tournament have managed more than five of these clear shots.

It’s this skill in slipping in the gaps between defenders and making a run at the right time that led to her having one of the best figures for the average quality of her shots. Taking out her penalty rebound which will naturally skew the figures, these shots of Kerr’s have had an average expected goals value of 0.19; none of the other six players to have taken ten or more of this type of shot this tournament can beat that.


World Cup prompts unprecedented global explosion for women’s football

The Guardian, Sean Ingle from

… According to Fifa, France’s match against Brazil at the weekend got the biggest TV audience for a Women’s World Cup match with 35 million watching in Brazil and another 10.6 million in France. There was a similarly uplifting story in the Netherlands, where the victory against Japan on Tuesday was watched by 3.54 million – the fourth-highest TV rating for any sporting event in the country during 2019.
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Italy’s manager, Milena Bertolini, has noted the effect that the team’s progress into the quarter-finals has had on attitudes back home. “I know cultural changes take a lot of time, but this team are able to break down some of those prejudices,” she said. “That’s their mission.”


The Importance of Photographing Women in Sports

WIRED, Photo, Laura Mallonee from

Alana Paterson knows how isolating it can be to compete in an intensely male-dominated arena. She’s not only a photographer—a job disproportionately occupied by men—but also a skateboarder. Growing up in the late 1990s in British Columbia, she’d enter competitions with dozens of male contestants but just two or three other girls. The only other female skateboarders she saw in those pre-Instagram days were in magazines, “and they published maybe a handful of photos a year,” she says.

Now that Paterson’s behind the camera, she’s turning it on female athletes like herself. For her series Title IX, she documented junior and college hockey players from 14 teams across the US and Canada. It’s part of a larger body of work that gives visibility to women in sport.

“One of the biggest things researchers are finding that keeps girls engaged in sports is access to their heroes and mentors—even if it’s just seeing them,” Paterson says.


Why American Women Are So Good At Soccer

YouTube, Business Insider from

The US Women’s national soccer team is ranked No. 1 in the world, and there are several reasons for that. One is Title IX, which legislators passed in 1972. In response, high school and college programs across the country started women’s soccer programs. And a rise in the number of players translated to a rise in talent. [video, 5:10]



Ellen Wille, the mother of women’s football

France 24, Sophie Gorman from

1986 was a pivotal year in the development of women’s football. At the 45th Fifa Congress, a woman was invited to speak for the first time. This woman was Ellen Wille, now considered by many to be the ‘mother’ of contemporary women’s football.

Wille used her moment in the spotlight to demand that women’s football no longer be ignored. Unexpectedly, the majority of male delegates agreed. Women’s football was belatedly getting its deserved place on the global pitch.


game ended in Seattle at 6:30p. We’ve been at the airport since 7:45p. Flight was SUPPOSED to depart at 10:30p

Twitter, Natalie Achonwa from

(had an hr layover in ATL, then to IND). Delayed till 11:30p. Board the plane, but now we just had to deplane for “mechanical issues”. [thread]


47 Years Later, Title IX’s Impact Still Resonates Throughout Women’s Sports

Women's Sports Foundation, Kristen Gowdy from

Title IX was passed on June 23, 1972. In thirty-seven words, its purpose was clear: to eliminate sex discrimination in educational programs. At the time of its passage, no one could have anticipated the impact this law would have on sports opportunities for girls and women in the United States. Women and girls’ participation in sports has increased exponentially since Title IX’s passage but there are still schools that are not in full compliance with the law.

On its anniversary, we highlight the case of one of these girls – a high school student-athlete in Pennsylvania whose mother, Lin Fessler, reached out to the Women’s Sports Foundation for guidance after she discovered potential Title IX violations within her community. We caught up with Lin to discuss the situation, her research and the resources she was able to get from WSF to aid her in her process.


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