Applied Sports Science newsletter – January 5, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for January 5, 2017


Giannis Antetokounmpo: Bucks Unleash The Greek Freak, Lee Jenkins from

On the worst nights, when the fadeaways are short and the pocket passes are late, Giannis Antetokounmpo skips the showers. He storms out of the Bradley Center in full uniform, from home locker room to player parking lot, and hops into the black Explorer the local Ford dealer lent him. He turns right on North 4th Street in downtown Milwaukee, steers toward the Hoan Bridge and continues six miles south to the Catholic seminary in St. Francis, where the priests pray and the Bucks train and The Freak dispenses his rage. Alone, Antetokounmpo reenacts the game he just played, every shot he clanked and every read he missed. Sometimes, he leaves by 1 a.m. Other times, he stays until three, sweating through his white jersey for a second time. “I get so mad, and if I go right home, I’m afraid I’ll never get that anger out,” Antetokounmpo says. “This is how I get the anger away.”


Why NFL officials don’t like being assigned to wild-card games

The Sacramento Bee, Mike Pereira from

… After the season-long evaluation, their score places them in one of three tiers. If an official finishes in the top tier, he or she is eligible to work the Super Bowl or one of the conference championship games. Tier II officials are eligible to work wild-card or divisional playoff games. Tier III officials are left home and likely put on probation. Consecutive years in Tier III probably means weekends at home next fall and beyond. We can conclude the officials for this weekend’s games will come from Tier II.

It all sounds reasonable, right? Not to me.

This system of evaluation is based on individual performance and not the performance of the crew. I believe in the crew concept. Why put individuals together who likely have not worked together during the season or maybe ever? Why not advance the crews that performed the best over the season while becoming familiar with each official’s strengths and weaknesses?


Keep Your Eye on the Balls to Become a Better Athlete

The New York Times, Zach Schonbrun from

The acid-yellow spheres on the screen don’t look anything like the linebackers that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan tries to avoid each week. Nor do they resemble an English Premier League soccer player streaking down the field, or a puck hurtling across the ice in a National Hockey League game. If anything, they look like finely sheared tennis balls.

The beauty in the design of NeuroTracker — the video game aimed at heightening cognitive agility the way lifting dumbbells develops muscles — is allegedly its simplicity. Just by asking the eyes to track spheres as they bound around a 3D screen, athletes can prepare their brains to perform in a way that no other film room could replicate.

At least, that was Jocelyn Faubert’s goal when he created NeuroTracker out of his optometry research laboratory at the University of Montreal in 2009. He made it in the mold of Lumosity, the wildly successful brain-gaming app. Instead of targeting baby boomers, however, Faubert designed NeuroTracker for the sports arena.


At Chelsea, Antonio Conte’s Personal Touch Proves a Winning One

The New York Times, Rory Smith from

Everyone at Chelsea agrees on the who. The players, the coaches and the platoon of staff members behind the scenes all say that, in six months as manager, Antonio Conte has transformed the club. He has given a team that seemed to have lost its shine the veneer of a champion.

Nobody has any doubt about that. After all, the evidence is overwhelming: Chelsea, only months removed from a season in which José Mourinho’s second coming came crashing to a screeching halt, is purring again. Conte’s team sits 5 points clear at the top of the Premier League. Beat Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, and not only will that lead stretch to 8, but a record will be claimed, too: It would be Chelsea’s 14th consecutive win, the best single-season run in the history of the Premier League.

Nobody has any doubt that Conte is responsible. What they cannot quite agree on is how.


David Wagner exclusive: “We want speed in our game, everything full throttle”

The Set Pieces, Matt Pearson from

… “There are hundreds, more than hundreds, of small pieces that are the reasons why we’ve achieved what we have so far,” Wagner says from his office in a newly developed building behind the pristine pitches of Huddersfield’s Canalside training facility.

“The unity and togetherness we have plays a big part but there’s recruitment, the positive atmosphere and all the development off the pitch.

“We are now averaging (crowds of) 20,000 where last season it was 12,000 – everyone feels like there’s something happening and everybody wants to be part of this. I think when you bring all the pieces together you have the base to be successful and then it’s all about work. A lot of work.”


Debriefing Facilitation Guide – Leading Groups at Etsy to Learn From Accidents

Etsy from

At Etsy, we believe that when failures happen, we have a simple choice to make:

  • Do we want to react to this failure from a place of hindsight and judgment of people’s actions
    and decisions taken out of context?
  • Or do we want to truly learn from the event by giving voice to the diverse perspectives and
    stories of the people closest to the work?
  • It should be obvious at this point, but we choose the latter option. [pdf]


    Want to Lose Weight in the New Year? Know Your Numbers First

    Runner's World, Newswire, Amby Burfoot from

    Runners tend to have an attraction for numbers, tracking their weekly mileage, various PRs, the wind chill and humidity, and so on. This numeracy can come in handy if you’re planning a weight-loss program for the coming year.

    Despite heated controversy on all sides, most weight-loss experts acknowledge that “energy balance” is still the key. To lose weight, you’ve got to burn more calories than you consume. Here are some numbers that will help you track your “in” and “out” totals, and your potential weight loss results.

    Calories burned per mile


    Does Physical Self-Concept Mediate the Relationship between Motor Abilities and Physical Activity in Adolescents and Young Adults?

    PLOS One; Darko Jekauc et al. from

    The purpose of this study is to examine the reciprocal relationship between motor abilities and physical activity and the mediation effects of physical self-concept in this relationship using longitudinal data. We expect that the effects of motor abilities on physical activity are rather indirect via physical self-concept and that the effects of physical activity on motor abilities are rather direct without involvement of the motor ability self-concept. Data was obtained from the Motorik-Modul (MoMo) Longitudinal Study in which 335 boys and 363 girls aged 11–17 years old at Baseline were examined twice in a period of six years. Physical activity was assessed by the MoMo Physical Activity Questionnaire for adolescents, physical self-concept by Physical Self-Description Questionnaire and motor abilities by MoMo Motor Test which comprised of the dimensions strength, endurance, coordination and flexibility. Multiple regression analyses were used to analyse the direct and indirect effects. The results of the multiple regression analyses show that the effects of motor abilities on physical activity were only indirect for the dimensions strength, coordination, and flexibility. For the dimension endurance, neither direct nor indirect effects were significant. In the opposite direction, the effects of physical activity on motor abilities were partially mediated by the self-concept of strength. For the dimensions endurance, coordination and flexibility, only indirect were significant. The results of this study support the assumption that the relationship between motor abilities and physical activity is mediated by physical self-concept in both directions. Physical self-concept seems to be an important determinant of adolescents´ physical activity. [full text]


    The Year in Nike Innovation

    Nike News from

    Nine designs in 2016 that underscore the company’s commitment to furthering human potential.

    1. Nike HyperAdapt 1.0


    Polar’s next fitness wearable is a smart shirt

    Engadget, Daniel Cooper from

    The Team Pro Shirt will attempt to best competing garments from Hexoskin and OMSignal.


    The future of drug testing in cycling

    Cyclist, James Witts from

    … as BBC investigative journalist Mark Daly showed in 2015, it’s easy to beat the passport by micro-dosing, even without the historic diluting agent of water.

    It makes depressing reading but some scientists claim to have created new ways of catching the dopers.


    10 Top Strategies To Break Your Sugar Habit, Matthew Kadey from

    Life is sweet, all right—so sweet that the average American now eats about 129 pounds of caloric sweeteners each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While a dedicated triathlete can get away with consuming a bit more sugar than a couch potato, it’s still a good idea to limit intake for overall better health and performance; a diet high in the sweet stuff is linked to everything from weight gain to diabetes to recovery-impairing inflammation. Plus, high-sugar foods may crowd out other more nutritious options that can better fuel workouts and help repair muscles. But the ubiquitousness of added sweeteners hidden in our food supply can make it a challenge to scale back. Presenting 10 tactics to make your diet a little less saccharine.


    Richmond’s Jimmy VanOstrand lands unique job with Mariners | The Province

    PostMedia, The Province from

    The title of most interesting job might belong to Jimmy VanOstrand.

    VanOstrand, 32, a former minor-league slugger from Richmond, was hired by the Seattle Mariners this off-season as coordinator of character and leadership development for their farm system.


    Inside Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni’s Houston Basketball Laboratory

    The Ringer, Kevin O'Connor from

    The player-coach-GM trio of James Harden, Mike D’Antoni, and Daryl Morey seem made for one another, and that’s because they needed one another. An inside look at the Rockets’ blistering start to the season.


    Maximizing expected value != maximizing win probability

    StatsbyLopez, Juho Jokinen from

    Lately, there has been some discussion about choosing between the extra point kick and the 2-point conversion, as well as the criteria NFL coaches should use in different situations when deciding plays. The most common argument I read is “this play has more expected points so it’s better in a long run.” While expected points give us some information about the value of our choice, I’ll point out that we should try to compare how our choices affect win probability because that is the ultimate outcome.

    So, lets play a game where we have two conversion options and they are the only way to score. For sake of simplicity, assume we have to choose before the game what conversion type we are going to use. At the end, we can compare which conversion strategy leads to more points more often.


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