Applied Sports Science newsletter – March 18, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for March 18, 2017


How the Utah Jazz turned Rudy Gobert into the next Bill Russell

ESPN NBA, True Hoop, Tim MacMahon from

… Lindsey painstakingly detailed was Utah’s long-term developmental plan for the player who had already earned the nickname the “Stifle Tower.” The short version, according to Lindsey: “Making Rudy safer, stronger and more skilled.” But he was deep into the particulars of the plan that had been in place since the Jazz selected Gobert with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft.

That meant cracking open a thick binder that contains all of Gobert’s diagnostic testing results from P3, the sports science company the Jazz work with extensively, and poring over the data. They discussed in great length the most scientifically sound path for him to prevent injuries and continue to add functional strength.


EXOS Athletes Excel at 2017 NFL Combine

EXOS from

EXOS athletes showcased their strength, power, speed, and explosiveness at the 2017 NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this year, as the 95 supported athletes produced a record 292 top performances across their position groups.


In press @RafaelNadal alludes 2 player size/strength outpacing the sport. I asked him to elaborate. “The net is still at the same altitude.

Twitter, Douglas Robson from


How A Random Email Led Texan Kehri Jones From The Track To A Bobsled World Title

Team USA, Scott McDonald from

… It all began in 2014 when two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor was recruiting potential brakeman for Team USA. So she reached out to Chris Ruf, the strength and conditioning coach for the Baylor track and field teams, who gave a glowing recommendation for his graduating sprinter Jones.

“As she was finishing her collegiate career, we felt she had the speed, strength, adaptability and drive to make the switch to bobsled, but were unsure how her smaller stature would carry over,” Ruf said.


Kevin Shattenkirk back and Nate Schmidt shining, what happens to Brooks Orpik now?

The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan from

In his 13th full NHL season, Brooks Orpik didn’t need to be told his role on the Washington Capitals was changing. As the preseason wore on and the defenseman often found himself paired with Nate Schmidt, he was perceptive enough to understand he’d likely be playing less this season. And with that realization came … nothing. No outburst. No venting. Not even a conversation with the Capitals coaches.

“I wasn’t really told about it,” Orpik said. “You guys knew about it before I did, so that was a little strange. . . . If they think that’s what’s more beneficial for the team, then you’ve just got to go with it.”

Orpik’s ice time has been down roughly two minutes per game from last season as he’s gone from being a top-four defenseman for Washington to the team’s third pairing. With his stature in the locker room and because he wears the alternate captain’s “A” for the Capitals, few of his teammates would have blamed Orpik for objecting to the reduced role. Instead, his acceptance set an example for the rest of the team as Coach Barry Trotz has balanced the ice time across the lineup, even lowering minutes for captain Alex Ovechkin.


Balance. Delegate. Set goals. Coach K, Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, and more have plenty to say

USA Today Sports, Nicole Auerbach from

Roy Williams, North Carolina

“How demanding the season is in terms of your stamina. You can’t try to win your February games your first week of practice. I’d do a little bit of a better job trying to plan for the whole year instead of trying to beat them to death every single day and push them as hard as I could. Trying to emphasize the long-term goals much more, and keep that in mind for the kids. But I had such a great teacher (Dean Smith), so I wouldn’t change too many things that I did because I just followed what Coach Smith taught me.


A New View of the Self: The Psychology of Connection

Heleo, Dan Siegel and Scott Barry Kaufman from

Scott: I never thought of that link before, and it makes so much sense. You trust your own experiences and thoughts, and you’re not as attached to them in an insecure, anxious, dependent way. I just finished my own eight-week MBSR course here at Penn and can resonate with a lot of things you talk about in your book.

Going through it and meditating does make me more a caring, compassionate person both towards myself and others, but why is that the case? All I’m doing, seemingly, is sitting there for 40 minutes a day and listening to my thoughts and becoming aware of my breath. Why does that lead to compassion?

Dan: The short version is, what you train gets stronger. Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows. When you do 40 minutes a day of this stuff, you’re changing your brain. That’s pretty amazing, and that’s why you see a shift.

But when you deep dive into the mind, the mind is this self-organizing emergent property of energy flow that’s happening both within you and between you. This is a way of saying that your mental life is shaped by things that happen not just in your brain, but in your whole body and in your connections to other people and nature.


Niyo: Sanderson’s unique program makes UM bigger, stronger, faster

Detroit News, John Niyo from

diagram his two-guard offense and the basketballs with the thick black line he uses to help players find the perfect shot rotation.

But there’s something else he trusts implicitly now, after nearly 40 years of coaching college basketball. And you’ll find it inside the aptly named William Davidson Player Development Center adjacent to Michigan’s Crisler Center.

The name of the building — a $23-million facility that opened in 2012 — is also the name of the game for Michigan basketball, as Beilein has built a successful Big Ten program around a quaint-sounding notion in today’s college game: Developing players. And these days, that’s a task that goes far beyond the fundamentals that Beilein, who needs one more win to become Michigan’s all-time winningest coach, teaches on the court.


“…but what IS a mental skills coach?”

The Micheli Center, Kelsey Griffith from

“…but what IS a mental skills coach?”

If you’re asking this question, you’re certainly not alone. When I explain to people my role as a mental skills coach [Performance Enhancement and Rehab Specialist], the knee-jerk reaction is generally, “Can you fix me?! I’m a mess.” or “That stuff freaks me out. I don’t want someone analyzing me.”

The thing is, my job isn’t to fix anything. It’s to help athletes recognize the mental skills they have at their disposal and to harness the potential these tools have in bettering performance. Much like a strength and conditioning specialist, whose job is to optimize performance via physical capabilities, my job is to optimize performance via mental capabilities.


Proper Posture in Distance Running

Complete Track and Field from

… The amplitudes of running movement observed in distance running paces, particularly at the hip joint, vary with velocity, however the degree of hip extension observed remains fairly consistent at all paces.

Studies have shown that the degree of hip flexion observed in running varies greatly with pace. Slow paces show low degrees of hip flexion, and increases in velocity show consistent increases in hip flexion. This influences ground contact.


The Biomechanics of a 2-Hour Marathon

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

Three groups, one from Nike, one from Adidas, and one independent project, are currently pursuing the seemingly far-fetched goal of a sub-two-hour marathon. What would it take to get there? A new paper published today in the journal Sports Medicine argues that some relatively simple adjustments like lighter shoes and a cooperative drafting strategy “could result in a time well below the 2-hour marathon barrier.”

The analysis comes from Wouter Hoogkamer and Rodger Kram of the University of Colorado, and their former colleague Christopher Arellano, who is now at the University of Houston. Using Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 as a baseline, they consider a wide variety of approaches that might enable a runner to cover 26.2-miles the required 2.5 percent faster.


The Enduring Wisdom of a 1972 Book About Tennis

New York Magazine, Science of Us blog, Brad Stulberg from

This year’s Super Bowl–winning hero Tom Brady is merely the latest in a long line of sporting legends — including Steve Kerr, Pete Carroll, and Billie Jean King — who credit a little book about tennis with helping them to stay cool, calm, and collected under pressure. The book, called The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance, was written by Timothy Gallwey, a Harvard English major turned Zen tennis instructor. Initially published in 1972, the book has sold over one million copies and has never been out of print. Perhaps that’s because its main premise — that you need to get out of your own way — is not only a timeless key to peak performance on the playing field, but also off of it. But what’s especially fascinating is that more than 40 years after the book first came out, now-emerging science supports nearly all of its insights, many of which, like how to thrive in unsettling times, are as relevant as ever.


The Preferred Movement Path Paradigm: Influence of Running Shoes on Joint Movement.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal from

Purpose: (a) to quantify differences in lower extremity joint kinematics for groups of runners subjected to different running footwear conditions, and (b) to quantify differences in lower extremity joint kinematics on an individual basis for runners subjected to different running footwear conditions.

Methods: Three-dimensional ankle and knee joint kinematics were collected for 35 heel-toe runners when wearing three different running shoes and when running barefoot. Absolute mean differences in ankle and knee joint kinematics were computed between running shoe conditions. The percentage of individual runners who displayed differences below a 2[degrees], 3[degrees] and 5[degrees] threshold were also calculated.

Results: The results indicate that the mean kinematics of the ankle and knee joints were similar between running shoe conditions. Aside from ankle dorsi-flexion and knee flexion, the percentage of runners maintaining their movement path between running shoes (i.e. less than 3[degrees]) was in the order of magnitude of about 80 to 100%. Many runners showed ankle and knee joint kinematics that differed between a conventional running shoe and barefoot by more than 3[degrees], especially for ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion

Conclusion: Many runners stay in the same movement path (the preferred movement path) when running in various different footwear conditions. The percentage of runners maintaining their preferred movement path depends on the magnitude of the change introduced by the footwear condition.


Germany’s ‘Mini-Mourinho’ taking the Bundesliga by storm

The World Game, SBS (Australia), Sebastian Hassett from

Julian Nagelsmann’s attitude towards management is remarkably simple: “30 per cent of coaching is tactics, 70 per cent is social competence.”


Rothman study finds young athletes specializing at still younger ages, Rita Giordano from

Youth athletes tend to specialize in a single sport at younger ages than college or professional athletes, according to a new study from the Rothman Institute — a concern because training and competing in one sport in the early years has been linked to a higher risk of injuries.

Michael Ciccotti, the Phillies’ head physician and director of sports medicine for Rothman, was colead author of the study, which also found that less than a quarter of the professionals surveyed would want their own offspring to play only one sport in their childhood or teenage years.

“There is a strong, growing sentiment in the sports medicine community in the United States and throughout the world that early sports specialization may increase the rate of injury for young athletes without enhancing their performance,” Ciccotti said.


The first rule of sports (and all) parenting: Don’t speak

The Washington Post, Nancy Star from

Your child doesn’t have to play in the Super Bowl for you to know the feeling. Their team was supposed to win and then they didn’t. What do you do? Being the mother of two girls who played soccer and ran track, I thought I knew the answer: Talk it through. Tell them you love them. Say it’s just a game. Remind them there’s always a next time. Isn’t that what good parenting is all about? Keeping channels of communication open even in tough moments?

Turns out the answer is no. I learned this when I had a “don’t speak” moment.


A scientific understanding of the benefits of sleep

Metrifit, Eunan Whyte from

The importance of sleep in helping us perform to our best is something that we have accepted despite the lack of an in-depth scientific understanding; but this is something that is changing with the recent publication of research on the area. The benefit of sleep and recovery for an elite athlete is an issue we have dealt with on a number of occasions, and a recent study has helped provide a more scientific explanation of why it is so important. Getting sufficient sleep is essential in order to function successfully in any walk of life, but in the area of sport it has huge significance. When millimeters and fractions of seconds can be the difference between success and failure, athletes and coaches are always looking for ways to improve, and there is no doubt that sleep can play a significant role. One of the problems in analyzing the issue of sleep is that although its importance is universally accepted, there is a difficulty in understanding precisely what is happening during the process and how exactly it benefits us.


Effects of a systemic enzyme therapy in healthy active adults after exhaustive eccentric exercise: a randomised, two-stage, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine from

Background Systemic enzyme therapy may improve symptoms of exhaustive eccentric exercise due to anti-inflammatory properties.

Methods In a randomised, placebo-controlled, two-stage clinical trial, systemic enzyme therapy (Wobenzym) was administered for 72 hours before and 72 hours following a day on which subjects performed an exhaustive eccentric exercise (isokinetic loading of the quadriceps). Efficacy criteria (maximal strength and pain) and time points were selected to account for the multidimensional nature of exercise-induced muscle damage symptoms. Subjects were randomised in a crossover (stage I, n=28) and parallel group design (stage II, n=44).

Results Analysis of stage I data demonstrated a significant superiority (Mann-Whitney=0.6153; p=0.0332; one sided) for systemic enzyme therapy compared with placebo. Stage II was designed as a randomised controlled parallel group comparison. Heterogeneity (I2>0.5) between stages led to separate analyses of stage I (endurance-trained subjects) and stage II (strength-trained subjects). Combined analysis resulted in no evidence for corresponding treatment effects. Analysis of pooled biomarker data, however, demonstrated significant favourable effects for systemic enzyme therapy in both stages.

Conclusion Systemic enzyme therapy before and after exhaustive eccentric exercise resulted in higher maximal concentric strength in the less strength-trained subjects (stage I) and in significant favourable effects on biomarkers (inflammatory, metabolic and immune) in all subjects. The application of these findings needs further evaluation. [full text]


How World Leading Athletes Sleep

Medium, Michael Gervais from

… If you’re noticing that you’re just a bit less sharp (mentally) and your mood and reaction time are off, then sleep debt could be the culprit. In which, getting more sleep could be a key to unlock increased performance in your life (sport). Right? It’s not that simple though — a recent study by Cohen, et al. (2010) found that the residual effects of chronic sleep loss are not made-up with a good night of “extra” sleep, especially for performances that occurred the following evening. In other words, after we get some good quality sleep (after the night of sleep loss), we feel fresh during that day, but by the next evening, we are still “off.” And if the sleep-debt cycle repeats itself, we’re likely to really have subsequent performance challenges.

So what does this all mean to you?


The David Rubenstein Show: Peer to Peer Conversations

Bloomberg from

Episode 2: Mike Krzyzewski “Coach K”, Duke University Men’s Basketball Head Coach


What’s the difference between a sportsman and an athlete?

The New Statesman, Ed Smith from

… The real lessons of Team Sky have little to do with incremental changes. Instead, look at the grand sweep of history and the development of the human body. The crisis at Team Sky – and the new damage to cycling, already so tarnished by repeated scandals involving performance-enhancing drugs – contribute to questions about the long-term trajectory of various types of sport.

Sports that are overwhelmingly determined by physical virtuosity alone are in a state of sustained crisis. As a rule of thumb, if success and failure are measured exclusively with a stopwatch, then the sport faces a bleak future. The near disappearance of track and field as an everyday spectator sport is not explained by “greedy football”: it’s because people’s faith in what they are watching has gradually evaporated.

Second, the management class in all elite, and especially stopwatch, sports faces an existential crisis. Coaches and trainers are more famous and wealthier than ever, yet their contribution to absolute improvement is shrinking to the point of invisibility.


Better sleep feels like winning the lottery

University of Warwick from

Improving your sleep quality is as beneficial to health and happiness as winning the lottery, according to research by the University of Warwick.

Dr Nicole Tang in the Department of Psychology has discovered that working on getting a better night’s sleep can lead to optimal physical and mental wellbeing over time – and that quality of sleep is more important than how many hours you get.


Trainer Anthony Citriniti Keeps the Legends Ready and Able

NBA D-League, Texas Legends from

The Texas Legends are one of the most forward-thinking operations in not just the NBA D-League, but of any sports team, minor league or major league. This past summer they brought in Pittsburgh native Anthony Citriniti to head up their evolving training department.

“I grew up playing hockey and really involved in sports,” says the 26-year old. “When I went to college I wanted to stay active in sports. I went to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for athletic training and got my Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. Then, I did my Master’s at Clarion University with an emphasis on exercise science with specialization in athletic performance enhancement and injury prevention.”


The Red-Hot Miami Heat Are Erik Spoelstra’s Coaching Opus

VICE Sports, Michael Pina from

… Miami’s rise didn’t coincide with an uptick in good health, and Spoelstra didn’t have any veterans to lean on through the storm—guys like Luol Deng, Joe Johnson, Dwyane Wade, or even Amar’e Stoudemire—as he did in recent years. Instead, the 46-year-old coach turned to journeymen, undrafted rookies, and seemingly borderline NBA prospects.

Look at the roster: Wayne Ellington (seven teams in eight seasons), James Johnson (five teams in eight seasons), Dion Waiters (three teams in five seasons), and Luke Babbitt (three teams in seven seasons) are all in their first seasons with the Heat, and all are playing the best basketball of their careers. Meanwhile, total unknowns Rodney McGruder, Willie Reed, and Okaro White are also contributing at a high level. Nobody expected that, because nobody ever should.


The Intersection of Sports, Technology, and Beyond

MIT Industrial Liason Program from

Ben Shields is a self-avowed sports fanatic. But it’s clear that his interest spans beyond mere appreciation for the spectacle and the competition itself. “I’ve had the privilege to research and write about the sports industry since 2003,” says Shields. The statement, while wholly accurate and sincere, belies the fact that Shields has made, and continues to make, essential contributions to our understanding of the ever-changing landscapes of social media technologies, data analytics, and audience behavior. His explorations of the inner workings of sports and entertainment, through the lens of technology, allow him to draw conclusions that are relevant far beyond what would appear at first glance to be the scope of those industries.

Shields joined the MIT Sloan School of Management as a lecturer in managerial communication in 2014. His courses, Communication for Leaders and Advanced Leadership Communication, take on critical importance in the complex, technologically-connected world in which leaders operate. He has also developed a new course, Social Media Management: Persuasion in Networked Culture, which equips students with the frameworks and best practices to maximize the persuasive power of social media platforms. He has a wealth of practical experience to draw from. Prior to joining MIT Sloan, Shields served as the Director of Social Media and Marketing at ESPN. There he realized the sports industry was on the cusp of a paradigm shift in terms of fan behavior, specifically how fans consumed and engaged with sports via social media.


Tech Startup Re-Play Athletics Making Performance Data Mean Something For Youth Sports

SportTechie, Tim Wheeler from

Re-Play Athletics, a data-driven cloud-based training platform for youth sports, has announced the beta launch of its initial baseball product offering.

Re-Play designed its web portal in conjunction with its PitchTracker mobile application to make confusing analytics actionable and baseball players more prepared.

Nike-sponsored Phenom National Youth Baseball Academy agreed to onboard 15,000 of its athletes across 17 states to demo PitchTracker and MyBaseballCenter functionality as part of Re-Play’s large-scale beta test.


Validity of the SPEx sports injury surveillance system for time-loss and medical attention injuries in sports – Møller

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from

The accurate measurement of sport exposure time and injury occurrence is key to effective injury prevention and management. Current measures are limited by their inability to identify all types of sport-related injury, narrow scope of injury information, or lack the perspective of the injured athlete. The aims of the study were to evaluate the proportion of injuries and the agreement between sport exposures reported by the SMS messaging and follow-up telephone part of the SMS, Phone, and medical staff Examination (SPEx) sports injury surveillance system when compared to measures obtained by trained on-field observers and medical staff (comparison method).

We followed 24 elite adolescent handball players over 12 consecutive weeks. Eighty-six injury registrations were obtained by the SPEx and comparison methods. Of them 35 injury registrations (41%) were captured by SPEx only, 10 injury registrations (12%) by the comparison method only, and 41 injury registrations (48%) by both methods. Weekly exposure time differences (95% limits of agreement) between SPEx and the comparison method ranged from -4.2 to 6.3 hours (training) and -1.5 to 1.0 hours (match) with systematic differences being 1.1 hours (95% CI 0.7 to 1.4) and -0.2 (95% CI -0.3 to -0.2), respectively. These results support the ability of the SPEx system to measure training and match play exposures and injury occurrence among young athletes. High weekly response rates (mean 83%) indicate that SMS messaging can be used for player measures of injury consequences beyond time-loss from sport. However, this needs to be further evaluated in large-scale studies.


Blood test to read body clock could usher in a new era of ‘time therapy’

The Telegraph (UK), Sarah Knapton from

A new era of ‘time therapy’ may be on the horizon after scientists discovered how to read the hands on an individual’s body clock.

For several years scientists have known that thousands of drugs work better at certain times of day, depending on which genes are on or off at a given time.

For example, in the liver and the kidneys most activity happens after 6pm so it makes sense to target conditions linked to them later in the day.


Can sweat patches revolutionise diabetes?

BBC News, James Gallagher from

Scientists have developed a sensor that can monitor blood sugar levels by analysing sweaty skin.

But rather than a gym-soaked t-shirt, it needs just one millionth of a litre of sweat to do the testing.

The team – in South Korea – showed the sensor was accurate and think it could eventually help patients with diabetes.


Stacked Hourglass Networks for Human Pose Estimation

arXiv, Computer Science > Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition; Alejandro Newell, Kaiyu Yang, Jia Deng from

This work introduces a novel convolutional network architecture for the task of human pose estimation. Features are processed across all scales and consolidated to best capture the various spatial relationships associated with the body. We show how repeated bottom-up, top-down processing used in conjunction with intermediate supervision is critical to improving the performance of the network. We refer to the architecture as a “stacked hourglass” network based on the successive steps of pooling and upsampling that are done to produce a final set of predictions. State-of-the-art results are achieved on the FLIC and MPII benchmarks outcompeting all recent methods.


Wearable Company Catapult Sports Launches Baseball Performance Analytics

SportTechie, Mark J. Burns from

On Monday, Catapult Sports announced a new way to help the players, coaches and fans of “America’s game,” according to North American President Brian Kopp. The sports wearable, data and analytics company revealed its baseball performance analytics — powered through its wearable OptimEye S5 — which will help lessen players’ risk of injury and increase their performance on the diamond.

“The launch of our baseball analytics platform and services highlights our commitment to being the best data analytics and device partner for professional sports leagues and teams around the world,” Catapult North American President Brian Kopp said in a statement. “This is one of those exciting moments when we’re able to bring a completely new opportunity to the market.”


Houston Rockets practice with strobe glasses, new tracking gear

ESPN, Houston Rockets Blog from

As reporters were led into Rockets practice on Tuesday, Sam Dekker wore what looked like sunglasses as he attempted jump shots. But it wasn’t some new swag the Rockets’ second-year forward was trying on for looks; it’s part of the advanced technology his team is using to get better.

The strobe glasses have been used by other players, such as Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard, to improve hand-eye coordination.

Now the Rockets have bought in. James Harden took a few shots with the glasses, and Patrick Beverley was dribbling a basketball while trying to catch a tennis ball.

“I’ve never done it before,” Ryan Anderson said. “It kind of just blinds you; you can’t really get a pass or anything.”


SXSW Sports 2017: Athletigen CEO Shares Future Vision for Personalized Athlete Training and DNA Enhancement

SportTechie, Diamond Leung from

Dr. Jeremy Koenig wants to change the meaning of personalized athlete training with his company, Athletigen. Koenig spoke with SportTechie’s Diamond Leung about analyzing both biometric data and DNA to make athletes better.


LEOMO Unveils the Next Frontier of Wearable Technology for Athletes and Coaches: Motion Analysis

LEOMO press release from

LEOMO, Inc., a developer of innovative sports-based IOT devices, today unveiled the TYPE-R, the first in a new category of wearable technologies specifically designed to help competitive athletes and their coaches unlock the power of motion analysis. The TYPE-R, a wearable motion measurement tool for athletes, will publicly launch in the U.S. later this summer and in other markets later in the year. The new device offers valuable insights that may optimize an athlete’s form, technique, and performance, and may also assist in injury avoidance and recovery.

Until now, athlete motion analysis has been limited to occasional sessions at labs or studios that do not reflect real-world training or race conditions, and often require elaborate and expensive systems. LEOMO’s pioneering TYPE-R portable motion analysis device will allow athletes and their coaches to easily and unobtrusively collect data day after day in the same conditions they train and compete in.


The LVL Wristband Is Much More Than A Wearable Hydration Monitor

WearableZone, Conor Hockett from

… even if there was a set amount of water that people were supposed to drink, that doesn’t mean everyone would actually follow it. Whether you live on coffee throughout the day or simply forget to drink water, it’s difficult to stay hydrated.

That’s why the LVL hydration monitor comes in handy — it tracks your body’s hydration in real-time, alerts you when you need fluids, and then explains what kind of performance boost to expect from your consumption.


Adidas Wants Runtastic To Power Third-Party Fitness Trackers

Digital Trends, Jon Martindale from

… Adidas has had a bit of a mixed experience when it comes to fitness trackers. It recently shut down its MiCoach platform in favor of championing its Runtastic platform, the one it bought as part of the Runtastic app purchase in 2015. That side of its fitness tracking business has been far more successful, but it doesn’t want to stop there. It’s now looking to bring many more fitness-focused customers in to the fold.

“It’s not just about, ‘Can we develop a new piece of hardware that is a standalone Adidas ecosystem,’” said Stacey Burr, VP of wearable sports electronics at Adidas (via Engadget). “You’ll be seeing that we’ll be opening up a bunch of our content and know-how to other third party devices, and [making] it more of an open platform scenario so that we can extend onto other people’s devices as well.”


Heartbeat Sensors Can Now Be Woven Into Clothing

GineersNow from

Swiss researchers have developed a kind of thread that can sense heartbeats, and can be embroidered into any piece of fabric


‘Bod Pod’ Tracks Physical Fitness Program


With spring right around the corner, airmen will begin to exercise outdoors for a variety of reasons, including getting in shape for the summer.

To get the most out of workouts, whether losing fat or gaining muscle, the Health and Wellness Center here says it’s important to know a little bit about how your body works.

The center has a tool called the “Bod Pod” to help with fitness goals. The pod is available for active duty military members, family members age 17 and older, Department of Defense retirees and civilian contractors.


Sophisticated data strengthens Marquette’s chances in NCAA tournaments

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Lori Nickel from

Long gone are the days when coaches would run players ragged and then send them to a grungy weight room to lift iron until their arms dangled.

Now, elite athletic sports training is all about “loading.”

When the Marquette University men’s and women’s basketball teams head into the NCAA tournaments, they’ll have a staggering body of data behind them in addition to all the sumo squats and bench presses.

The data gathering comes from Todd and Maggie Smith, a husband and wife team of strength coaches at Marquette. The Smiths have more than 35 years of experience training elite athletes. They also have the $25,000-per-team, per year Catapult system, which collects and tracks an array of information from monitors the players wear during practices and games.


Can Electric Brain Stimulation Boost Your Endurance?

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

One of the oddest topics I’ve covered over the past few years is the use of electric brain stimulation to enhance endurance. Back in 2013, I wrote about a Brazilian study that used a technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS, to reduce the perceived effort and boost peak power output in a group of national-class cyclists—a result that seemed to confirm the long-suspected claim that the limits of endurance lie in your head, not your muscles.

I expected that the result would spark an explosion of research into the athletic uses of brain stimulation, but these things take time. Certainly, there has been some interest from the sports world. In 2014, I wrote about a Red Bull research project that subjected four elite cyclists and triathletes to tDCS; last year, I wrote about the Golden State Warriors’ use of souped-up headphones from a company called Halo Neuroscience that are designed to deliver tDCS during their pre-workout warm-up.

Actual research, though, has been slower to appear. So I was interested to see a new review that appeared last month in Frontiers in Physiology (full text freely available here), from researchers at the University of Kent’s Endurance Research Group led by Alexis Mauger, assessing the evidence for tDCS to improve exercise performance.


A Sports Psychologist On… Injuries

Furthermore from Equinox, Chris Carr from

When you have an injury where you’re going to miss competition, miss training, and potentially be limited in everyday ways, you’re going to have some very normal emotional responses that don’t feel normal. There is a huge emotional component to rehabilitation. I often hear athletes say their competitiveness is dormant or on hold when they get injured, but in reality you can—and should—use that drive to optimize rehabilitation and set the stage for a great return to play. Becoming aware of what is typical and having the tools to manage those feelings can help you engage that very self-directed part of you that makes you a great athlete.


Cartilage Degradation After ACL Altered by Early Injection (Sports Med Res)

Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field, Nicole Cattano from

Take Home Message: A corticosteroid injection performed within the first 5 weeks after anterior cruciate ligament injury resulted in significantly less of an increase in cartilage degradation markers in comparison to placebo injections.


Evaluating the “Threshold theory”: Can head impact indicators help?


As many as 1.6 – 3.8 million sport and recreation traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in the US on an annual basis. The direct and indirect costs for managing all forms of TBI exceed %56B annually. Proper detection and management of sport related concussion continues to challenge clinicians working with athletes. A number of options are available to clinicians, but mostly rely on subjective and clinical expertise. One example is the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool Version 3 (includes symptom inventories, mental status tests, and balance assessments). These acute injury screening tools are typically administered only after the clinician has sufficient evidence to suspect a concussion diagnosis. In the absence of obvious concussion signs (e.g., loss of consciousness, staggered gait, etc.), clinicians must rely solely on subjective symptoms reported by athletes. Research has documented a large portion of athletes either underreport concussion symptoms or fail to report them entirely. Thus, the medical field has looked to emerging technologies to fill this shortfall and provide heightened objectivity to the dilemma.

Technological advances have resulted in the emergence of commercially available head impact measurement devices. These devices typically serve two broad functions: 1) collect data for research-based inquiry, and 2) signal to clinical staff the occurrence of high-level impacts in near real-time during sports participation. Head impact indicators—the latter function—seek to identify athletes who have sustained pronounced head impacts so that they can be evaluated for symptomology.


A Multifactorial, Criteria-based Progressive Algorithm for Hamstring Injury Treatment. – PubMed – NCBI

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal from


Given the prevalence of hamstring injuries in football, a rehabilitation program that effectively promotes muscle tissue repair and functional recovery is paramount to minimize re-injury risk and optimize player performance and availability.

To assess the concurrent effectiveness of administering an individualized and multifactorial criteria-based algorithm (RA) on hamstring injury rehabilitation in comparison to employing a general rehabilitation protocol (RP).

Implementing a double-blind randomised controlled trial approach, two equal groups of 24 football players (48 total) completed either an RA group or a validated RP group five days following an acute hamstring injury.

Within 6 months after return to sport, 6 hamstring re-injuries occurred in RP versus 1 in RA [relative risk = 6 (90% confidence interval: 1-35); clinical inference: very likely beneficial effect]. The average duration of return to sport was possibly quicker (ES=0.34±0.42) in RP (23.2±11.7 days) than in RA (25.5±7.8 days) (-13.8%, 90%CI: -34.0 to 3.4%; clinical inference: possibly small effect). At the time to return to sport, RA players showed substantially better 10-m time, maximal sprinting speed as well as greater mechanical variables related to speed (i.e., maximum theoretical speed and maximal horizontal power) than the RP.

Although return to sport was slower, male football players who underwent an individualized, multifactorial, criteria-based algorithm with a performance- and primary risk factor-oriented training program from the early stages of the process markedly decreased the risk of re-injury compared to a general protocol where long length strength training exercises were prioritized.


Closing Pandora’s Box: adapting a systems ergonomics methodology for better understanding the ecological complexity underpinning the development and prevention of running-related injury

Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science journal from

The popularity of running as a form of exercise continues to increase dramatically worldwide. Alongside this participation growth is the burden of running-related injury (RRI). Over the past four decades, traditional scientific research applications have primarily attempted to isolate discrete risk factors for RRI using observational study designs as commonly used in public health epidemiology. Unfortunately, only very few randomised controlled trials have evaluated the efficacy associated with a well-specified RRI prevention intervention. Even though the knowledge about risk factors as generated in observational studies is valuable for better understanding why RRI develops, it nonetheless means that there remains a major knowledge gap about how best to prevent it, especially in a way that fully addresses all causal factors. Alongside the continuing use of traditional scientific approaches, a particular systems ergonomics methodology should also be considered in light of its potential to visualise the complete distance running system. This article adapts the Systems Theoretic Accident Mapping and Processes (STAMP) model to the RRI research prevention context. The direct application of STAMP might offer new knowledge about how to prevent RRI, such as exposing questions around the feasibility of adopting novel injury prevention interventions that do not directly target runners themselves.


Iron Deficiency and Anemia among Collegiate Athletes: A Retrospective Chart Review. – PubMed – NCBI

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal from


To describe the prevalence of anemia among incoming female college athletes and to characterize the results and expenses of iron-related testing at one NCAA Division I institution.

In this retrospective medical record review, hemoglobin (Hgb) and ferritin (Fer) lab values were obtained for student-athletes at a single institution, 2002 – 2014. Labs were collected either as part of the pre-participation exam (PPE) for female athletes, routine screening for cross country athletes, or as needed for medical evaluation. Anemia was defined as Hgb < 11.6 g/dL for females and < 13.6 g/dL for males. Iron deficiency was defined as Fer < 20 ng/mL for both sexes. RESULTS:

A total of 5,674 lab draws were obtained for 2,749 individuals (56% female) from 25 different teams. The prevalence of low Hgb among female athletes at PPE was 5.7% (95% CI 4.4%-6.9%). At PPE, the incidence of anemia was not significantly higher for any sport when compared to the group mean. Ferritin and Hgb were collected together in approximately one third of all blood draws from females (n = 1,059) and one sixth of blood draws from males (n = 411). For females, 2.2% indicated iron deficiency anemia and 30.9% indicated iron deficiency without anemia. For males, 1.2% indicated iron deficiency anemia and 2.9% indicated iron deficiency without anemia. The median cost of iron testing exceeded $20,000 annually for the institution.

One in 20 incoming females was identified with anemia at the PPE. Given the costs of testing, screening practices at each institution should be thoughtfully selected and routinely reassessed.


The Unexplored Crossroads of the Female Athlete Triad and Iron Deficiency: A Narrative Review | SpringerLink

Sports Medicine journal from

Despite the severity and prevalence of iron deficiency in exercising women, few published reports have explored how iron deficiency interacts with another prevalent and severe condition in exercising women: the ‘female athlete triad.’ This review aims to describe how iron deficiency may interact with each component of the female athlete triad, that is, energy status, reproductive function, and bone health. The effects of iron deficiency on energy status are discussed in regards to thyroid function, metabolic fuel availability, eating behaviors, and energy expenditure. The interactions between iron deficiency and reproductive function are explored by discussing the potentially impaired fertility and hyperprolactinemia due to iron deficiency and the alterations in iron metabolism due to menstrual blood loss and estrogen exposure. The interaction of iron deficiency with bone health may occur via dysregulation of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 axis, hypoxia, and hypothyroidism. Based on these discussions, several future directions for research are presented.


What to do when you don’t like vegetables. 3 steps for training your palate (and why it’s important).

Precision Nutrition from

What can you do when you have serious health and fitness goals…but you just don’t like vegetables? First, know that you’re not crazy (and you’re not alone). Next, try our 3-step formula to go from spitting out to seeking out the veggies you used to hate.


More Smoothies, Less Soda as College Athletic Departments Focus on Nutrition

The New York Times, Zach Schonbrun from

No matter how many plantain chips, lentil crackers and vegetable wraps Allison Kellaher arranged on the wraparound buffet table outside the Belasco Room at the Westin New York at Times Square hotel, the members of the Marquette men’s basketball team still stood around waiting.

“Where are they?” one asked.

After some tense moments, the steaming hot platter of medium-rare hamburgers finally arrived. The players, their sweaty practice uniforms in a pile down the hall, loaded up their plates, two patties at a time. Kellaher, Marquette’s coordinator of basketball administration, stood back and rolled her eyes.

“We’ve come a long way,” she said. “We still have a long way to go.”


Eight things we learned from the 2017 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Ian McMahan from

… 1. After one of her best seasons at age 36, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird credits mental training, rather than physical workouts, for helping to elongate her career as a professional basketball player. Psychological toughness was a common topic, but Bird also discussed the thin line between analytics and a mental block: “I was told I shoot better going left. I mean I already knew that, and then I see a team pushing me right and I’m like wait a minute and you try to go right and you’re mental about it.“ Bird says, at this point in her career, she would rather data tell her where her teammates will be successful.


Quantifying Tennis’ Greatest of All Time

The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, Craig Mascarenhas from

Debating the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) for a particular sport is one of sport’s most common and probably endless pastimes, and one that by definition is subjective. Opining on the issue is likely to lose you more support than gain you, as personal tastes, emotion, and other subjective criteria invariably triumph in an individual’s mind. That said, however, it shouldn’t hinder us from trying to quantify greatness. Tennis’ recent Australian Open Final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was billed by many as the battle for the Greatest of All Time. The two titans of the game’s history hadn’t been regarded as relevant contenders for the tournament after injury layoffs (and in Federer’s case, a Grand Slam drought of nearly 5 years). At 35 and 30 respectively, they were considerably past what is considered tennis’ prime age, yet here they were renewing the sport’s greatest rivalry in a major final.

In the aftermath of Federer’s 5-set victory, I set about to distill and quantify tennis greatness. A far from perfect work, I decided to leave out most “X-factor” parameters that often get dragged into these debates, for fear of becoming partisan. For example, preference for the aesthetic liquid fluidity of Federer’s forehand versus the attritional brand of tennis espoused by Novak Djokovic is an individual call, and not a measure of greatness of a sport (whose arbitrary rules never give points for aesthetics). I tried to keep the scoring to quantifiable measures and incentives as defined by the sport.


Analysing footballers’ decisions in and around the penalty box

The Opta Blog, Martin Eastwood from

t’s the 67th minute and Crystal Palace are losing 1-0 at home to AFC Bournemouth. Andros Townsend has the ball outside the box and elects to shoot despite having team mates closer to goal that he could pass to. The ball flies into the goalkeeper’s hands and possession is lost.

How do we evaluate the decisions footballers make during matches?

This was the question I asked myself for this year’s OptaPro Analytics Forum and the solution I settled on was to use machine learning. For those of you that haven’t come across machine learning before, it’s a form of artificial intelligence that can give computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning is how Google’s self-driving cars know where to go and how Facebook automatically recognises your friends’ faces in your photographs.


Our Five Favourite Talks from the 2017 Sports Analytics Innovation Summit

Fusion Sport from

On March 8th and 9th, the Fusion Sport team trekked down to Melbourne to attend the Australian leg of the annual Sports Analytics Innovation Summit. Held at the MCG at the start of AFL season, Aussie rules was surprisingly not the only topic on the agenda. We heard about all things high-tech in speed skating; we learnt how expert NRL recruiters pit brains against instinct when finding the next superstar; and we saw how the NBL is using data to engage a whole new generation of fans. And there was a fair amount of footy sprinkled in there too!


TrueHoop Presents: The Wonky-Tonkiest, Nitty-Grittiest, Most Analytically Correct MVP Debate of All Time!

ESPN True Hoop, Henry Abbott from

This year’s MVP debate has no clear-cut favorite — the players with the gaudy stats don’t have the win totals, and vice-versa. So … who should it be? We assembled some of the world’s foremost basketball minds from the analytics community to answer the question.


China wants to be global football powerhouse

ESPN FC, Howler, Matthew Moir from

It’s a soft, humid morning in a southeastern suburb of Beijing, and a stern-faced gym teacher clad in a tracksuit nods approvingly as a group of 10-year-olds runs through dribbling drills and deposits balls into the back of an empty net. The kids smile and give each other high fives. They might not know it, but these elementary school students are part of a master plan-one that will, the Chinese government hopes, elevate the Middle Kingdom’s third-rate national men’s side to a level that can one day rival that of the Argentinas, Brazils, and Germanys of the world. The plan is bold, bureaucratic, and swimming in money. In other words, it’s Chinese to the core.


Hockey’s biggest shift: Fifty years of evolution in NHL coaching

The Globe and Mail, Eric Duhatschek from

… 50 years later, consider what coaching has become. Instead of one coach, there can be four to eight. Fred Shero – the mercurial Freddie the Fog – hired the first official full-time assistant coach, Mike Nykoluk, in 1972. Roger Neilson – a.k.a. Captain Video – is credited with introducing video as a teaching tool. And skating expert Dawn Braid became the NHL’s first full-time female coach when she was hired by the Arizona Coyotes last summer.

After the Russians almost defeated Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, the strict adherence to straight-line hockey slowly leaked out of the game. European players filled the talent gap created by expansion, and their style of play – more east-west than north-south – became the new normal.

Gradually, the harsh and abusive approaches that coaches sometimes took with players to demonstrate who was in charge disappeared as well. Teams began to hire psychologists to work with the players. NHL coaches started to attend summer clinics, partly to enhance their technical knowledge – sometimes just to improve their people skills.


Cyclists Hunt for an Edge. This Time, It’s Data, Not Drugs

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Rodrigo Orihuela from

… Telefónica, a Madrid-based company that sponsors Quintana’s team under the name of its retail unit, Movistar, says the challenge can be met by better understanding the flood of information teams gather on riders during training and throughout the grueling three-week competitions known as the grand tours. The data can help coaches more accurately assess the impact of exercise, diet, and climate, much like the Oakland Athletics did in 2002 (as chronicled in the 2011 movie Moneyball), according to Pedro de Alarcón, one of two Telefónica employees working on the project. “The trainer can see after the race if the rider followed instructions,” de Alarcón says. “Whether he held back, sped up, how tired he was.” Ultimately the software might allow coaches to alter their strategy in real time during competitions, much as the Williams team does in Formula One auto racing, he says. “Currently, the coach simply asks the racer how he feels and how he did, and the rider gives his impressions.”

The data push is being led by Luca, a Telefónica unit that helps companies find ways to profit from data they collect in the normal course of business. Telefónica’s chief data officer, Chema Alonso, a big cycling fan, and members of Luca decided to try using data to give the team an edge—and give Movistar a publicity boost by highlighting its doping-free reputation in a sport tarnished by the cheating of Lance Armstrong and dozens of others.

It’s not easy to bring everyone around to the idea that data can make a difference.


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