Applied Sports Science newsletter – March 29, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for March 29, 2017


Jermain Defoe diet: How turning vegan and cryotherapy sessions helped striker win back his place in the England squad | The Independent

The Independent (UK), Jack Pitt-Brooke from

… “The demands on the players are so high with the intensity of the games these days,” Defoe said.

“But with the sports science, if you do things right and look after yourself [you can keep playing]. The key things for me is recovery, and how you look after yourself after the games to give yourself the best opportunity to perform in the next game. I seem to have got that to a tee. There are a lot of things I do away from training and playing that help me to perform on match day.”

Defoe has always abstained from drinking to keep himself in peak shape but he has now given up on meat and dairy as well to keep himself in perfect footballing shape.


​​How This NFL Draft Prospect Lost 16 Pounds and Got In the Best Shape Of His Life

Men’s Health, D'Onta Foreman from

When I arrived at the EXOS Gym in Gulf Breeze, Florida, in early January, I had recently been honored with the Doak Walker Award for being the top running back in the nation, an honor I was incredibly proud of and that I worked extremely hard to obtain from day one at the University of Texas. I was proud of my accomplishments, but that wasn’t enough.

I could outrun most guys in college. I was fast and at 246 pounds, I was tough to bring down. The Texas nutrition staff educated and advised me on what to eat, but it was on me to put that plan into action. They were always on me about my diet, but with so much on my plate in addition to football, I didn’t have the time or resources to devote to make substantial changes to my diet.


Cardinals give tour of performance department, Jenifer Langosch from

A little more than a year ago, Dr. Robert Butler left his position as a clinical scientist and assistant professor at Duke University to accept the task of reshaping how the Cardinals organize their medical and strength/conditioning operations.

By bringing all of these areas under one umbrella, the Cardinals envisioned the potential for a competitive advantage. In the same way sabermetrics once changed the landscape of player evaluation, the Cards saw the creation of a performance department as baseball’s potential next frontier.

The goal?

“One of my favorite lines is the best ability is availability. So we start there,” Butler said. “The whole goal is antifragility.”


No Rest for the Rookies

Andrew Barr, Innovate Performance blog from

… the end of March is just the beginning of a more strenuous process – transitioning from college to the NBA. … Emotional stress during this transitionary period can be extremely overwhelming for young NBA athletes. The negative consequences of emotional stress are often magnified in suboptimal play in young players not accustomed to the physical demands of the professional game – they hit the “Rookie Wall”. They also face the expectation that they should do more physical work rather than rest due to the inaccurate perception that their youth allows for more stress on their bodies. Many people think Rookies need to work longer and harder to develop. But is that really the case?


Lessons in Practice from the Seattle Seahawks

Doug Lemov, Teach Like a Champion blog from

My Practice Perfect co-author Katie Yezzi recently came across a pretty amazing video of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talking about practice and his approach to it. Beyond the key takeaway that practice is incredibly important to any performance profession–“Practice is everything,” Carroll says in the video–there are a ton of useful lessons for those of us who love to spend our time getting better at getting better. [video, 7:03]


TechFestNW ’17: How consumers will lead health care to a better place

Portland Business Journal, Malia Spencer from

… As younger generations age, the importance of wellness and wellness technology will rise, he said noting that wellness is already a $3.7 trillion industry.

“Moving more, better diet, more sleep, we can turn around the chronic disease trajectory,” he said. “It’s not new.”

What will change, he said is that platforms and many non-traditional companies are in the space as tech firms like Apple, Google and Samsung build apps and tools aimed at consumer wellness. There’s also the presence of such companies as, yes, Nike.


CourtsideVC Partner Deepen Parikh Has ‘Reservations’ About Investing In Wearable Sports Industry

SportTechie, Mark J. Burns from

… “Something that’s obviously been really talked about and where we’ve had some reservations around is the wearable industry. I think there’s a huge opportunity, and there’s a lot of data out there. Our concern is that there’s too much data out there. People are trying to collect a lot of information that probably won’t get too much use. Yet, it’s nifty to have some really crazy data points if you’re an elite athlete.”

Parikh said the early-stage venture fund generally steers clear of products that are only utilized by elite athletes or if they are — citing Catapult Sports — that it is at a high price point and “almost required among all of these professional sports teams and elite athletes to train.”


Pa.’s new sports medicine guidelines on opioids are a solution that works, Patrick N. Smith from

… It is our responsibility, orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians, to prescribe these medications to provide adequate pain relief, while at the same time, being aware of this will help orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians treating acute pain to keep this idea in the front of our minds.

With the new Department of Health Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Opioid guidelines recently announced by Gov. Tom Wolf, we now have an important tool in modifying patient expectations.


State of Sport: Fifa’s former doctor says painkiller use risks footballers’ health

BBC Sport, Simon Mundie & Jonathan Jurejko from

Elite footballers’ “abuse” of legal painkillers risks their health and could “potentially” have life-threatening implications, says Fifa’s former chief medical officer.

About half of players competing at the past three World Cups routinely took non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, claims Jiri Dvorak.


Stanford Pain Expert Has Advice For Pharmacists On How To Curtail The Opioid Crisis

Stanford Medicine, Scope Blog from

… [Elliot] Krane spoke recently with to give a preview of his talk. Here’s Krane on how pharmacists can help keep opioids out of the wrong hands:

One solution could be for pharmacists and physicians in states or at the national level with their corresponding societies to work together to establish a system with a national database of prescribers and patients. The database should be national because patients often live near state borders. Every opioid prescription should be checked against the database to make sure there’s no suspicion of diversion or multiple sourcing of controlled substances. There can be a method that would recognize and tag individuals who are not legitimate pain patients, like a national no-fly list.


The Legal & Ethical Nutrition Scope of Practice For Personal Trainers

Dr. John Rusin blog, Dr. Trevor Kashey from

… We made eye contact, I nodded, and he began to speak. He had come to communicate the conclusion of an already completed undercover investigation surrounding “unlicensed activity” in the field of nutrition and dietetics… … He explained the two components to a scope of practice: “The part I care about and the part you care about,” and why both are of dire importance to your career in the health and fitness industry.


How can companies learn from competitors’ R&D failures?

MIT Sloan School of Management, Zach Church from

When a pharmaceutical company abandons a drug in development, its competitors are more likely to abandon projects using similar technology than ones in similar markets. But those sort of stay-or-leave decisions could be better evaluated, MIT Sloan PhD student Joshua Krieger shows in new research. … As part of his work, Krieger developed an evaluation system to grade a firm’s decision to continue with or abandon a project after receiving word of a competitor’s failure. He said that system offers evidence that firms could better evaluate their own decisions and develop strategic plans for responding to the failure of a competitor’s drug. While he writes that the system is “inherently crude,” Krieger argues it can be used to examine if some characteristics of a firm or project correlate “with overall patterns of good or bad decision-making.”


Drafting Pitchers Who Have Undergone Tommy John Surgery

Fangraphs Baseball, Bill Petti from

As I mentioned recently on Twitter, a friend of mine asked how common it is for a pitcher to be drafted by a major-league team after he’s already undergone Tommy John surgery.

I honestly didn’t know the answer, but assumed the rate was rather low.

I grabbed data on Tommy John surgeries from Jon Roegele’s indispensable database and draft information from Baseball-Reference. I focused on drafts that have occurred since 1986 and just the first 10 rounds. I then isolated individuals drafted as pitchers and merged the two data sets based on player name.

The overall rate of teams selecting pitchers who have already undergone Tommy John surgery appears to be 1.8%.


The Secret Soccer Analyst: How I Sold the Manager on Expected Goals

Paste Magazine from

Over the last few years, writers like Rob Caroll and Ted Knutson have done a brilliant job connecting the theory and practice when it comes to applying your trade as an analyst within a club.

A phrase that will often appear in blogs like theirs is ‘common language’. Essentially, the analyst must adapt the way they speak about the game in order to suit the coach he or she is working for. Failing to do so has consequences. You may find that a coach will belittle you and call you a nerd, which on the surface is innocent but a worrying sign of how they value your work. Or they may go nuclear on you, unleashing a ‘proper football man’s hairdryer’ like poor old Gabriel Marcotti received when talking expected goals to the patron saint of the football old school, Craig Burley.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job in my time at using common football language to develop strong relationships, but I have slipped up on occasion. Ironically my biggest mistake mirrored Marcotti’s. I moved straight from a conversation about expected goals into a conversation with the head coach about ‘shot quality.’


Incentives Don’t Help People Change, but Peer Pressure Does

Harvard Business Review, Susanna Gallani from

What motivates people to change the way they work? When organizations introduce new processes or systems, or when they want to stimulate performance for certain business practices, they often assemble dedicated task forces, assign them specific goals, and identify deadlines and financial rewards.

But once the initiative is completed and the bonus cashed, a question always arises: will behaviors and business practices stick around, or will people drift back to their old ways of working? In a recent study conducted in a California hospital, I found that that the type of incentive matters. In particular, peer pressure appears to go a longer way than money does.


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