Applied Sports Science newsletter – April 18, 2017

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


Galen Rupp is Ready to Run the Boston Marathon

Runner's World, Erin Strout from

… Rupp said that, although he was experiencing pain throughout his preparation for Boston, he still was able to log the volume of miles necessary to feel prepared. In January he took about two weeks off to expedite the healing process, but maintain a rigorous cross-training schedule of about four hours a day, relying heavily on an underwater treadmill, deep-water running, and an AlterG treadmill, which allows running at a percentage of one’s weight.

Although Rupp hasn’t run on the course at all, his coach, Alberto Salazar, knows it well and has been focused on preparing Rupp for the pounding of the downhill sections.


Luck offers no timetable for return from shoulder surgery

Associated Press, Michael Marot from

Andrew Luck was eager to get back to work Monday. He’s still not sure when he’ll be start throwing passes.

Three months after undergoing shoulder surgery, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback showed up for opening day of offseason workouts looking fit, trim and minus the sling he’d been wearing to protect his right arm.

“I am where the physical therapists, trainers and doctors say I am. I’m not going to worry about it.,” Luck said, declining to provide a timetable for his expected return. “I have full trust in the guys helping me out. I want to play, I want to play, but I’m not going to worry about it.”


Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

WBUR, Here & Now from

One in three American adults doesn’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults need an average of seven hours of sleep a night, and regularly not getting enough sleep increases risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It also impairs cognitive performance.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Dr. William Dement, emeritus professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and founder of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. [audio, 10:51]


‘Being age-sensitive matters’: Mike Babcock a ‘great coach and communicator’ for Toronto Maple Leafs’ youngsters

National Post, Lance Hornby from

For Mike Babcock, the fine line between coach and father is hard not to cross.

It comes from having three kids ages 20-24 and nine Maple Leafs born in 1993 or after. So when Babcock talks to Connor Carrick, who turned 23 on Thursday, he might as well be looking at his own son, Michael, a 22-year-old forward at Merrimack College in Massachusetts.

“I’ve said to my son a number of times this year, what are the (players) thinking?,” Babcock said. “And he’ll tell me what they’re thinking. You know about the social media because you have kids. You know about things they’re interested in because you see it every day (with your own). So when you’re dealing with them it’s the exact same thing.”


Athlete monitoring for runners – what to monitor and how to do it | RunningPhysio

RunningPhysio, Tom Goom from

Our recent posts have talked about assessing capacity and building performance through targeted rehab and appropriate training. Today we talk about the how to monitor athletes as they progress their training to reduce risk of injury and optimise outcome. In a nutshell it’s about helping athletes listen to their body and act on what it’s trying to tell them. First though we’ll start with a personal story of what happens when you don’t listen at all!…


Complex Collaboration

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog from

… Complex collaboration is that which happens beyond the simple and obvious: it’s likely to be asynchronous and not necessarily reciprocal in the moment, but rather a function of investment into communities, and reputation building over time. It’s complex collaboration that will help us to be more effective, both individually, and organisationally: as Social Leaders we are more effective through our communities, with whom we have forged deep and trusted bonds.

Organisations often focus on the outputs of the Socially Dynamic system: they want innovation, they want loyalty, they want to trust, they want engagement, but the foundation of all of this is the connected nature and deeply fair high functioning of the system itself. If we want these things, we have to live these things. If we want complex collaboration, we have to engage and collaborate, and one key aspect of collaboration is that its co-creative: we have to invest in, and relinquish control of the very thing we are trying to build.


Research principles of the legendary Xerox PARC

Jason Kottke from

Xerox PARC was one of the most influential technology companies of the past 50 years. Among the technologies invented and/or developed there include Ethernet, laser printers, the modern mouse-controlled GUI, and WYSIWYG text editing. On Quora, former PARC researcher Alan Kay shared the principles under which research at the company operated; here are the first five:

1. Visions not goals


Nike and Adidas race each other toward a sub-2:00 marathon

The Boston Globe, Mark Arsenault from

… Nike is going to extraordinary lengths to concoct ideal running conditions for a try at a sub-two-hour marathon. The runners will use pacers to keep on time, drafting techniques to reduce wind resistance, and they will wear a prototype shoe that Nike says improves running performance through technology.

Claims that the new racing shoe delivers better running economy — a measure of the energy used in the race — have some experts anticipating that Kenyan marathoner Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 could be beaten, and maybe the two-hour barrier could fall.

The shoes have also generated questions over whether they comply with the rules of the sport, and, less tangibly, whether techy performance boosters in sports equipment violate the spirit of competition.


Nontoxic, biodegradable orthopedic implant could provide superior support to damaged bones, be safely absorbed by the body

Purdue University, Research Foundation News from

Purdue University researchers are developing a nontoxic, biodegradable orthopedic implant that could be safely absorbed by the body after providing adequate support to damaged bones.

The development of the technology originated in the lab of Lia Stanciu, a professor of materials engineering at Purdue in 2009. The technology could eliminate the need for a second surgery to remove conventional hardware.

“Currently, most implants use stainless steel and titanium alloys for strength. This can cause long-term change in the mechanics of the specific region and eventual long-term deterioration,” Stanciu said. “Additionally medical operations that require an orthopedic implant must be followed-up with a second surgery to remove the implant or the accompanying hardware of the implant resulting in higher medical costs and an increased risk of complications.”


Wearable Sweat Sensor Can Diagnose Disease, Stanford-led Study Finds

Stanford Medicine, Scope Blog from

A team of researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley have created a wristwatch-style device that can potentially be used to monitor diseases such as cystic fibrosis or prediabetes.

The device, which detects sweat, was tested on a small group of volunteers who were either healthy or had cystic fibrosis — a genetic disease that causes mucus to build up in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. The small, wearable sensor, described in a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could distinguish the sweat of those with the disorder from those who were healthy.


With boost from Dallas Cowboys, Frisco set to become nation’s sports medicine and research capital

Dallas News, Valerie Wigglesworth from

… “One of the great things about sharing Frisco with all of our colleagues here is that it makes all of us try harder,” said RoughRiders CEO Chuck Greenberg, who hit a big league home run last year by adding a lazy river just beyond the right field fence at the minor league ballpark.

Beyond the organizations are a multitude of facilities — from Fieldhouse USA to The PIT to city parks to the Toyota Soccer Center — that cater to youth and recreation leagues on a large scale.

Dallas Stars president Jim Lites said what’s available now in Frisco is no accident. There’s a business purpose behind everything the city does.

“They bring the best people,” Lites said. “They find a way to work with everybody.”


Analytics Reach the Rec League

The New Yorker, Matt Giles from

On a recent rainy night, about two dozen spectators gathered at an Equinox Sports Club on the Upper West Side to watch a basketball game: the X-Men vs. Almost Famous. The teams are part of the Equinox Basketball League, which is made up of ex-pros, pickup lifers, and the occasional bona-fide player still looking for a call-up. (One of the players had to quit recently, after he was drafted by the Development League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.) Equinox is a fairly swanky gym; the league’s leading scorer is an account manager for a big pharmaceutical company, and a number of the other players work on Wall Street. The games have the feel of a Rucker League for the one per cent. On this particular night, seeding for the upcoming playoffs was at stake. Late in the second half, Almost Famous, the underdog, began to press and harass the X-Men’s bigger, slower guards. It paid off: Almost Famous won 60–47. According to Vasu Kulkarni, the team’s captain, the victory had everything to do with an analytic database and video-streaming service called Krossover.

Kulkarni, who is thirty, had reason to talk up the service: he created it, in 2010. Krossover compiles game film and breaks the video down to a seemingly infinite variety of plays and data points. The service only requires a tripod, a camera, and a videographer—often a coach—to film each game and upload the footage; by the next morning, the videos, which are dissected and tagged by analysts contracted by Krossover, are ready to be viewed.


Using Markov chains to evaluate football player’s contributions

Medium, David Sumpter from

Football players can’t be ranked on the basis of simple stats such as number of passes made, tackles or pass success rate. A player who tackles a lot might do so because he is badly positioned in the first place. And a player with a high pass success rate might always choose the easy option. This is why football will never be Moneyball. We need a more nuanced view of player performance.

One solution is to look at how the actions a player takes increases and decreases the chance of his team scoring. I have recently been working on a performance metric based on this idea, using a mathematical technique called Markov Chains. The name is mathematical, but the idea is simple. Each position on the pitch is assigned a value, and that value (roughly) corresponds to the probability that a team with possession of the ball at that point scores a goal. We can then assess all player actions based on how much they increase their team’s chance of scoring and decrease the opponent’s chance of scoring.


The African-American talent pool remains a troubling problem for baseball

FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal from

A few weeks back, in casual conversation, a player agent told me that he had learned something shocking.

One of his clients, the agent said, was the only African-American pitcher in his team’s entire farm system.

“This is crazy,” said the agent, who requested anonymity for both he and his client. “It’s terrifying.”


Explained: Neural networks

MIT News from

In the past 10 years, the best-performing artificial-intelligence systems — such as the speech recognizers on smartphones or Google’s latest automatic translator — have resulted from a technique called “deep learning.”

Deep learning is in fact a new name for an approach to artificial intelligence called neural networks, which have been going in and out of fashion for more than 70 years. Neural networks were first proposed in 1944 by Warren McCullough and Walter Pitts, two University of Chicago researchers who moved to MIT in 1952 as founding members of what’s sometimes called the first cognitive science department.


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