Applied Sports Science newsletter – May 2, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for May 2, 2017


Serena Williams and Gayle King: On tennis, love and motherhood from

Twenty-three Grand Slam titles later, tennis superstar Serena Williams sits down with journalist Gayle King to share a warm, mischievous conversation about her life, love, wins and losses — starting with the story of how she accidentally shared her pregnancy news with the world.


Western Force take on nightmare 35,000km road trip

The West Australian from

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts for the wildest ride in world sport.

The Western Force will today embark on a brutal Super Rugby schedule that includes four games in three countries — Australia, South Africa, Argentina and back in Australia — and demands they travel nearly 35,000km on eight flights over 16 days. In comparison, over their entire AFL regular season, West Coast will fly 56,226km and Fremantle will cover 49,682km.

“Even if you were just doing the trip there it would be horrendous, but then you’ve got to come back and play as well,” Force athletic performance boss Will Markwick said, adding the club would take three extra players.


Why Quality Sleep Grows More Elusive with Age, The Crux blog, Mark Barna from

Middle-agers and seniors on average sleep less than younger people, about 6 to 7 hours a night compared to 8 to 9 hours.

But why is this so? And are older people therefore sleep deprived, which can give rise to chronic maladies and speed up aging?

There are two camps on this. One is that older people sleep less because their body requires less sleep. No harm, no foul here. The other is that the hours spent sleeping isn’t the relevant question; what matters is the quality of sleep. And according to a recently published review called “Sleep and Human Aging,” by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, many older people have unhealthful sleep due to age-related physiological changes. These changes can begin as early as the 30s.


The psychological importance of wasting time

Quartz, Olivia Goldhill from

… The problem comes when we spend so long frantically chasing productivity, we refuse to take real breaks. We put off sleeping in, or going for a long walk, or reading by the window—and, even if we do manage time away from the grind, it comes with a looming awareness of the things we should be doing, and so the experience is weighed down by guilt.

Instead, there’s a tendency to turn to the least fulfilling tendency of them all: Sitting at our desk, in front of our computer, browsing websites and contributing to neither our happiness nor our productivity.


Meditation, Mindfulness and the Rise of Baseball Shrinks

OZY, Matt Foley from

For more than a decade in the minor and major leagues, Erik Pappas had been gunning down attempted base stealers from behind the plate. Then, while in camp with the Florida Marlins in 1995, the 11-year veteran catcher’s career was in jeopardy — all because of “the yips.” Warm-up throws to second base were easy, but as soon as the game started, anxiety set in. “I would just lock up,” says Pappas. “I couldn’t make the throw.”

With the help of famed mental skills coach Harvey Dorfman, Pappas cured his glitch and played two more seasons in the minors. He doesn’t know why the yips — common lexicon for an athlete’s loss of fine motor skills — took hold, but lessons in mental preparation and enhancement cured the ailment. Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, is a trial of mental fortitude. Modern baseball players are bigger, faster and stronger than in any era past. Still, one thing remains the same: constant failure.


Comparison of the recovery response from high-intensity and high-volume resistance exercise in trained men. – PubMed – NCBI

European Journal of Applied Physiology from


The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological responses of a high-volume (HV; 8 sets of 10 repetitions) versus high-intensity (HI; 8 sets of 3 repetitions) exercise protocol in resistance-trained men.

Twelve men (24.5 ± 4.2 years; 82.3 ± 8.4 kg; 175.2 ± 5.5 cm) with 6.3 ± 3.4 years of resistance training experience performed each protocol in a counterbalanced, randomized order. Performance [counter movement jump peak power (CMJP), isokinetic (ISOK) and isometric leg extension (MVIC), isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP), and isometric squat (ISQ)] and muscle morphological [cross-sectional area (CSA) of vastus lateralis] assessments were performed at baseline (BL), 30-min (P-30 min), 24-h (P-24 h), 48-h (P-48 h), and 72-h (P-72 h) post-exercise for each testing session. In addition, endocrine (testosterone and cortisol), inflammatory [interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP)], and markers of muscle damage [creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and myoglobin (Mb)] were assessed at the same time points.

Significantly greater reductions in CMJP (p < 0.001), and peak torque during both ISOK (p = 0.003) and MVIC (p = 0.008) at P-30 min were detected in HV compared to HI protocol. MVIC was still impaired at P-72 h following the HV protocol, while no differences were noted following HI. Markers of muscle damage (LDH, CK, and Mb) were significantly elevated following both HV and HI (p < 0.05), while cortisol and IL-6 concentrations were significantly elevated at P-30 min following HV only (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:

Results indicate that high-volume resistance exercise results in greater performance deficits, and a greater extent of muscle damage, than a bout of high-intensity resistance exercise.


Perceptions of football players regarding injury risk factors and prevention strategies

PLOS One; Astrid Zech and Kai Wellman from

Current approaches regarding injury prevention focus on the transfer of evidence into daily practice. One promising approach is to influence attitudes and beliefs of players. The objective of this study was to record player’s perceptions on injury prevention. A survey was performed among players of one German high-level football (soccer) club. 139 professional and youth players between age 13 and 35 years completed a standardized questionnaire (response rate = 98%). It included categories with (1) history of lower extremity injuries, (2) perceptions regarding risk factors and (3) regularly used prevention strategies.

The majority of players (84.2%) had a previous injury. 47.5% of respondents believe that contact with other players is a risk factor, followed by fatigue (38.1%) and environmental factors (25.9%). The relevance of previous injuries as a risk factor is differently perceived between injured (25%) and uninjured players (0.0%). Nearly all players (91.5%) perform stretching to prevent injuries, followed by neuromuscular warm up exercises (54.0%). Taping is used by 40.2% of previously injured players and 13.6% of players without a history of injuries. In conclusion, the perception of risk factors and performed preventive strategies are inconsistent with scientific evidence. Future transfer strategies should incorporate the players beliefs and attitudes.


UMSI faculty win ESSI award to improve athletic performance

University of Michigan, School of Information from

UMSI assistant professors Steven Oney, Michael Nebeling and Sun Young Park comprise one of four research teams chosen to receive a $200,000 pilot grant from the University of Michigan’s Exercise & Sport Science Initiative (ESSI). Launched in 2016, ESSI draws on the expertise of faculty from a wide range of disciplines across campus, Michigan Athletics and industry partners to optimize performance and health for people of all ages and abilities.

Principal Investigator Steven Oney and his co-PIs, Michael Nebeling and Sun Young Park, proposed a plan to build a “data warehouse” that would enable recreational athletes, coaches and even fans to collect physical data from various sources, such as FitBits, smartwatches and phones in order to improve their performance.


Running with power: A look at Stryd’s footpod power meter

Triathlon Magazine Canada from

After testing Stryd’s running power meter, coach Michael Liberzon explains how running with power data could help triathletes.


How This Wearable Smart Patch Analyzes Your Sweat To Monitor Your Body

Forbes, Jennifer Kite-Powell from

Professor Wei Gao, a post doctoral fellow at the University of California and recipient of 2016 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, spoke in February 2017 at Rice University about bioelectronic devices for personalize and precision medicine. His belief is that wearable biosensors and medical nanorobots combine health monitoring and therapy delivery to take us closer to personalized and precision medicine.

Research firm Tractica says healthcare is expected to be one of the biggest drivers for body sensors citing connected wearable patches as a key driver. Applications of wearable patches are not just for consumers but will fall into sports, enterprise and industrial markets as well. Tractica forecasts that body sensor shipments are expected to increase to 68 million in 2021 from 2.7 million units in 2015.

Where to start? Sweat.


The Walls Have Eyes, and They’re Watching How You Walk

IEEE Spectrum, Jeremy Hsu from

A smart home with walls capable of monitoring each person’s health without wearable fitness trackers just got a step closer. A research group based primarily at MIT has shown how a picture-size wall sensor can detect the walking speed and stride length of people based on how their bodies interfere with radio signals.

The WiGait system works by transmitting low-power radio signals and analyzing how those radio signals reflect off of people’s bodies within a radius of 9 to 12 meters. It can also detect the walking patterns of multiple people and works across physical barriers such as walls within a home. According to its inventors, this “invisible” sensor could combined with wearable devices used to track other fitness measures—especially for older people with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.


FM Backscatter: Enabling connected cities and smart fabrics

Adrian Colyer, the morning paper from

If we want to connect all the things, then we need a means of sending and/or receiving information at each thing. These transmissions require power, and no-one wants to have to plug in chargers or keep swapping batteries for endless everyday objects. So where will this power come from? One promising approach uses ambient backscattering. Ambient backscatter devices pick up existing transmissions (e.g., TV or Wi-Fi signals) and convert them to tiny amounts of electricity, this power is then used to modify and reflect the signal with encoded data.


How has Manchester United’s injury crisis got so bad ahead of Vigo trip?

ESPN FC, Rob Dawson from

… Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo and Timothy Fosu-Mensah will miss the game in northwest Spain. It is likely that Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will be sidelined, too.

Paul Pogba should return after missing two games and so should Juan Mata, but Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian could be the ones lining up at centre-back at Estadio Municipal de Balaidos.

So how has it got to this stage?


Who’s running the New York Mets: management or the players?

ESPN, SweetSpot blog, Dave Schoenfield from

… Pitchers always deal with sore arms and dead arms, but it does seem a little strange that a pitcher who couldn’t lift his arm above his shoulder was allowed to pitch just a few days later — especially a pitcher as important to the Mets as Syndergaard is. You also wonder why Collins or Ramirez didn’t visit Syndergaard after the first pitch to Harper that left him grimacing. As for refusing the MRI a few days ago, maybe Yankees analyst David Cone said it best about Syndergaard on the YES Network: “He’s not a very good doctor.”


The 10-Day DL Effect

The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh from

Is baseball’s switch from the 15-day disabled list to the 10-day variety leading to more stints so far in 2017? And if so, is it because teams are gaming the system to gain an edge? We parsed the numbers and polled executives to find out.


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