Applied Sports Science newsletter – May 20, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for May 20, 2017


Cavs’ Tristan Thompson breaks down the science of being an elite offensive rebounder

Sporting News, Jordan Greer from

… Cavs coach Tyronn Lue also credited Thompson’s constant energy and activity under the basket for his success in grabbing boards on the offensive end, saying he “treats every shot like a miss.”

“Even when Kyle Korver is shooting the basketball or even when Kyle Korver is at the free throw line,” Lue said (via “He’s crashing the glass every single shot. His motor is unbelievable. He’s one of the guys that can crash from the perimeter and still get back on the defensive end. He treats every shot like a miss and he has the motor to crash the glass and also get back on defense.”


Aaron Lennon struggles sad but far from unusual in football – ESPN FC

ESPN FC, Tony Evans from

Playing in the Premier League seems like a dream job. What can be so difficult, some fans say, about kicking a ball around, being paid huge amounts of money and accepting the adulation of thousands of people? The revelation of Aaron Lennon’s mental health problems have shown that it is not so easy.

The 30-year-old Everton forward was hospitalised on May 2 under the Mental Health Act. It came as a shock to the football community. Unfortunately, under the surface, many players are struggling to deal with the pressures of performing at the highest level.


DeAndre Yedlin: How Newcastle, USA right back found his way |, Brian Straus from

U.S. right back DeAndre Yedlin’s soaring career hit a wall, but he found inspiration and took a leap of faith on a risky club move that put him back on course to excel.


How a defiant upbringing elevated Tim Cahill to Premier League stardom

These Football Times from

Passion often brings out the rawest of human emotions. It’s what drives us, and in many senses, what defines us. In the cutthroat realms of professional sport, passion can also act as the singular factor in determining how high an individual’s ceiling is. Talent only goes so far and when you reach that limit – as cliché as it sounds – it comes down to how badly you want it.

Passion for his trade is something Timothy Filiga Cahill has always had in abundance, although, with the number of obstacles he’s had to overcome you may have been excused for thinking his obsession lay in hurdling, not football.

Born in Sydney, Australia to an English father and Samoan mother, it was the former who originally instilled a passion for the beautiful game within the young Cahill. He was the middle of three sons and idolised his dad growing up. Tim Cahill Snr. was a football fanatic and made it his mission to bestow into his son’s hearts, an undying love for the sport that had stolen his.


No Steelers dare try James Harrison’s insane 675-pound hip exercise

ESPN NFL, Jeremy Fowler from

In page No. 1,431 of the James Harrison feats of strength file, the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker decided, hey, it’s the offseason, let’s put 14 45-pound plates onto a bar and lift them with the midsection.

A quick backstory: This is an exercise the Steelers routinely do, including this week as part of offseason workouts. But players laughed at whether they attempted a weight limit even close to Harrison’s 675 pounds. Nor would trainers even want them to try.


Youth Performance Training

Michael Boyle's Blog from

… I know in some Long Term Athletic Development plans they discuss “windows of opportunity” and one is early. However kids can learn to be fast without professional coaching. Yes, they need to move and move fast but, that could be flying down the base path in kickball, not an organized speed session. Relay races will do just fine at 8. If you really believe in the Long Term Athletic Development idea, there is also a later window. However, I’m not sure I even buy that. We’ve seen tremendous speed increases in collegiate athletes although, I will tell you that you can’t make a slow kid fast at that stage. In the bigger picture, slow twitch kids may be slow twitch kids and might never excel at team sports.


Athlete Screening Part 2: Performance Screens

Driveline Baseball from

… The first assessment we perform are jumps. We progress through a sequence of broad jumps, single-leg broad jumps, lateral jumps, and vertical jumps with the tendo unit. Jumps are not only an easy way to test overall athleticism and get an idea of how much force an athlete can put into the floor, but they’re also another way to screen how well athletes move.

In the last article, we talked about dynamic-movement screens. Jumps are a great form of this. Watch how an athlete moves: do the knees dive in, does the trunk collapse, does he go slip into lumbar extension? What do the knees do when he lands?

We can learn a lot about movement by looking at it dynamically on top of doing a typical range of motion (ROM) screen.


A 38-year-old mental coach has become one of the NBA’s premier resources

Business Insider, Scott Davis from

… On a big stage with thousands of people watching, Gordon repeatedly missed his dunks, falling out of the competition after just two rounds.

Afterward, Gordon was down on himself. In a hotel room in New Orleans, Graham Betchart was there to pick him back up.

“Guess what,” Betchart told Gordon. “We’re still talking. So that means you’re not dead. … You didn’t die.” It was just a dunk contest, Betchart stressed. There’s more to life.

Gordon and Betchart didn’t need to talk much, but for Gordon, having worked with Betchart, his mental coach, for many years, the experience of learning to pick himself up and move on helped him get over the incident.


Perfectionism predicts injury in junior athletes: Preliminary evidence from a prospective study

Journal of Sports Sciences from

According to the stress–injury model (Williams & Andersen, 1998), personality factors predisposing athletes to elevated levels of stress may increase the risk of injury. As perfectionism has been associated with chronic stress, it may be one such personality factor. So far, however, no study has investigated the relationships between perfectionism and injury utilising a prospective design. Therefore, the present study examined perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns and injury in 80 junior athletes from team and individual sports (mean age 17.1 years; range 16–19 years) over 10 months of active training. The results of logistic regression analyses showed that perfectionism positively predicted injury, but only perfectionistic concerns emerged as a significant positive predictor. The likelihood of sustaining an injury was increased by over two times for each 1 SD increase in perfectionistic concerns. The findings suggest that perfectionistic concerns may be a possible factor predisposing athletes to an increased risk of injury.


Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement. – PubMed – NCBI

European Journal of Applied Physiology from


To investigate the effect of different attentional focus conditions on muscle activity during the push-up exercise and to assess the possible influence of muscle strength and training experience.

Eighteen resistance-trained men performed 1RM bench press testing and were familiarized with the procedure during the first session. In the second session, three different conditions were randomly performed: regular push-up and push-up focusing on using the pectoralis major and triceps brachii muscles, respectively. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded and analyzed (EMG normalized to max; nEMG) for the triceps brachii and pectoralis major muscles.

Participants had on average 8 (SD 6) years of training experience and 1RM of 1.25 (SD 0.28) kg per kg bodyweight. Focusing on using pectoralis major increased activity in this muscle by 9% nEMG (95% CI 5-13; Cohen’s d 0.60) compared with the regular condition. Triceps activity was not significantly influenced by triceps focus although borderline significant, with a mean difference of 5% nEMG (95% CI 0-10; Cohen’s d 0.30). However, years of training experience was positively associated with the ability to selectively activate the triceps (β = 0.41, P = 0.04), but not the pectoralis. Bench press 1RM was not significantly associated with the ability to selectively activate the muscles.

Pectoralis activity can be increased when focusing on using this muscle during push-ups, whereas the ability to do this for the triceps is dependent on years of training experience. Maximal muscle strength does not appear to be a decisive factor for the ability to selectively activate these muscles.


Athletic Bilbao’s methods provide lessons for Premier League clubs

Sky Sports, Nick Wright from

In an age of global scouting networks and huge transfer fees, Athletic Club Bilbao show there is another way of doing things. How do they stay competitive with their unique philosophy? And what can be learnt from their methods? Nick Wright paid them a visit to find out.


Het Nederlandse voetbal heeft meer trainers nodig die nooit gevoetbald hebben

Google Translate, Decorrespondent, Michiel de Hoog from

Dutch trainers who have never been professionally matched do they exist? Almost. That we needed more, I learned from German top trainer Thomas Tuchel – a man who works with statisticians and scholars to get better.
Dutch football needs more trainers who have never played football


Learning from zoos – how our environment can influence our health

The Conversation, Emmanuel Tsekleves from

… A good model would be to look at how zoos are designed. Before a zoo is built, it is common practice for zoologists, biologists, animal psychologists, nutritionists, architects, designers and landscape architects to work closely together to create an environment that optimises the living conditions for the animals.

Important environmental elements, such as vegetation, habitat, lighting, materials and each animal’s requirements are taken into account. The ultimate aim is to design an environment that fully supports the animals’ physical, psychological and social well-being. Ironically, we do not seem to make the same demands when a town, neighbourhood or workplace environment for humans is planned and designed.


Frontiers | How do soccer players adjust their activity in team coordination ? An enactive phenomenological analysis

Frontiers in Psychology from

This study examined how individual team members adjust their activity to the needs for collective behavior. To do so, we used an enactive phenomenological approach and explored how soccer players’ lived experiences were linked to the active regulation of team coordination during eight offensive transition situations. These situations were defined by the shift from defensive to offensive play following a change in ball possession. We collected phenomenological data, which were processed in four steps. First, we reconstructed the diachronic and synchronic dynamics of the players’ lived experiences across these situations in order to identify the units of their activity. Second, we connected each player’s units of activity side-by-side in chronological order in order to identify the collective units. Each connection was viewed as a collective regulation mode corresponding to which and how individual units were linked at a given moment. Third, we clustered each collective unit using the related objectives within three modes of regulation ‒ local (L), global (G), and mixed (M). Fourth, we compared the occurrences of these modes in relation to the observable key moments in the situations in order to identify typical patterns. The results indicated four patterns of collective regulation modes. Two distinct patterns were identified without ball possession: reorganize the play formation (G and M) and adapt to the actions of putting pressure on the ball carrier (M). Once the ball was recovered, two additional patterns emerged: be available to get the ball out of the recovery zone (L) and shoot for the goal (L and M). These results suggest that team coordination is a fluctuating phenomenon that can be described through the more or less predictable chaining between these patterns. They also highlight that team coordination is supported by several modes of regulation, including our proposal of a new mode of interpersonal regulation. We conclude that future research should investigate the effect of training on the enaction of this mode in competition.


This start-up has stumbled across an incredibly popular use for the Apple Watch

CNBC, Christina Farr from

The Apple Watch is proving itself to be a useful tool for monitoring serious medical conditions, and not just for fitness.

A mobile health app made by start-up Cardiogram, backed by Silicon Valley venture firms including Andreessen Horowitz, has proven to be shockingly popular among the people who download it, the company’s co-founder Brandon Ballinger told CNBC. Although only 250,000 people have downloaded it to try it, more than 100,000 people use it every day. Of the people who kept the app, more than 73% open it every single day.

Cardiogram uses the Apple Watch’s built-in heart sensor to give you advice about heart health — for instance, showing when you’re unusually stressed out by checking your heart rate.


KINEXON Basketball Analytics Platform Offers NCAA Teams Solution For Player Load

SportTechie, Logan Bradley from

… KINEXON is a basketball tracking and analytics platform that is offering college coaches a solution to this problem, and it is looking to partner with more NCAA basketball programs next season. The analytics gained by KINEXON expand much further upon a metric commonly used by coaches called player load.

Instead of providing one universal load metric for a player’s time on the court, KINEXON’s metrics detail training load based on each precise position on the court.


Researchers from the DCRI and Mercy Health make vital contributions toward the adoption and use of Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs), to transform and streamline medical device evaluation and surveillance.

Duke Clinical Research Institute from

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association by the DCRI’s James Tcheng, MD, (pictured) and Mercy Health’s Joseph P. Drozda, MD, highlights the informatics aspects of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-funded Mercy Demonstration Project. The project was primarily conducted in the Mercy Health System in St. Louis, where prototype UDIs were incorporated into the enterprise’s electronic information systems.

Safety surveillance of medical devices has been a top priority of the FDA but there has been no universal mechanism of identifying these devices across healthcare. This lack of standardization has been a barrier to efficient business processes and device safety surveillance in the past. Therefore, the FDA, along with the European Commission and other regulators devised the UDI system as a framework for identifying medical devices using an alpha-numerical barcode system that can be applied globally. The demonstration project goes a step further by testing the implementation of UDIs in electronic health data, which according to Tcheng, is a key priority for the FDA.


The Unbroken 2: A Pair of Nikes, An Unofficial Record, And The Age-Old Question Of Technology’s Place In Sport

The National Law Review from

… The dividing line between innovation and unfair performance enhancement is one with which sport governing bodies have had to grapple for decades. The fundamental question, verging on the philosophical, when does technological advancement start to detract from the nature of sport? In some respects, this question is answered differently depending on the sport. For example, golf (an equipment-heavy sport) is subject to strict and detailed rules governing the shape, size and make of conforming clubs and even the permissible techniques for using certain clubs (such as the recently banned ‘anchor’ method of using a long putter), which have developed in response to advancing technologies which enable players to achieve more power and accuracy than ever before. Swimming (a comparatively non-equipment based sport) enacted a rule change in the late 2000s to outlaw the infamous Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit. Whilst the suit was initially approved for competition by FINA, it transpired that the combined effects of body compression and increased buoyancy led to competitors wearing the suit for additional assistance (with some even wearing two!). After 130 records were broken in the space of 17 months, FINA decided to act, imposing a ban on full length swimsuits.

It has not gone unnoticed that all three marathon medallists at the Rio Olympics donned a version of Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly, later followed by the winners of each of the Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons. This has led some to question whether this new footwear technology might be the LZR Racer of marathon running. The IAAF has stressed that “this is not just linked to one manufacturer. There is a development in shoe tech across the board” and it is something that is being watched closely.


What employers need to know about fitness trackers

Employee Benefit News, Gary Cassidy from

… Trackers can prompt wearers to get up and move hourly and help them reach daily step and activity goals. Some users have turned to fitness trackers for weight-loss support because of their ease of tracking physical activity as well as calories consumed and burned. Additionally, the social aspect of fitness trackers allows users to connect with their co-workers, friends and family for a source of support and encouragement. Trackers also encourage friendly competition to out-step and out-perform others within a social network.

But are trackers the be-all, end-all in employee wellness?

Some recent surveys have shown that fitness trackers are not helping users realize a measurable impact on their health and well-being. For example, a 2016 survey by HealthMine found that 46% of people who use fitness trackers say the data collected is not incorporated into their healthcare.

It’s important to recognize that fitness trackers are not a standalone solution.


The Football Helmet Just Got the Biggest Redesign Since the 1960s–and It’s Coming to the NFL Next Season, Kevin J. Ryan from

NFL games might sound a lot different this season.

Seattle-based startup Vicis has been working since 2013 on a new type of football helmet that’s designed to yield on contact. The result is a thud sound, instead of the violent crack players and fans are used to hearing. The softer impact means less trauma to the head, and the theory is that this will reduce the likelihood of brain injuries or concussions.


1960s-2010s: Humanistic Intelligence and History of Wearable Computing

Medium, Synced from

… Wearable computing is a subfield of human-computer interaction. HCI strives to engineer the relationship between humans and machines — an obvious HCI application is using a mouse and keyboard to operate a PC. One of the earliest ideas in HCI, however, involved having humans actually wear a gadget.

In 1961, Ed Thorp and Claude Shannon designed a cigarette pack-sized analog device designed to improve the odds on roulette wheels by timing the release of the ball and calculating its probable final landing spot. In clandestine Las Vegas field tests, the device improved returns on bets by +44%. A decade later at Caltech, Alan Lewis made a digital camera-case computer to tackle the same task. Similar to Thorp and Shannon’s approach, it involved a data tracker at a computer and a radio link to the player at the table. After doing real-time calculations, the data tracker would relay predictions to the player through an earpiece. Eudaemonic Enterprises built upon these ideas in 1978, stuffing the entire transmission system into a shoe controlled by toe movements.


The Camp Nou hosts the most important congress for football medicine and science in the world – FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona from

Dr. Jordi Monés inaugurated the ‘International Conference on Sports Rehabilitation and Traumatology’, which brings 2,500 delegates and close to 200 speakers together this weekend


New Advice to Move More After a Concussion

The New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds from

When young athletes sustain concussions, they are typically told to rest until all symptoms disappear. That means no physical activity, reading, screen time, or friends, and little light exposure, for multiple days and, in severe cases, weeks.

Restricting all forms of activity after a concussion is known as “cocooning.” But now new guidelines, written by an international panel of concussion experts and published this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, question that practice. Instead of cocooning, the new guidelines suggest that most young athletes should be encouraged to start being physically active within a day or two after the injury.


Recent Poll Shows NFL Players Are Increasingly Concerned About Opioid Use and Addiction

AlterNet, Kelly Flowers from

… According to a recent survey of over 150 NFL players, use of chemical painkillers in the NFL is extremely common, even encouraged by league physicians.

91% of current/former NFL players surveyed said they had taken opiate-based painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and propoxyphene for pain. 45% of players surveyed said they have felt pressured into using chemical painkillers by team doctors, staff, and teammates. Many also admitted to using chemical painkillers recreationally after their introduction to them by a physician.


Support System

Training & Conditioning, Dr. Ryan Mizner from

… Several years’ worth of biomechanical testing in the Movement Science Lab at the University of Montana suggests these two factors are interrelated. Since most ACL tears occur when an athlete places excessive stress on the ligament during jump landing or cutting, it’s not surprising that these same types of movements can evoke apprehension during recovery.

This brings us to another question: What can be done to help athletes overcome these issues and return to sport successfully? Our desire to answer this question led us to create the Bodyweight Reduction Instrument to Deliver Graded Exercise (BRIDGE) system. As its name implies, the BRIDGE was designed to facilitate the transition for athletes from ACL injury to safe return to sport. Combining unweighting technology via a suspension system and sports-specific jump training, it provides an unrestricted environment where athletes can refine their movement mechanics and build confidence in their injured joint.


The numbers—and the truth—about baseball’s PED problem and why it may never go away, Tom Verducci from

As home runs continue to rise, the suspicion of increased PED usage still looms over Major League Baseball. The question now is whether the penalties for a positive test should be more stringent.


Fluid Balance in Team Sport Athletes and the Effect of Hypohydration on Cognitive, Technical, and Physical Performance | SpringerLink

Sports Medicine journal from

Sweat losses in team sports can be significant due to repeated bursts of high-intensity activity, as well as the large body size of athletes, equipment and uniform requirements, and environmental heat stress often present during training and competition. In this paper we aimed to: (1) describe sweat losses and fluid balance changes reported in team sport athletes, (2) review the literature assessing the impact of hypohydration on cognitive, technical, and physical performance in sports-specific studies, (3) briefly review the potential mechanisms by which hypohydration may impact team sport performance, and (4) discuss considerations for future directions. Significant hypohydration (mean body mass loss (BML) >2%) has been reported most consistently in soccer. Although American Football, rugby, basketball, tennis, and ice hockey have reported high sweating rates, fluid balance disturbances have generally been mild (mean BML <2%), suggesting that drinking opportunities were sufficient for most athletes to offset significant fluid losses. The effect of hydration status on team sport performance has been studied mostly in soccer, basketball, cricket, and baseball, with mixed results. Hypohydration typically impaired performance at higher levels of BML (3–4%) and when the method of dehydration involved heat stress. Increased subjective ratings of fatigue and perceived exertion consistently accompanied hypohydration and could explain, in part, the performance impairments reported in some studies. More research is needed to develop valid, reliable, and sensitive sport-specific protocols and should be used in future studies to determine the effects of hypohydration and modifying factors (e.g., age, sex, athlete caliber) on team sport performance. [full text]


Should I take protein supplements?

Anita Bean from

More than ever, young high performance athletes I advise are keen to give protein supplements a try. After all protein products are everywhere – in local shops, sports centres and cafes – and so widely promoted that it’s hard to believe that anyone isn’t taking them. Will they make me stronger, help me recover quicker, pack on more muscle? However, a lot of parents come to me worried that they could be wasting their money or, worse, that such products could be doing their young athlete harm. So, here’s the scoop on protein.


Does the NBA Draft Combine still matter?

Vox Media, SB Nation, Paul Flannery from

… then someone asked him the key question about this year’s combine. This week no less a figure than Kevin Durant suggested that the whole thing was a waste of time. Durant still harbors bad feelings about being embarrassed after he was unable to bench press 185 pounds a decade ago. There’s no way that in 2017 a player like Durant sets foot in Chicago, let alone subjects himself to a strength test.

“He may be right,” Calipari said. “For the guys if you think there’s anything here that will hurt you, don’t come. If there’s anything here that will help you, come. If you have to play to help yourself, come. If it doesn’t help you playing then don’t play. My job is to protect my guys. The job of these NBA teams is to get as much information as they can to get a great pick. So they would like to see every one of them play 5-on-5. It’s not the way it is for these kids.”


Hamidou Diallo Hasn’t Played a Game in Months. But His Draft Stock Is Rising.

The New York Times, Adam Zagoria from

… Calipari has become the acknowledged master of the rule; he has produced 18 one-and-done players during his time at Kentucky. He also has coached several No. 1 picks, including Anthony Davis and John Wall at Kentucky and Derrick Rose at the University of Memphis. But with Diallo, a 6-foot-6 swingman who posted an eyebrow-raising 44 1/2-inch vertical leap here, he may outdo even himself by coaching a so-called none-and-done.

Diallo appears to be following the lead of Thon Maker, who found a way around the N.B.A.’s ban on high-school-to-the-N.B.A. moves by playing a postgraduate year at Orangeville Prep in Canada and then entering the draft. Milwaukee selected him at No. 10.


MLS Defenders are Getting Older

American Soccer Analysis, Kevin Minkus from

… the average age (weighted by minutes played), of an MLS defender is increasing since 2011. So far into 2017, it’s at its highest point in the last 7 seasons, just ahead of 2016. (I should note that it’s possible older defenders get more minutes early in the season, because coaches might not yet trust their young guys. This would skew the 2017 figure. If we ignore 2017, 2016 still fits with this aging trend.) This is somewhat surprising. I don’t want to call it a narrative, but a lot of the general MLS squad-planning conversation revolves around the youth movement- the “play your kids” ideology. And I do think more and more coaches are starting to gravitate towards that way of thinking. Even the ones with a lot of money to spend recognize the importance of developing talent. But it’s important to note that we’re not yet seeing the full wave of those trends in the data.


Driveline Turns To Data For Solutions

Baseball America, J.J. Cooper from

Over the past few years, Driveline Baseball has gone from a small training facility in Seattle to one of the most significant pitching (and now hitting) labs in baseball. Driveline trains a variety of major league, minor league, college and high school players, while also consulting with various college and pro teams.

From day one, Driveline has embraced technology to allow it to study and refine its teaching techniques. That’s why it made sense for Baseball America to reach out to Driveline for our technology issue. Managing editor J.J. Cooper talked to Driveline founder Kyle Boddy about where tech has taken the game over the past decade—and where it will take it in the next 10 years.


Confident and capable: how Paul Clement saved Swansea City

The Guardian, Stuart James from

… Clement never thought for one moment that Swansea was a lost cause and his answer to that press conference question, which was phrased in a way that suggested he was on a hiding to nothing, said much about the 45‑year‑old’s self-belief as well as his way of working. While some managers would have made a big fuss about needing funds to make signings in the transfer window, or offered up a throwaway line about how many points were still available, Clement explained that he thought Swansea could survive because he would get out on the training ground and coach.

“There are capable and able footballers here,” he said. “Over recent games, to ship three goals, four goals, five goals, I’m confident in my ability as a coach that that won’t happen under my reign. I can’t say 100% it won’t – there is a lot of randomness in football. But I’m pretty confident it won’t happen because with the players that I’ve currently got, I think I can get them more organised than they’ve been, give them a bit of solidity in the defensive work and that’s the foundation to build what they’ve already shown they can be good at, which is the offensive side.”


Arsenal Stood Still While Its Rivals Got Better

FiveThirtyEight, Mike Goodman from

… So how has Arsenal found itself in this predicament? The streak is evidence that the team hasn’t had a really bad spell in decades. But that doesn’t mean the team has gotten any better — and that’s part of the problem. Wenger’s Arsenal for years has treaded water in the third- and fourth-place spots — last season was the first time Arsenal had finished above third since 2005. All it would take for the Gunners to fall would be for the other big clubs in the Premier League to play up to expectations. And this season that is exactly what has happened.

Arsenal has taken 66 points through 35 matches with a plus-26 goal difference. These numbers are not particularly unusual for Arsenal in the last several seasons. Since 2010-11, Arsenal’s points through 35 games have ranged from 64 to 70. The goal-difference numbers are ranged similarly, from plus-21 to plus-32. The Gunners’ stats this season show up at the lower end of the team’s recent level, but they are not outliers.


How football clubs fail and succeed after reaching England’s Premier League

The Conversation, Rob Wilson and Dan Plumley from

… There is broader evidence that the most successful clubs, with the most money, do tend to outperform, but the trade-off between financial and sporting performance is hazardous. Many clubs now choose to chase multiple and escalating objectives: recall the devastating failure at Leeds United in 2003, when creditors were owed almost £100m after the club chased the dream of playing in the Champions League. You chase that dream at your peril is the warning; plan carefully, and spend wisely is the advice to your board. Relegation doesn’t have to be a trapdoor, but promotion can be a trap.


MLB Is Having a Midlife Crisis

The Ringer, Zach Cram from

Baseball’s age-35-plus players are struggling at an unprecedented rate. So what’s the explanation — and can the league’s old guard turn things around?


New York Mets’ injury issues go far beyond the disabled list

ESPN MLB, Jerry Crasnick from

… how did all that grunting and sweating work out? Syndergaard, a fastball-throwing machine, won’t be throwing heat until after the All-Star break as he recuperates from a partially torn lat muscle. And Cespedes, who went on the disabled list April 28 with a strained left hamstring, hopes to return to action during a homestand next week.

As the Mets struggle to overcome the injuries, it’s impossible to pinpoint precisely where things went awry. Drawing a straight line from Point A to Point B and declaring a training regimen directly responsible for an injury is a dangerous and risky proposition.

But the results clearly aren’t what anyone in Flushing had envisioned and have helped perpetuate a reputation for chaos that the Mets would love to put in the past.


The NFL May Make A Smart Change To Its IR Rules

Deadspin, Dom Cosentino from

… It used to be that a player placed on injured reserve had to remain there for the duration of the season. In 2012, the league started allowing teams to designate one player on IR for return; that player has to spend at least six weeks on IR before he can practice, and eight before he can return to play. Last year, the rule was adapted to no longer require teams to identify the designated-for-return player in advance. The proposal expected to be approved next week is a logical extension of that.

Jason Fitzgerald, the owner of, told me he thinks the old requirement that players remain on IR for the season “dates back to teams trying to hoard talent.”


Improving Opposition Analysis by Examining Tactical Matchups

Hockey Graphs, Ryan Stimson from

On Monday, I introduced some work on quantifying and identifying team playing styles, which built upon my earlier work on identifying individual playing styles. Today we’re going to discuss how to make this data actionable.

What are the quantifiable traits of successful teams? What plays are they executing that makes them successful? How can we use data to then build a style of play that is more successful than what we’re currently doing? The way we bridge the gap between front office and behind the bench is by providing data to improve their matchup preparation, lineup optimization, and enhance tactical decisions.


Evidence-Based Prerequisites and Precursors of Athletic Talent: A Review | SpringerLink

Sports Medicine journal from

Extensive findings related to nature and nurture in determining athletic talent (AT) have been reviewed. Available data demonstrate the important contribution of hereditary factors as well as the crucial importance of environmental prerequisites for identifying and developing AT. Recent publications provide examples of contemporary approaches intended to solve the problem of how to discover and nurture AT. A number of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies highlighted possibilities of revealing a predisposition to certain sports among youthful prospects, but were unable to predict attainment of world-class status. Data pertaining to Olympic champions indicate that their superiority compared with other elite athletes is determined by high intrinsic motivation, determination, dedication, persistence, and creativity. These salient manifestations of personality could be successfully recognized even in the initial stages of their preparation, where exceptionally gifted individuals manifested high learnability and a high rate of athletic improvement. Moreover, future champions were characterized by an exceptional attitude to training and a willingness to perform more voluminous and high-quality training routines. Exceptionally talented athletes in endurance, power, and combat sports attained world-class status after 4–7 years of specialized preparation, accumulating 3000–7000 h of purposeful training. This stands in contradiction to Ericsson’s theory of deliberate practice and the 10-year rule. In contrast, Olympic artistic gymnastics champions attained world-class status following an average of 9.7 years of specialized preparation, accumulating an average of 8918 h of specialized training. Apparently, the theory of 10,000 h of deliberate practice and the 10-year rule are selectively applicable to highly coordinative esthetic sports but not to general preparation trends in endurance, power, and combat sports.


New redshirt proposal finds supporters across NCAA’s conferences

ESPN College Football, Andrea Adelson from

In December, Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette decided to skip bowl games. In January, coaches unanimously supported a proposal that would conceivably allow any redshirting player to participate in a bowl game.

While it is easy to connect the two with one straight line, anybody who follows the NCAA knows that nothing is ever as simple or clear-cut. Before McCaffrey and Fournette ever played a collegiate down, coaches discussed ways to change redshirt rules.

For years, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has wanted players to get five years of eligibility. Others advocated giving players five years to play four. Their reasons had nothing to do with bowls. Fisher pointed to the scholarship numbers, the wear and tear on teams, the ability to help alleviate depth concerns and player safety.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.