Applied Sports Science newsletter – June 10, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 10, 2017


New Orleans Saints’ Nick Fairley undergoing tests; has pre-existing heart ailment, source says


New Orleans Saints veteran defensive tackle Nick Fairley has undergone a new medical evaluation that includes testing of a pre-existing heart condition, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.


Clint Dempsey Closes In on Scoring Mark and a Legacy All His Own

The New York Times, Matt Pentz from

… Donovan said he remembered the first time Dempsey was called into camp, when Donovan mentioned to his roommate Brian Ching that the ball always seemed to gravitate toward the newcomer’s feet in the penalty area. Donovan thought to himself: What’s going on? Is this guy just that lucky?

Ching said it had nothing to do with luck. A fellow forward, he had noticed Dempsey’s uncommon instincts, but also his willingness to put himself into positions — to try things — that others might not have the nerve for.

“I started paying closer attention,” Donovan said, “and Brian was right.”


Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson continues to improve from ACL tear

ESPN NFL, Rob Demovsky from

… On the way to NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors, Nelson defied conventional wisdom that says a player isn’t the same until two years after a torn ACL — an idea that Nelson himself acknowledged last season.

Now here’s Nelson, the year after the year after he blew out his right knee in a 2015 preseason game, and the Green Bay Packers believe he could follow in the path of those who say they’re better two years after the injury than in the first season following it.


Clayton Kershaw of Los Angeles Dodgers downplays being pulled at 95 pitches

ESPN MLB, Alden Gonzalez from

… The Los Angeles Dodgers ace batted to end the seventh inning, but didn’t come out to pitch the top of the eighth, even though he was at a pretty reasonable 95 pitches, 23 shy of his season high.

After the game, a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he simply “changed my mind” about trotting Kershaw back out for the eighth. Kershaw was visibly irritated with the decision, but didn’t let on in the postgame media scrum.


Athletes Are Embracing The Science of Sleep. Here’s How. | HuffPost

Huffington Post, Khalil Jones from

In the play Henry IV, Shakespeare describes sleep as nature’s gentle healer that enables us to close our eyelids and forget our worries. Unfortunately, the healing powers of a good snooze aren’t available to everyone. Today, nearly one-third of the U.S. population are lacking sleep.

A busy routine can interfere with our ability to get proper rest. However, sports science is revealing new ways to improve the process of sleep. Lebron James, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps and teams such as New England Patriots and Portland Trailblazers are focusing on quality rest to enhance the athlete’s ability to recover from inflammation, joint and muscle pain, fatigue and injury. Moreover, trainers are beginning to consider sleep as the third leg of a new performance trifecta that begins with nutrition and training, and ends with optimal recovery.


Think you’re self-aware? Think again

The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman from

The psychologist Tasha Eurich reports that 95% of people think they’re self-aware – that is, conscious of what really makes them tick and how they come across to others – yet only about 10-15% of us truly are. The discrepancy shouldn’t come as a surprise, since one thing people with no self-awareness are going to lack self-awareness about, you’d assume, is their lack of self-awareness.

Doubtless you’re familiar with this phenomenon: your world is probably full of people – friends, colleagues, bosses – who seemingly haven’t a clue how others really see them. But, of course, the real question is whether that’s also true of you. Or, in my case, me. Perhaps we’re no better, when it comes to self-knowledge, than the prisoners in one 2013 study, mostly violent criminals, who judged themselves to be kinder and more trustworthy than most people – and, most disconcertingly of all, no less law-abiding than the average non-prisoner.


Hamstring Injury Prevention in Soccer: Before or After Training? – Lovell

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from

We examined the effects of a 12-week program of Nordic hamstring exercises (NHE), administered before or after football training, upon eccentric hamstring strength, muscle activity, and architectural adaptations. Amateur soccer players were randomized into 3 groups. The control group (CON; n=11) undertook core stability exercises, whereas a periodized NHE program was delivered either before (NHEBEF; n=10) or after (NHEAFT; n=14) bi-weekly training sessions. Outcome measures included peak torque and concomitant normalized peak surface electromyography signals (sEMG) of the biceps femoris (BF) and medial hamstring (MH) muscles during knee flexor maximal eccentric contractions, performed at 30°·s−1. Ultrasonography was used to determine BF muscle thickness, muscle fiber pennation angle, and fascicle length. Performing the NHE derived likely moderate peak torque increases in both NHEBEF (+11.9%; 90% confidence interval: 3.6% to 20.9%) and NHEAFT (+11.6%; 2.6% to 21.5%) versus CON. Maximum sEMG increases were moderately greater in the BF of both NHE training groups versus CON. There were likely moderate increases in BF muscle thickness (+0.17 cm; 0.05 cm to 0.29 cm) and likely small pennation angle increases (+1.03°; -0.08° to 2.14°) in NHEAFT versus CON and NHEBEF. BF fascicle length increases were likely greater in NHEBEF (+1.58 cm; 0.48 cm to 2.68 cm; small effect) versus CON and NHEAFT. A 12-week eccentric hamstring-strengthening program increased strength and sEMG to a similar magnitude irrespective of its scheduling relative to the football training session. However, architectural adaptations to support the strength gains differed according to the timing of the injury prevention program.


The Growth Equation: Stress + Rest = Growth

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, Peak Performance blog from

… we learned that the world’s best performers — in domains as varied as sport, art, and business — follow a common pathway to continual growth. They take on challenges and make themselves uncomfortable (stress) and then follow those challenges with recovery and reflection (rest). Then they rinse and repeat, with a slightly greater challenge. Too much stress, not enough rest and the result is injury, illness, or burnout. Not enough stress, too much rest and the result is complacency.


‘Cool Story, Bro’ – The Fallacy of Training Systems and Conventional Wisdom on Training Prescription

Complementary Training blog, Paul Gamble from

Let us begin with a revelation: athletes are humans not machines.

If we start with such a fundamental understanding of the nature of what we are dealing with, it quickly becomes apparent that the challenge of planning and prescribing training for athletes is not conducive to a ‘machine’ approach. Yet many in the field steadfastly cling onto a particular training system. And many of us are a slave to a spreadsheet approach to prescribing training.

We must accept that we are dealing with inherently complex and highly dynamic biological systems. Input does not necessarily equal output. Indeed output is not necessarily stable or predictable. Even the manner in which the input is perceived by the athlete can exert an important influence on training stress responses. This is not something that a training system or a spreadsheet can generally cope with.


Barcelona confirm Ernesto Valverde as new manager at Camp Nou

The Guardian, from

… “He was not the only name on the table. From the moment Luis Enrique said he was not going to continue (technical secretary) Robert Fernandez began a search. He spoke to a lot of people and studied the market. Many people took part in this decision and we did look at different names but our conclusion was one name and one coach. We know him, we know what he can do.

“Robert explained he was looking for a coach who had the Barcelona profile and knows the style. Ernesto is a very hard worker. He has knowledge, experience and has a philosophy similar to ours. He works a lot, he likes using technology.”


Prediction: The Modern Day Sports Science/Medicine ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’.

International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance from

In high performance sport, science and medicine practitioners employ a variety of physical and psychological tests, training/match monitoring and injury screening tools for a variety of reasons; mainly to predict performance, identify talented individuals and flag when an injury will occur. The ability to ‘predict’ outcomes such as performance, talent or injury is arguably the sports science/medicine modern day equivalent of the ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’. The purpose of this invited commentary is to 1) highlight the common misinterpretation of studies investigating association to those actually analysing prediction and 2) provide practitioners with simple recommendations to quickly distinguish between methods pertaining to association and those of prediction.


US adjusting to Arena’s system as World Cup qualifier looms

Associated Press, Pat Graham from

… “They have to understand the things we’re trying to do, and I don’t think we’re already there,” said Arena, whose team settled for a 1-1 draw with Venezuela on Saturday in Sandy, Utah. “The examples of Saturday’s game is good, to show some of the issues we have and correct them and be ready for Thursday.”

The team elected to switch things up Monday, going with an afternoon practice instead of being put through its paces in a morning session. Anything to that?

“We just wanted to have a meeting in the morning,” Arena said. “Meeting, practice, have lunch and off the rest of the day. Wasn’t rocket science.”


Sticking around town gives some Hoosiers head-start with Archie Miller, Zach Osterman from

Despite being allowed to go home for most of May, five of Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller’s new players have instead kept him and his new staff busy inside Cook Hall.

Players are allowed to spend the first four weeks of the offseason away from Bloomington if they choose, with IU’s roster set to report for the official start of summer workouts later this month.

Nevertheless, seniors Collin Hartman and Robert Johnson, junior Juwan Morgan and sophomores De’Ron Davis and Curtis Jones all elected to spend the first four weeks of the summer in Bloomington, working out on campus and with IU’s new strength coach Clif Marshall.


Generation Why: A Look Into The Off-Field Development Of A Bundesliga Player

SportTechie, Jonathan Harding from

… All of this work is done to increase the chances of the one thing all professional sports teams want to do as much as possible: win. Sound nutrition and expert training analysis and video reviews is at the core of most top clubs, so staying ahead in soccer isn’t all that easy.

The days of astonishment at the presence of such technology flew by quicker than you can say Apple. Now the focus is on the effective application of such technology — aka using numbers to make wins. After qualifying for European competition every season since 2009-10, Leverkusen’s 2016-17 season was one of their worst on record. There’s no doubt the club has everything at its fingertips to succeed. Perhaps it’s just time to redraw those fine margins.


England squad trains with Royal Marines ahead of June meet-up

The FA, Men's Senior from

… “We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren’t expecting,” Southgate explained.

“The Marines talk about a dislocated expectation, and that was part of the theme of the camp – how will we be adaptable in moments of difficulty for us as a team?

“There were some team objectives around pushing themselves beyond where they thought they could go and knowing you don’t want to let any of your team-mates down.


Do players and staff sleep more during the pre- or competitive season of elite rugby league?

European Journal of Sport Science from

This study establishes the sleep behaviour of players and staff during the pre- and competitive seasons of elite rugby league. For seven days during both the pre- and competitive seasons, seven rugby league players and nine full-time staff from one professional Australian rugby league club had their sleep monitored via wrist actigraphy and self-report sleep diaries. Two-way repeated measures analysis of variance determined differences between the pre- and competitive season in players and staff, with effect sizes (ES) used to interpret the practical magnitude of differences. Findings show an earlier bed time and wake time for players (−34 min, ES = 1.5;±0.5 and −39 min, 2.1;±0.5 respectively) and staff (−29 min, ES = 0.8;±0.3 and −35 min, ES = 1.7;±0.4 respectively) during pre-season when compared to the competitive season. Despite this, no differences were seen when considering the amount of time in bed, sleep duration or sleep efficiency obtained between the pre- and competitive seasons. Our results suggest that early morning training sessions scheduled during pre-season advances wake time in elite rugby league. However, both players and staff can aim to avoid reductions in sleep duration and sleep efficiency with subsequent adjustment of night time sleep patterns. This may be particularly pertinent for staff, who wake earlier than players during both the pre- and competitive seasons.


Long-Term Cardiovascular Adaptations And Implications For Preseason Training

CSCCa Monthly, Jason Dierking from

… Here’s the key: Central adaptations respond best to high intensity work (intervals, etc., that create very high heart rates).

Peripheral adaptations respond best to low intensity work around the aerobic threshold.

This is where people often make big mistakes when doing fitness training. They think (as I once did) that no matter what distance they’re training at for a given session, just go as hard as you can all the time. If you’re doing 400-meter repeats, run them all out in the best times possible. If you’re running 5 miles, then run 5 miles as fast as you can. There is no thought to controlling intensity based on achieving specific adaptations; the goal is simply to empty the tank every workout.


WNT Preps Bodies and Minds for European Friendlies

U.S. Soccer from

… Even though long travel and quick turnarounds over the world’s time zones are status quo for international soccer players, particularly for the members of the U.S. WNT who have played in multiple World Cups and Olympics, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing get accustomed to, no matter how many times one has hopped on an intercontinental flight.

“I always send the players jetlag guidelines so they know what they can do before they travel,” U.S. WNT Fitness and Sport Science Coach Dawn Scott said. “It’s things like going to bed an hour earlier, eating carbs at night and hydrating; even more so as they will be coming from NWSL games. Once they get on the plane, recovery strategies are important, like wearing compression socks and pants, getting a bite to eat and then going to sleep almost immediately after getting on the plane.”


CU Nike sub2 shoe poster at ACSM

Twitter, Michael Joyner from


ECG chest straps are not as accurate as you might think

Valencell from

Valencell evaluates a lot of wearables in our Biometrics Lab. Last year we completed over 36,000 device tests measuring over 2,000 hours of data collection and validation on biometric wearables. Almost all of this testing uses an electrode-based (ECG) chest strap to validate performance of the device or devices we’re testing. Most people consider ECG chest straps to be the gold standard for testing biometric wearable devices and for good reason. They are very accurate for measuring heart rate and R-R interval. However, there’s a misconception in the market that needs to be corrected:

The misconception is that ECG chest straps work all of the time. The reality is they are not 100% accurate. Failures of tracking metrics occur just like any other biometric wearable device.


A machine learning approach for gait speed estimation using skin-mounted wearable sensors: From healthy controls to individuals with multiple sclerosis

PLOS One; Ryan S. McGinnis, Nikhil Mahadevan et al. from

Gait speed is a powerful clinical marker for mobility impairment in patients suffering from neurological disorders. However, assessment of gait speed in coordination with delivery of comprehensive care is usually constrained to clinical environments and is often limited due to mounting demands on the availability of trained clinical staff. These limitations in assessment design could give rise to poor ecological validity and limited ability to tailor interventions to individual patients. Recent advances in wearable sensor technologies have fostered the development of new methods for monitoring parameters that characterize mobility impairment, such as gait speed, outside the clinic, and therefore address many of the limitations associated with clinical assessments. However, these methods are often validated using normal gait patterns; and extending their utility to subjects with gait impairments continues to be a challenge. In this paper, we present a machine learning method for estimating gait speed using a configurable array of skin-mounted, conformal accelerometers. We establish the accuracy of this technique on treadmill walking data from subjects with normal gait patterns and subjects with multiple sclerosis-induced gait impairments. For subjects with normal gait, the best performing model systematically overestimates speed by only 0.01 m/s, detects changes in speed to within less than 1%, and achieves a root-mean-square-error of 0.12 m/s. Extending these models trained on normal gait to subjects with gait impairments yields only minor changes in model performance. For example, for subjects with gait impairments, the best performing model systematically overestimates speed by 0.01 m/s, quantifies changes in speed to within 1%, and achieves a root-mean-square-error of 0.14 m/s. Additional analyses demonstrate that there is no correlation between gait speed estimation error and impairment severity, and that the estimated speeds maintain the clinical significance of ground truth speed in this population. These results support the use of wearable accelerometer arrays for estimating walking speed in normal subjects and their extension to MS patient cohorts with gait impairment.


Nike Ease Challenge

YouTube, Nike from

Nike Ease Challenge finalists present their solutions to a panel of judges including Mark Parker, Carl Lewis, Elena Delle Donne and Tatyana McFadden.


The app that’s redefining the way White Sox players work out

CSN Chicago, Dan Hayes from

Similar to many other aspects of sports, technology has invaded and improved the White Sox strength and conditioning program.

The White Sox have streamlined their program with the aide of the CoachMePlus application, which allows players to participate in offseason workouts wherever they are.

While the in-season benefits are extremely helpful in creating an electronic, real-time log of a player’s activities, the most significant benefit comes in October. As long as they have an internet connection, players can log in from anywhere to learn what strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas has designed. The app not only offers a detailed workout plan, it provides video examples of each exercise and a chance to comment and the ability to update the activities completed as they occur.


Thoughts on the wearables studies (including The Stanford Wearables study)

Ray Maker, DC Rainmaker blog from

… in general – these studies are doing good work. They’re aiming to validate and hold accountable manufacturer claims. That’s always a good thing – and something I aim to do here as well. Many times these studies will focus on a specific claim – such as heart rate accuracy, or step accuracy. As those are generally somewhat easy to validate externally through a variety of means. In the case of steps it can be as simple as manually counting the steps taken, and in the case of heart rate it may be medical grade systems to cross-reference to.

All of which are 100% valid ways to corroborate data from wearables.

Except there’s one itty bitty problem I’m seeing more and more often: They’re often doing it wrong.


San Francisco 49ers Among Lead Investors In Kenzen Health Wearables

SportTechie, Matt De Silva from

Kenzen, a health analytics company, announced Monday that it has raised $5 million in strategic investment for development, support and marketing of its ECHO Smart Patch wearable technology. Kenzen’s investors include Digitalis, Flex (formerly Flextronics), the San Francisco 49ers, Hickory Ventures, Gaingels, and the Women’s Capital Connection.

Kenzen had previously piloted projects with the 49ers. The ECHO is a small and non-invasive flexible patch that conducts sweat analysis, measures vital signs, and utilizes motion sensors to predict and prevent avoidable injuries and illnesses. Kenzen’s connected technology delivers real-time information about athletes’ performance and health through its mobile application.


Scene-completing system may show robots what they’re missing

Princeton Engineering from

Researchers from Princeton University’s Department of Computer Science have come up with a way to help robots and other machines get a clearer picture of their surroundings in three dimensions.

If a robot needs to clean a room, for example, it needs to know where it can move in order to navigate around the space. It also needs to identify different objects in the room so it can make make the bed or put away the dishes.

The researchers have come up with a way for the robot to understand both at the same time.


Will other ailing athletes follow Cvijanovic’s example?

Champaign News-Gazette, Marcus Jackson from

After convincing his alma mater to cut him a quarter-million dollar check for medical issues stemming from playing three seasons on Illinois’ offensive line, Simon Cvijanovic has set out on a new course:

Helping scores of other college athletes who suffered like he did — and have sought his counsel, via private Twitter messages — get the same result.

Whether it will come to that is the $250,000 question after a week that saw the UI accept some of the responsibility for the aches and breaks Cvijanovic suffered while playing for former coach Tim Beckman.


New shoe use was characterized by a 47.5% incidence of foot injuries and other msk injuries to the back, hips & knees. #ACSM

Twitter, Bruce Williams from


Pro athletes make fixing back pain look easy. It isn’t

STAT, Cathryn Jakobson Ramin from


any individuals afflicted with back pain look to the experience of professional athletes as they try to decide how to treat it. When sports figures’ backs give out, they don’t adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Instead, they seek help immediately, from a shortlist of high-profile spine surgeons who drop everything to care for them. After their procedures but before they return to the court, field, or course, these players undergo weeks of arduous physical rehabilitation. But the public never sees that grind. Instead, we see that, in record time, they’re back to work, fulfilling the requirements of their multimillion-dollar contracts.

Except when they aren’t.

Failed back surgeries for Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, and golf legend Tiger Woods offer cautionary lessons about surgery for back pain.


The Bio-Psycho-Social Model… ALL components are important!

Trust Me I'm a Physiotherapist blog, Ben Cormack from

… In reality ALL OF THE COMPONENTS of the BPS model matter when dealing with people, it’s just that different components may matter more or less for different people in relation to their current problem. One of the greatest tools in the therapist arsenal is having a REASONING process and this is being able to determine which component is MOST important to be managed first and how much of the available time and effort is put into managing it.

It is quite possible the same person may need an emphasis on different components at different times during the rehab process and that this reasoning does not remain static. Someone who is fear avoidant of a certain position or movement may need help that is targeted towards the negative perceived outcome of a movement, we could call this psychological, than the actual effect of the movement itself on the tissue, more biological. As the rehabilitation process progresses then biological and even biomechanical aspects may become much more important. You certainly can’t talk tolerance into a tissue, but you may have to talk to them first to get to the physical bit!


Highlights from the 2017 future of football medicine conference

BMJ Blogs: BJSM blog, Dr. Chris Garnett from

On 13-15th May 2017, the largest annual football medicine event in the world took place at the iconic Camp Nou in Barcelona. ‘The Future of Football Medicine’ Conference, organised by the Isokinetic Medical Group in association with FIFA, brought together 2,500 delegates and 197 of the world’s most renowned speakers from 90 different countries. Over the 3 days, researchers, clinicians and sports scientists delivered talks and workshops on the latest sports medicine research, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and optimisation of player and team performance.


British Cycling overhauls medical procedures after independent review, Simon MacMichael from

British Cycling has outlined a number of reforms of its medical procedures in the wake of an independent review announced in April, including introducing a new role of Head of Medicine.

The review was carried out by Dr Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the English Institute of Sport and come after stinging criticism of the procedures at the national governing body (NGB), including its record keeping, by a House of Commons Select Committee investigating doping in sport.


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]


Why Shouldn’t Aging Athletes Be Allowed to Take Testosterone?

Outside Online, Andrew Tilin from

On a steamy Saturday morning in June 2016, 48-year-old road racer Kim Ciolli lined up for the Women’s Master 40+ event at the St. Francis Tulsa Tough. Ciolli’s race was one in a series of prestigious criterium races held annually over a three-day weekend in the northern Oklahoma city. As she looked over the competition, Ciolli thought one thing. “I’m going to win the race,” she told me months later. … A little over two months after Ciolli’s Oklahoma race, USADA announced that she had tested positive for testosterone and a stimulant called propylhexedrine, and would be banned from all sanctioned competition for two years. What followed for Ciolli, a longtime fixture and leader in Texas women’s cycling, has been shame, sadness, frustration, anger, and finally the epiphany that maybe the anti-doping system, at least in its treatment of older athletes, is broken.


6 Nutrition Apps Triathletes Will Love

USA Triathlon, Michelle Meinking from

With countless nutrition apps available ranging from cooking tips to calorie counting, it can be overwhelming to find one that might be right for you. As many athletes know, being mindful of what you are consuming and fueling your body appropriately is crucial to performance. Nutrition apps can be useful tools to track nutrients and eating patterns. However, choosing the best one for you may be difficult given the endless availability of new apps. In selecting an app, it is important to recognize what you want the app to do for you. Do you want to track calories? Macronutrients? Meal timing? Diet quality? Or a little bit of everything? Other important factors to consider include accessing information that is easy to understand and finding user- friendly platforms.

To simplify this process for you, we chose six of our favorite apps, each offering unique features.

1. Nutrino:


4 Race-Day Nutrition Mistakes that Undermine Your Performance – Dave Scott

Dave Scott from

All too often I’ve seen athletes looking to PR — or even win their Kona slot – who end up being plagued by nutritional problems that prevent them from reaching their goals.

Does this sound like you? If so, then read on to avoid these 4 common hazards and nail your race-day nutrition strategy for a winning performance:

1. You Overdo the Fluid Replacement Drinks Before the Race


How to Eat to Improve Your Thinking

Amplified Soccer Training, Casey Ames from

… here are four main areas we should address when we apply nutrition to optimizing our cognitive performance. The first is how we can eat to improve our mood. The second, how the diet will keep us alert. Third, nutrition and its effects on concentration. Last but not least, how the Optimal Soccer Diet can improve memory.

The effects of diet on the brain in these four categories is important for soccer players looking to take their game to the next level because they change the way we play. With an improved mood, you can step out onto the field with a stronger confidence and take down other players that much easier. With a heightened alertness, you can make snappy decisions quicker, and react to the changes in the game that much faster. With a stronger concentration, you won’t make mistakes, you’ll drop into a rhythm that puts you on an entirely different plane of playing than the other players. With improved memory, the work you put in outside of the match will be that much easier to access making you a huge threat on the field.


NBA commissioner Adam Silver alludes to changing NBA’s age limit

USA Today Sports, Jeff Zillgitt from

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is open to exploring a change to the league’s age limit, saying on Thursday that the one-and-done rule is “not working for anyone.”

The current rule is that a player must be 19 years old and one year removed from his high school graduating class.

“The college coaches and athletic directors I hear from, they’re not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren’t happy either, in part because they don’t necessarily think the players who are coming into the league are getting the kind of training they would expect to see among top draft picks in the league,” Silver said.


How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide

The New Yorker, Michelle Nijhuis from

The results of our most recent Presidential election notwithstanding, West and Bergstrom maintain that humans are pretty good at detecting verbal bullshit. Members of the species have, after all, been talking rot for millennia, and its warning signs are well known. Bullshit expressed as data, on the other hand, is relatively new outside scientific circles. Multivariate graphs didn’t begin to appear in the popular press until the nineteen-eighties, and only in the past decade, as smartphones and other information-gathering devices have accelerated the accumulation of Big Data, have complex visualizations been routinely presented to the general public. While data can be used to tell remarkably deep and memorable stories, Bergstrom told me, its apparent sophistication and precision can effectively disguise a great deal of bullshit.


Colorado’s Pablo Mastroeni: “Stats will lose to the human spirit every day” from

As the field of soccer analytics and statistics continues to grow, providing greater insight and information on the countless events and trends across matches and seasons, there are some who are still hesitant to buy in to all the numbers.

Count Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni in the latter camp.

Less than a year after former LA Galaxy boss and current US national team head coach Bruce Arena famously quipped that “analytics and statistics are used for people who don’t know how to analyze the game,” Mastroeni has joined the fray with some memorable comments of his own on the topic.


These days in baseball, every batter is trying to find an angle

The Washington Post, Dave Sheinin and Armand Emamdjomeh from

… “No grounders,” Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, the 2015 American League MVP and one of the movement’s most vocal proponents, said earlier this year. “Groundballs are outs. If you see me hit a groundball, even if it’s a hit, I can tell you: It was an accident.”


How coaches evaluate body language during a game

USA Today High School Sports, Joe Leccesi from

There’s a superpower that instantly impresses college coaches—and it has nothing to do with your student-athlete’s size, speed or agility.

It’s all about their body language. From shoulder shrugs to high fives of encouragement, a coach can learn everything they need to know about a recruit without even talking to them. And when your child displays confident, positive body language on the field, it’s a tell-tale sign they can make a successful impact on the team.

In fact, many college coaches adapt coaching techniques around body language. Mike Brey, men’s basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame, explains in an interview with Positive Coach Alliance that bad body language can be “cancerous.” His solution? Have players watch film to see how they communicate on the court, and then correct it.


How Statcast has changed MLB and why not everybody seems all that happy about it, R.J. Anderson from

… “What gets a little bit lost is while there are certainly some variations and park effects, it seems like it’s actually less than it was previously with PITCHf/x,” said’s Mike Petriello. “I’ve seen some of the articles you talk about, I do think some of the criticisms were fair, we certainly had a little bit of a bumpy transition as we were going from the old system to the new this year. But overall, I think things have really settled down. We know there are certain things the system does very well and certain things the system doesn’t do as well. The goal is to be continuously improving on that.”

Petriello joined after years at his own Los Angeles Dodgers site, as well as FanGraphs. He’s familiar with the baseball analytics community, and presumably with its desire for a scientific approach to all things. Trust is earned through independent replication and verification, nothing else — even God has to provide p-values. Predictably, neither Statcast’s inaccuracies nor its near-black-box ensconcing have been embraced. Though the unwieldiness of the data (a single game produces more raw data than the Library of Congress adds to its web archive data every month) would make it difficult for most public-facing analysts to manage, everyone wants the opportunity to look for themselves.


Ranking the NFL’s fastest players – 2017

ESPN NFL, Matt Bowen from

… Figuring out the NFL’s fastest man used to be so easy. We’d line these dudes up and race. Now, not so much. So I’m here to help. I watched the tape to see whose track speed translates to the field.

Here are 12 current NFL players who can absolutely fly.

1. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs


The Phoenix Suns Are Running the Hell Out of NBA Prospects During Pre-Draft Workouts

STACK, Jordan Zim from

For an NBA prospect, the gauntlet of the pre-draft process can be exhausting. Sometimes you fly to several cities in one day to work out for various NBA teams, and those workouts are not to be taken lightly. In addition of individual drills, many teams put prospects through a rigorous game (or games) of 3-on-3. Throw in the interviews and you have one helluva private workout.

The Phoenix Suns don’t care about any of that. They want to see what you can do when you’re body is at its weakest, so for years they’ve asked their prospects to participate in what they call the “three-minute run” at the end of the workout session. With three minutes on the clock, prospects are instructed to sprint from baseline to baseline, counting each touch of the line as one length. The prospects try to run as many lengths as they can before time runs out.


There’s a stat for that: Astros weave modern data into broadcasts

Houston Chronicle, David Barron from

… For a lot of fans, FIP (fielding independent pitching), BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and WRC& (weighted runs created, which takes ballpark configurations into account) provide a deeper dive into how players are performing and, for teams like the Astros that focus on big data, how ballclubs are constructed.

“Broadcasters tend to go with the culture of the club, and for the Houston Astros, you’d be remiss if you weren’t talking the language that they speak,” MLB Network studio host Brian Kenny said. “They (the Astros) are a data-driven operation.”


World Cup qualifiers: Serbia loss ‘was catalyst for Wales success’

BBC Wales Sport, Michael Pearlman from

… After Wales’ last visit to Serbia in September 2012 – which resulted in a humiliating 6-1 defeat – many, possibly most Wales fans, were calling for him to resign.

Coleman himself describes the game as a watershed moment in his managerial career, the point where he decided he had to forge his own path and stop trying to replicate the style of his predecessor and great friend, Gary Speed.

Wales were five games unbeaten when Welsh football was rocked to its core by Speed’s death and it seemed Coleman had been handed a simply impossible task of reinvigorating a squad that were crestfallen at the loss of a leader they loved.


Flames GM talks NHL Expansion Draft, goalie plans, Ovechkin rumour – Sportsnet.caRadio_IconRadio_Icon, Luke Fox from

Brad Treliving was blown away by the impact the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft had on last week’s scouting combine.

Not only was attendance up among front-office types, but the types of conversations being held were abnormal. Meaning: more deal-focused and productive.


Baseball keeps getting slower, but change will come by 2018

ESPN MLB, Buster Olney from

After months of haggling over the final details of the new collective bargaining agreement, the document is completed and now in the hands of printers, sources said. This clears the way for the pace-of-action conversations between Major League Baseball and the players’ association that are destined to have a lasting impact on a sport long celebrated for its timelessness.

Baseball officials and players may ultimately embrace — or confront — two words that seemed unimaginable even five or 10 years ago: pitch clock. And as the union and MLB exchange ideas in the months ahead, some players privately hope that part of the solution is the advent of an electronic strike zone, which they believe could serve to move the games along as much as a time limit between pitches.


How Real Madrid Won the UEFA Champions League

Hudl Blog, Trevor Hellman from

… When analysts prep for a match, it generally boils down to a few key questions. “The starting point in my workflow is highlighting what does the opposition do well and how do we go about stopping them from doing that,” Analyst One said. “For me personally, my first question would be, how do they attack? What are their strengths in attack? And how can we adapt our team shape, and what we do to stop them from creating chances?”

From a preparation perspective, that can mean a number of different things for the backroom staff at both clubs. A large portion of the analysis they receive on their opposition comes from services like Opta, where they use data to build a picture of their opponent and how they’re going to play. From there, that data is brought in and matched with video to validate what they are seeing in the data.

“If I were Juve, I would have a lot of code buttons with output on our defensive shape based on the game plan the manager decides,” Analyst Two said. “In a nutshell, are they hurting us or not? Likely codes would be negative and positive for each area of the plan.”


Power Play: How Big Data is Revolutionizing Hockey

Medium, Cloud Computing Management, David W. Lucky from

Few sporting events are more exciting to attend than a hockey game. No matter if you’re sitting rink side or all the way in the top row, there’s an undeniable energy in the arena. While more casual fans are probably hoping for lots of goals and the occasional fight to break out, fans of analytics have plenty of reasons to celebrate — we’re really starting to see what big data can do within the sport. Let’s take a look at how big data is already transforming the ice.

HockeyTech is one company that’s trying to take the data the NHL provides to the next level. Stu Siegel, former managing partner/owner of the Florida Panthers, founded the company in 2012 after hearing concerns that the data the NHL has isn’t always accurate or even available. HockeyTech works with every NHL team to provide strategic and useful information.

“You can have the smartest analytics people in the world,” Siegel said. “But if they don’t have good data they are going to be limited. Many of the GMs I talk to are very weary of the data and its consistency.”


6 things to know about Ohio State’s $170M athletics budget

Dayton Daily News, Chris Stewart from

… Between Matta and football Urban Meyer, the two took home about 35 percent of the total $22.9 million the university paid out during 2016 to all coaches — including assistants — in the 30 or so men’s and women’s sports teams at OSU, according to Title IX disclosures to the U.S. Department of Education.

Meyer was the highest paid public employee in Ohio during 2016, making $4.61 million in salary and bonus pay. Their boss, athletic director Gene Smith, made $1.98 million.


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