Applied Sports Science newsletter – June 12, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 12, 2017


How should Patriots handle Rob Gronkowski’s playing time in 2017?

ESPN NFL, Mike Reiss from

… most would agree with the idea of managing him carefully so he can stay healthy the entire season, it isn’t realistic for any player to sit all season and then be able to be at his best in the postseason.

While not talking about this situation specifically, coach Bill Belichick has regularly detailed his philosophy that football players must play football during the season. Players need the practice reps to stay sharp and the game reps to be in top condition.

Another layer to consider with this situation is that the club tweaked Gronkowski’s contract to give him the chance to earn more money in 2017 based on either playing time or performance. So by potentially taking the extreme approach of not playing him until the playoffs, the Patriots would also restrict Gronkowski from earning more money.


One man molded Rafael Nadal into the King of Clay. This is his last French Open as his coach.

The Washington Post, Douglas Robson from

… over 27 years, Toni’s wealth of knowledge — a kind of “ownership” — of Rafael’s game is one few coaches ever achieve.

Unlike many filial coaching ventures, their relationship has thrived because they are a step removed from the more typical arrangement, Gimelstob added.

“It’s family, but it doesn’t come with the same emotional dynamics as a parent,” he said.


Upbeat Ravens cornerback Tavon Young says his recovery from a torn ACL has already started

Baltimore Sun, Jeff Zrebiec from

Ravens cornerback Tavon Young walked onto the field at Lardarius Webb’s charity softball game Sunday at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen with only a slight limp. The only evidence that he recently suffered a significant knee injury was the bulky brace on his left knee.

Young said he’ll likely have surgery within the next week but that his recovery from a likely season-ending torn ACL has already started mentally.



Frontiers in Physiology from

The economy of running has traditionally been quantified from the mass-specific oxygen uptake; however, because fuel substrate usage varies with exercise intensity, it is more accurate to express running economy in units of metabolic energy. Fundamentally, the understanding of the major factors that influence the energy cost of running (Erun) can be obtained with this approach. Erun is determined by the energy needed for skeletal muscle contraction. Here, we approach the study of Erun from that perspective. The amount of energy needed for skeletal muscle contraction is dependent on the force, duration, shortening, shortening velocity and length of the muscle. These factors therefore dictate the energy cost of running. It is understood that some determinants of the energy cost of running are not trainable: environmental factors, surface characteristics and certain anthropometric features. Other factors affecting Erun are altered by training: other anthropometric features, muscle and tendon properties and running mechanics. Here, the key features that dictate the energy cost during distance running are reviewed in the context of skeletal muscle energetics.


Mechanical Determinants of Faster Change of Direction Speed Performance in Male Athletes

Strength of Science blog from

Mechanical variables during change of directions, for example, braking and propulsive forces, impulses, and ground contact times (GCT) have been identified as determinants of faster change of direction speed (CODS) performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanical determinants of 1808 CODS performance with mechanical characteristic comparisons between faster and slower performers; while exploring the role of the penultimate foot contact (PEN) during the change of direction. Forty multidirectional male athletes performed 6 modified 505 (mod505) trials (3 left and right), and ground reaction forces were collected across the PEN and final foot contact (FINAL) during the change of direction. Pearson’s correlation coefficients and coefficients of determination were used to explore the relationship between mechanical variables and mod505 completion
time. Independent T-tests and Cohen’s d effect sizes (ES) were conducted between faster (n = 10) and slower (n = 10) mod505 performers to explore differences in mechanical variables. Faster CODS performance was associated (p # 0.05) with shorter GCTs (r = 0.701–0.757), greater horizontal
propulsive forces (HPF) (r = 20.572 to 20.611), greater horizontal braking forces (HBF) in the PEN (r = 20.337), lower HBF ratios (r = 20.429), and lower FINAL vertical impact forces (VIF) (r = 0.449–0.559). Faster athletes demonstrated significantly (p # 0.05, ES = 1.08–2.54) shorter FINAL GCTs, produced lower VIF, lower HBF ratios, and greater HPF in comparison to slower athletes. These findings suggest that different mechanical properties are required to produce faster CODS performance, with differences in mechanical properties observed between fast and slower performers. Furthermore, applying a greater proportion of braking force during the PEN relative to the FINAL may be advantageous for turning performance.


USMNT Insider: Exclusive look at altitude tents, Grant Wahl from

Over the past two weeks, the U.S. went to its most extensive lengths ever to prepare for playing at the 7,200-foot altitude of Estadio Azteca. For the first time, U.S. Soccer has released a photograph of the altitude tents that the players have been sleeping in since arriving for camp in Denver. Advised by fitness coach Daniel Guzmán and high-performance director James Bunce, they cranked up the tents to simulate sleeping at an altitude of 10,000 feet.


Photos: Players Workout at Front Street Boxing Gym

Philadelphia 76ers from

Sixers players organized a fun, offseason conditioning workout yesterday at the Front Street Boxing Gym in Philadelphia. Team members came together to bond and learn the art of the “sweet science” at one of the sport’s famed, storied boxing gyms.


Now More Than Ever, Employees Want To Know: Is There A Second Marshmallow?

Forbes, Rodd Wagner from

… More than 40 years after the original Stanford marshmallow experiment, three researchers at the University of Rochester decided to test whether decisions in the now-versus-future dilemma say as much about the environment in which the kids are placed as it does about those children’s personalities.

Lead researcher Celeste Kidd, who had worked at shelters for homeless families, reasoned that eating the marshmallow would be the optimal choice for a child who was skeptical of promises about the future. “Working there gave me some strong intuitions about what kids who were in that situation would do, given the marshmallow task,” she told Bloomberg Businessweek. “I’m fairly sure those kids would eat the marshmallow right away.” To a kid used to having promises about the future broken, “the only guaranteed treats are the ones you have already swallowed,” she wrote in the paper describing their research.


Contributions of Body Composition Characteristics to Critical Power and Anaerobic Work Capacity. – PubMed – NCBI

International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance from


This study examined the contribution of whole body composition characteristics and local lean mass to further elucidate the differences in metabolic characteristics between CP and AWC as they relate to whole body and local factors.

Fifteen, anaerobically trained males were assessed for whole body (% body fat [%BF] and mineral-free, lean mass [LBM]) and local mineral-free thigh lean mass (TLM) composition characteristic. The CP and AWC were determined from the 3-min all-out CP test. Statistical analyses included Pearson product-moment correlations and stepwise multiple regression analyses (p ≤ 0.05).

Only LBM contributed significantly to the prediction of CP (CP = 2.3[LBM] + 56.7 [r2 = 0.346; SEE = 31.4W; p = 0.021]) and only TLM to AWC (AWC = 0.8[TLM] + 3.7 [r2 = 0.479; SEE = 2.2kJ; p = 0.004]).

These results indicated that the aerobic component (CP) of the CP test was most closely related to LBM and the anaerobic component (AWC), was more closely related to the TLM. These findings supported the theory that CP and AWC are separate measures of the whole body metabolic capabilities and the energy stores within the activated local muscle groups, respectively. Thus, training programs to improve CP and AWC should be designed to include resistance training exercises to increase whole body mineral-free lean mass and local mineral-free thigh lean mass.


How The NBA Became The World’s Most Tech-Savvy Sports League

Fast Company, Daniel Terdiman from

By building an ecosystem that involves VCs, teams, startups, and others, the league has become nimble and able to quickly adopt new technologies.


Harvard University spinout raises $10M to advance platelet bioreactor technology

MedCity News, Josh Baxt from

Boston-based Platelet BioGenesis has received $10 million in Series A financing to move their platelet manufacturing technology forward. The financing round for the Harvard University spinout was led by Qiming U.S. Healthcare Fund and included Vivo Capital, eCoast Angels and other investors.

The new financing will support preclinical studies for Platelet BioGenesis’ stem cell-based bioreactors. The company hopes to begin clinical trials in around three years. By removing human donations from the platelet equation, Platelet Biogenesis hopes to create a more reliable supply.


From Fast To Sustainable Growth Via Sports

Block Six Analytics, Adam Grossman from

… Building innovation hubs is not novel practice for cities or states looking to attract new businesses and top talent. San Francisco, Boston, New York City, and Chicago are among the many cities that have made significant investments in building the infrastructure for startups to thrive. In addition, many cities, states, and countries have made similar public / private investments in building facilities that Frisco has, often achieving less success, as we note in our book The Sports Strategist: Developing leaders for a High-Performance Industry.

What is particularly interesting about this approach is that Frisco is making an investment in ways that will continue differentiate the city from other municipalities. Rather than focusing on just innovation, Frisco can narrow its focus to become the sports entrepreneurship capital.


Thad Matta’s downfall began with a top-five recruiting class that didn’t deliver

Yahoo Sports, Jeff Eisenberg from

… To say that Ohio State’s celebrated 2015 recruiting class did not live up to Matta’s glowing remarks would be an understatement of massive proportions. Four members transferred by the end of their freshman season without making any meaningful contributions and the lone remaining player was dismissed earlier this spring after two erratic seasons with the Buckeyes.

Not being able to coax more out of that cornerstone class is a big reason Matta is now out of a job. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith announced Monday afternoon that Matta will not be back next season after the Buckeyes failed to make the NCAA tournament the past two seasons and endured a string of recruiting misses this spring that diminished hope of a rapid turnaround.


Did Moneyball teach us nothing? MLB is still selling jeans

ESPN MLB, Sam Miller from

With the exception of the book’s title itself, no phrase, quote or concept from “Moneyball” is as well-traveled and influential as Billy Beane’s rejoinder to his body-obsessed scouts in the Oakland A’s 2002 draft room: “We’re not selling jeans here.”

It’s practically a perfect phrase, taut and funny, specific yet universal. We should all wake up every morning and use these words to frame our days: What do we think we’re doing, and what are we really doing? “We’re not selling jeans here” has been cited by scholars or writers in any number of non-baseball fields, from venture capitalism to politics to health insurance to religious outreach. Those five words helped save the federal government billions of dollars, if you believe the “Moneyball”-admiring administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

But here’s the twist: One field where “we’re not selling jeans here” turned out to be a dud is the one that inspired it. Yes, the Moneyball revolution swept through baseball — data is a huge part of draft preparation, just as the A’s prophesied, and many features of the 2002 A’s are now commonplace — but the Jeremy Brown revolution never did.


Why underdogs do better in hockey than basketball

YouTube, Vox from

A statistical analysis of luck vs skill in sports.


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