Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 5, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 5, 2017


Nick Kyrgios, the Reluctant Rising Star of Tennis

The New Yorker, Louisa Thomas from

He has been called the most talented player since Roger Federer. But does he even want to win?


Gait Retraining: 4 Red Flags to Look Out For in Your Form

Lumo, Rebecca Shultz from

… There are also gait assessment programs, like RunSafe, that can help you identify your red flags and give you some homework to help you with your form. Lumo Run and other wearables are also able to help you find these patterns and help you through changing your movement patterns to help you be a more efficient runner. The other alternative is to take a slow motion video of yourself and look for some of the more obvious red flags on your own. Here are 4 things to look out for when reviewing your video:

1. Where does your foot contact the ground with respect to your belly button (pelvis)?


Portland Timbers Head Athletic Trainer Nik Wald resigns, Jamie Goldberg from

Portland Timbers Head Athletic Trainer and Director of Sports Medicine Nik Wald has resigned his position with the club.

The club did not announce the reason for Wald’s departure.

The resignation comes on the heels of a handful of injuries to key Timbers players, including Timbers captain Liam Ridgewell, who re-injured his quad last week in his first training session after missing three weeks with the same injury.


Northeast leaves Swansea after seven years

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

Jonny Northeast, Swansea City’s Head of Sports Science, is leaving the club after seven years.

Northeast first joined as Under-21 and assistant first team Sports Scientist in 2010, before being promoted to Head of Sports Science in 2014. However, he has now been released, along with Sports Scientist Will Sparkes.

Meanwhile, the club have hired Eddie Lattimore from Tottenham’s Academy to become Assistant Head of Physical Performance. Once again he will work under Head of Physical Performance Karl Halabi, who was recruited from Spurs by new Swans manager Paul Clement in January.


Houston, we still have a problem

Martin Buchheit from

… The somewhat extreme point I want to make is that there is a feeling that the academic culture and its publishing requirements have created a bit of an Apollo 13-like orbiting world (e.g., journals and conferences) that is mostly disconnected from the reality of elite performance. For example, how many coaches read publications or attend to sport sciences conferences? These guys are competition beasts, so if they could find any winning advantage, why wouldn’t they read or attend these? The reality is that what matters the most for coaches and players is the outcome, which is unfortunately rarely straightforward with the sport sciences. As one example, the first thing that Steve Redgrave (5 times Rowing Olympian) asked Steve Ingham (Lead Physiologist, English Institute of Sport) was if he was going to win more medals with his scientific support. Likewise, the first time I offered some amino acids to Zlatan Ibrahimović (top Swedish soccer player), he asked me straight up: “are these going to make me score more goals?” Adding to the problem, support staff in elite clubs often have high egos and as recently tweeted by R. Verheijen (Dutch football coach), they often can’t distinguish between experience (which they have) and knowledge (which they don’t always have). Such workers often don’t want to hear about the evidenced-based approach that we endlessly try to promote and devalue the importance of sharing data. Personal development courses and research & development departments are perceived as a waste of time and money, or as trivial undertakings that sport scientists pursue to promote themselves. To justify such an aggressive attitude against sport sciences, they often cite poorly designed, poorly interpreted and misleading studies, which is, in effect an argument that we have to accept.


You Can Get Your Whole Genome Sequenced. But Should You?

WIRED, Science, Megan Molteni from

… the genome sequencing added an average of $350 to each patient’s overall health care costs—mostly in the form of extra tests, imaging, and visits to specialists. And with the exception of one patient, the tests didn’t have any drastic impact on health outcomes, at least over the 6 months they followed patients.

In the grand scheme of things, $350 and a few extra doctor’s visits might seem like a small price to pay for early detection. But think of those added costs on the scale of millions of patient genome sequences every year. It’s possible that over a longer timeframe, those discoveries could drive costs down—by stopping surgery for slow-mounting diseases, or avoiding certain medications—but the researchers say they’ll need more time and a bigger cohort to know for sure.


Why Ditching the FuelBand Turned Out to be One of Nike’s Best Moves

The Motley Fool, Jeremy Bowman from

When Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) announced in 2014 that it was ending production of its wearable fitness tracker, the FuelBand, much of the business media was puzzled. Wired declared, “Nike failed,” while others struggled understand the decision, surprised that the FuelBand was “out of gas” already.

Nike didn’t suspend its connected fitness program entirely. Instead, it recognized that smartphones were becoming able to perform many of the functions that the FuelBand did, and decided to focus on software, enhancing the Nike+ app, and partnering with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) on the Apple Watch.

Three years later, it seems like the Swoosh made the right decision.


Quantification of Load and Lower Limb Injury in Men’s Professional Basketball.

Kaitlyn Weiss, Auckland University of Technology from

Lower limb injuries are a significant issue in basketball and load has been implicated as a causative factor. The quantification of the training load-injury relationship requires the implementation of effective injury and load monitoring. To set up an effective monitoring system, the efficacy of the methodologies and metrics must first be established. The aim of this thesis was to quantify training load and injuries in professional men’s basketball and investigate the relationship between training load and lower limb injuries.


Epidemiology of time loss groin injuries in a men’s professional football league: a 2-year prospective study of 17 clubs and 606 players. – PubMed – NCBI

British Journal of Sports Medicine from


Groin injury epidemiology has not previously been examined in an entire professional football league. We recorded and characterised time loss groin injuries sustained in the Qatar Stars League.

Male players were observed prospectively from July 2013 to June 2015. Time loss injuries, individual training and match play exposure were recorded by club doctors using standardised surveillance methods. Groin injury incidence per 1000 playing hours was calculated, and descriptive statistics used to determine the prevalence and characteristics of groin injuries. The Doha agreement classification system was used to categorise all groin injuries.

606 footballers from 17 clubs were included, with 206/1145 (18%) time loss groin injuries sustained by 150 players, at an incidence of 1.0/1000 hours (95% CI 0.9 to 1.1). At a club level, 21% (IQR 10%-28%) of players experienced groin injuries each season and 6.6 (IQR 2.9-9.1) injuries were sustained per club per season. Of the 206 injuries, 16% were minimal (1-3 days), 25% mild (4-7 days), 41% moderate (8-28 days) and 18% severe (>28 days), with a median absence of 10 days/injury (IQR 5-22 days). The median days lost due to groin injury per club was 85 days per season (IQR 35-215 days). Adductor-related groin pain was the most common entity (68%) followed by iliopsoas (12%) and pubic-related (9%) groin pain.

Groin pain caused time loss for one in five players each season. Adductor-related groin pain comprised 2/3 of all groin injuries. Improving treatment outcomes and preventing adductor-related groin pain has the potential to improve player availability in professional football.


Stem Cell Injections: Emerging Option for Joint Pain Relief

Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from

… He explains that if you have cartilage or bone damage, stem cells can differentiate and produce bone and cartilage and tissues. So, theoretically, they could heal damaged tissue within a muscle, tendon, bone or cartilage.

“That’s the theory behind it, but this type of treatment and research is just in its infancy,” he says.

“We really don’t know what’s effective, what’s not effective, how many cells are necessary, how many actual injections you need and how often,” he says. “Nobody knows how well it works yet. But we will eventually.”


Every NFL Play Is a Brutal Game of Chess

The MMQB, Andy Benoit from

Football games are won on the merits of power, speed and a refined intelligence. James Urban, the Bengals’ receivers coach and one of the most respected assistants in the league, walks us through the nuances of how plays are designed, routes are run, and passes get thrown


From Forest Green to Everton: the analyst/ energy trader

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

Forest Green Rovers are a club that like to do things differently, as evidenced by their 100% vegan menu and plans for a stadium built entirely out of wood.

They are also the only team in the world to have had a data analyst doubling up as an energy trader. Charlie Reeves, 23, was so successful with that dual role that he has now been snapped up by Everton.

From University to the Conference to the Premier League in two years: that’s not bad going.

The economics graduate started at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground yesterday and is part of a new breed of football professional to combine statistical analysis with computer coding to provide in-depth insights for managers and coaches.


Baseball’s fastest team plays in San Diego, Mike Petriello from

As we continue to roll out Sprint Speed, our Statcast™ metric for sharing a player’s max speed, we’ve introduced how it works, pointed out the fastest players at each position, praised the athleticism of J.T. Realmuto, and looked at just how hard it is to maintain speed as players age.

It’s that last one, that speed peaks early and declines quickly afterward, that’s going to be extremely important to keep in mind here as we finish off the week by looking at baseball’s speediest teams. The fastest team is also the youngest. The slowest team is also the oldest. In no way are these facts unrelated, so say hello to the San Diego Padres, the fastest team in baseball — if only by a small amount over Miami.


Statcast Sprint Speed tracks baserunner speed, Mike Petriello from

The fastest baserunner in the game is Billy Hamilton. Let’s get that out of the way as quickly as possible. You know that, and so do we; it’s one of those cases where the eye test and data align perfectly.

But who’s second, and who’s last, and how big of a gap can there be between a runner with elite speed and a slow one? What’s a satisfying way to measure that?


Identifying talent in Australian Football with a multi-dimensional approach

Tim Buszard, skill acquisition research blog from

Accurately identifying a teenager who will go on to succeed at the highest level is an on-going issue in all sports. Researchers interested in talent identification have attempted to develop a range of tests that cover the breadth of skills in a particular sport.

An issue with many attempts to develop assessments that accurately predict talent is that they are (a) biased towards one specific component (e.g., physical tests) or (b) they have focused on age-groups that are experiencing considerable maturation (hence, giving misleading results).

A multi-dimensional approach focusing on players in the latter years of the youth pathway is therefore likely to produce the most accurate results.


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