Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 21, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 21, 2017


Let my Brain be Smarter than my Heart

Jessie Diggins from

I would argue that the most important part of being a professional skier is not how much you train, but how smart you rest. Let me elaborate on that.
If skiing fast were only about training the most hours, we could just compare training logs and not even bother racing. But it’s not that hard to log a ton of hours. I’ve had big training weeks where yeah, I’m tired, but I just keep plugging away and honestly it doesn’t take that much discipline to get out the door and slog out a few more hours. I don’t impress myself or anyone else those times when I simply go training for the sake of training. As my coach once told me: “if you’ve got a headache, you take 2 aspirin and it works. There’s no point in taking 10. In fact, that’ll hurt you.”


A-F school grades aren’t the answer if we want to raise empathetic and self-motivated citizens

Quartz, Jenny Anderson from

Mary Lawlor has taught sixth-grade English for more than 20 years. For almost all of that time, she hated giving grades.

The high-achievers always freaked out, lining up at her door in tears because they wanted higher marks. “It bred all these perfectionists [who] were not resilient and just focused on a number,” she said. The slackers retreated to the playground, continuing not to care whether they learned much or not.

So when Rowland Hall, a small private school in Salt Lake City, Utah where Lawlor teaches, decided to scrap the traditional A-F grading scale in a few middle school grades, and replace it with a reporting system based on what the school thought kids and their parents should know about their students’ learning, she was thrilled.


What happens to your body when you’re stressed

The Conversation, Holly Blake from

We all feel stressed from time to time – it’s all part of the emotional ups and downs of life. Stress has many sources, it can come from our environment, from our bodies, or our own thoughts and how we view the world around us. It is very natural to feel stressed around moments of pressure such as exam time – but we are physiologically designed to deal with stress, and react to it.

When we feel under pressure the nervous system instructs our bodies to release stress hormones including adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These produce physiological changes to help us cope with the threat or danger we see to be upon us. This is called the “stress response” or the “fight-or-flight” response.

Stress can actually be positive, as the stress response help us stay alert, motivated and focused on the task at hand. Usually, when the pressure subsides, the body rebalances and we start to feel calm again. But when we experience stress too often or for too long, or when the negative feelings overwhelm our ability to cope, then problems will arise. Continuous activation of the nervous system – experiencing the “stress response” – causes wear and tear on the body.


To eliminate mistakes, USC acts like a startup: ‘I came up with this new app,’ Tee Martin says – LA Times

Los Angeles Times, Zach Helfand from

Like an entrepreneur entering a venture capitalist’s boardroom, USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin walked into a recent receivers meeting with an announcement.

“He said, ‘Uh, I came up with this new app,’” receiver Deontay Burnett recalled.

As of Wednesday, the receivers had it downloaded onto their phones and iPads, swiping through quizzes of alignments, route concepts or whatever strikes Martin’s fancy.

“It has you really thinking on the fly,” Tyler Vaughns said, adding that he currently held the top score. “So, yeah, I like it.”


On Bundesliga Benches, Young Coaches Rewrite the Old Rules – The New York Times

The New York Times, Rory Smith from

… [Rudi] Völler, though, looked past that. [Heiko] Herrlich had taken Regensburg to promotion, playing in that attractive, intensive way that has become de rigueur in Germany. He had instilled in his players a collectivist vision of the game, one based on understanding that “the team logo on the chest was more important than the last name on your back.” What matters is what you do, not who you are. Völler would take the same approach to appointing his new coach. Herrlich got the job.

It was telling, however, that few — if any — saw Leverkusen’s decision as a gamble. If anything, it seemed the opposite: Herrlich had played for Leverkusen, he was a recognizable name and he had followed a relatively orthodox — if slightly circuitous — route to coaching. In the current climate, in fact, he was almost a safe bet.

When the Bundesliga returns to action this weekend — Leverkusen gets the season underway with a visit to the defending champion Bayern Munich on Friday — six of its 18 coaches will have yet to turn 40. Two more, Hertha Berlin’s Pal Dardai and André Breitenreiter of Hannover 96, have passed that landmark, but are still younger than Herrlich.


Meulensteen: How to polish a diamond like Ronaldo

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

… “The key to top players is that they recognise whether something is bullshit or quality to make them better,” the 53-year-old says at a café near his home in the Cheshire town of Wilmslow.

“I always said, ‘we’ve got something we can add to your game’. Add is very positive. Add means more, add means better. Not once did a player come to me and say ‘what a lot of bullshit that is’. And believe me, they would have, because they were top players.”

Having been with United’s Academy since 2001 (other than a brief spell as manager of Denmark’s Brondby), Meulensteen was given the new role in January 2007. First-team technical skills development coach: a job I haven’t heard of before or since. It was born out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s belief that any player, no matter how old or how good, could still improve.


Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It

Harvard Business Review, John Hagel III and John Seely Brown from

Many leaders see organizational learning simply as sharing existing knowledge. This isn’t surprising given that this is the primary focus of educational institutions, training programs, and leadership development courses. It’s the “sage on the stage” model, in which an expert shares what they know with those who are assumed not to know it. These “best practices” are presumed to work in a variety of different contexts and situations.

This view of learning was the key driver of “knowledge management systems” that came into vogue in the 1990’s. These systems sought to make existing knowledge more accessible to those who might need it in the form of knowledge repositories that collected and indexed documents as well as directories of expertise that could point employees to others who had relevant know-how. The obvious focus here: efficiency at scale.

Without diminishing the value of knowledge sharing, we would suggest that the most valuable form of learning today is actually creating new knowledge. Organizations are increasingly being confronted with new and unexpected situations that go beyond the textbooks and operating manuals and require leaders to improvise on the spot, coming up with new approaches that haven’t been tried before. In the process, they develop new knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in specific situations. We believe the old, “scalable efficiency” approach to knowledge needs to be replaced with a new, more nimble kind of “scalable learning.” To foster the latter, managers should understand five essential distinctions:


FC Bayern München & SAP: The Digital Future

YouTube, SAP Sports from

FC Bayern and SAP executives talk about the digital future of the German record football champion.


I sent in my DNA for a personalized nutritional blueprint. Here’s what happened.

The Washington Post, Sophie Egan from

… Habit, based in the San Francisco Bay area, tests for biomarkers and genetic variants using samples you provide, then generates a personalized report about how your body responds to food. It’s your unique “nutrition blueprint.” Then the company pairs you with a nutrition coach and offers you custom-made meals, containing your ideal ratio of carbs, fats and protein, delivered to your home. All in the name of sending you on the path to a new you.

I had to see for myself. So I endured the home test and shipped off my blood and DNA samples. (Gulp.) Then the company’s chief executive walked me through the results of my newfound eater identity, and I observed how the diagnosis began to affect my relationship with food. Here’s what happened — and what it could mean for the future of eating in America.


Flex Electronics Approach an Inflection

EE Times, Kris Myny from

Flexible electronics are made by adding layers of suitable materials onto flexible substrates. In contrast to silicon chip processing, fewer steps are needed and the temperatures are much lower

The main promise is that flexible electronics will be many times cheaper than today’s electronics. Also, we’ll be able to integrate applications directly in any material and with any form factor.

If we succeed, we will herald a new revolution, one in which we can make every object smart. From what I see in the labs, things are evolving fast and in the right direction.


Forever Labs preserves young stem cells to prevent your older self from aging

TechCrunch, Sarah Buhr from

Forever Labs, a startup in Y Combinator’s latest batch, is preserving adult stem cells with the aim to help you live longer and healthier.

Stem cells have the potential to become any type of cell needed in the body. It’s very helpful to have younger stem cells from your own body on hand should you ever need some type of medical intervention, like a bone marrow transplant as the risk of rejection is greatly reduced when the cells are yours.

Mark Katakowski spent the last 15 years studying stem cells. What he found is that not only do we have less of them the older we get, but they also lose their function as we age. So, he and his co-founders Edward Cibor and Steve Clausnitzer started looking at how to bank them while they were young.


Saints get opportunity to improve medical staff

The Sun Herald, Brian Allee-Walsh from

… It’s unfortunate that Breaux’s injury wasn’t correctly diagnosed at the outset for several reasons. One, the Saints would have a good cornerback back by Week 1; two, Payton might not have rushed to judgment; and three, Breaux might not have been looked upon as a malingerer by his bosses.

The strange turn of events prompted Payton to address the matter in a team meeting. He stressed the importance of accountability at all levels of the organization, team doctors included. The danger for a coach is losing losing the trust of both his current players and any potential free agents down the road who might want to play in New Orleans.


Saints elevated Beau Lowery to director of sports medicine during the offseason

The New Orleans Advocate, Nick Underhill from

The Saints apparently made some changes to their training staff this offseason that flew under the radar.

Beau Lowery was elevated to director of sports medicine after spending the previous two seasons as director of rehabilitation. Scottie Patton still remains as head athletic trainer.


Knocking Out Concussions in Contact Sports — Your Neck Could Be the Key

OZY, The Huddle, Matt Foley from

The padded room already has precipitation on the walls, and we’ve barely even started yet. “Butts up!” barks Rob Waltko, a former Pennsylvania state champion wrestler at North Allegheny High School, commanding preteen wrestlers on their mats to arch their backs. The North Allegheny Junior Tigers, mostly fifth and sixth graders, push and extend until the tops of their heads touch the mat in what resembles a chakrasana yoga pose. They’re still learning the sport — starting with basic exercises like the back bridge. “A strong neck and core are huge,” Waltko says. “There’s a lot of wear and tear [in wrestling], so you need that strength to stay mobile and flexible.”

Increased mobility and flexibility are not the only reasons for a swelling interest in neck strength. As concerns over chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) spread to all levels of sport, coaches, trainers, athletes and businessmen have zeroed in on the neck as a way to prevent head injuries. Once widely believed to be a football and boxing problem, concussions and CTE are now properly perceived as threats in many sports.


Plan of attack: There’s art and science behind college football game planning

Associated Press, Ralph D. Russo from

… Putting together a game plan is an elaborate exercise in the art — and science — of analyzing an opponent’s tendencies and patterns, and determining how best to exploit them. It’s mixing and matching. What do we like to do and when? What do they like to do and when? Throw out the stuff that won’t work, keep what should and then figure out what are (hopefully) the best plays to run in the upcoming game.

The process can vary from staff to staff and coach to coach, but the template is generally the same.

Breiner, considered one of the bright young offensive minds in college coaching, let the AP sit in on a summer game-planning meeting, and then explained how he and his staff do it during the season.


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