… This was Toni’s last slam in Nadal’s box. They have been together since Nadal was three years old. Uncle Toni was the coach who orchestrated young Rafa’s switch from right hand to left hand, and what an astute judgment that turned out to be.
He also embedded in Nadal’s psyche the equally important components of respect and perspective. A sometimes taciturn character, Toni was the shield to the outside world but ensured his charge conducted himself with grace and respect, which he invariably did. There was an instance in New York a few years ago when they were walking towards a lift in their hotel, alongside an older woman. As they approached, Toni gently tugged on Rafa’s elbow to allow the woman to enter first. Metaphorically, he has been doing that throughout Nadal’s career.
The Topeka Capital-Journal, AP, Anne M. Peterson from
… Besler started writing the book in March 2016 when he sustained a head injury during a national team training camp.
“They (the doctors) recommended it would help keep my brain active and help get me back on the field quicker,” Besler said. “That’s when I first really started writing. And I found out that I enjoyed it, and it did help me on and off the field.”
It took Besler some 18 months to complete and it’s scheduled for release in early November. He didn’t force it, preferring to just write when the feeling prompted him. He tried to write when things were going well — and when things weren’t.
… Prescott is hardly the first mobile QB to enter the NFL, but he’s one of the few who doesn’t use his mobility as a crutch. Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III, for example, could only prosper if they had all the schematic advantages that read-option concepts and rolling pockets created. The problem is you can’t use those tactics on every snap. It’s a pocket-passing league. When Kaepernick and Griffin had to drop back and make on-schedule throws, they would often panic and try to run. This led to sacks, missed throws and tons of poor reads. Their offenses could not develop any rhythm.
You don’t see this with Prescott. As a rookie he showed the “throw first, run second” mentality that NFL quarterbacking demands. He continued this on Sunday night against the Giants. To be fair, Prescott’s offensive line is better than any that Kaepernick or Griffin played behind. No quarterback last year had more time to throw and cleaner platforms to throw.
… She played and played until she proved that even the best teams cannot do without her.
Yet it was when she couldn’t play, when a serious infection sidelined her and threatened to do worse this past winter, that she fully understood how much all the minutes mattered to her.
“I think it was that time away that made me really want to get back on the field,” Dahlkemper said. “It made me realize how much I love and cherish the game and playing. Everything happens for a reason. That was a hard time, but it was an important time because I was able to build some resilience and realize how badly I wanted to achieve some goals of mine.”
… Most functional mobility tests only study a small, isolated part of the kinetic chain. Individual joint testing does not capture neuromuscular control or the interrelationships between muscles. Many movement screens narrowly focus on the sagittal and frontal planes of motion, either in isolation or together, but always excluding the transverse plane. They often tend to be subjective, as well. And foot reach tests only measure lower extremity movement and control, but do not investigate anything at the arms.
Ola Eriksrud developed a hand reach-based assessment tool to address these short-comings. He and his colleagues from the Norwegian School of Sport Science and the University of Innsbruck (Austria) recently published the first validity and reliability study using this tool.
Didier Deschamps is sitting opposite me in a hotel bar in Monaco and is explaining the art of leadership. “I don’t think you just become a leader,” he says, leaning forward in a low armchair and sipping an espresso. “You can’t wake up one morning and say, ‘Right, now I’m going to be a leader.’ I think it is something that’s in you, that you’re born with, and which develops. Some people have that character, that personality and it comes naturally. You can’t force it. It has to be authentic and natural. Innate. It comes from you, your early years, your attitude as an adolescent, how you are with a group and as the one who influences things.”
In the past Deschamps has credited Aimé Jacquet (France’s World Cup-winning coach) and Marcello Lippi as great influences. He spoke of Jacquet’s man-management skills and Lippi’s tactical smarts. But when I ask what he has taken from different coaches, he snaps. ‘I didn’t take anything!’ His fist slaps into his palm to make his point. ‘Everything you go through has to fit in with the way you are and your own ideas. You wouldn’t be able to do today what coaches did when I was a player. I say something to my son and he tells me I’m prehistoric. You have to live in your time, be of today.’
This is one of the key lessons that Deschamps is keen to impart. Leaders may be born but adaptability can be developed. And for managers today it could be the most important of all. Just because one plan worked at a certain time with a certain group is no guarantee that the same plan will work again elsewhere.
Everyone grows up wanting to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James or Serena Williams. The reality is, that the vast majority of elite athletes play supporting roles in the background. But if the original goal was to be great, how does the coach or manager keep athletes motivated and content with their place? How does a competitive high performing athlete remain focussed, when their teammate is grabbing the headlines? With Phil Handy, assistant coach at the Cleveland Cavaliers, CONQA explores this unique challenge.
… As you perhaps already know, one area that fascinates me is inter-individual variation. That’s a fancy way of saying that there is a wide variety across individuals in response to a stimulus. That stimulus could be training, but it can easily be things such as use of ergogenic aids and medication. We know that this inter-individual variation exists, and yet we typically have one-size-fits-all advice and guidelines within sport. Again, there is a mismatch here between science and practice, and I strongly believe that we can do a better job of helping athletes by personalizing their training, including recovery.
The causes of this individual variation are spread across many different domains. When it comes to exercise, it is well documented now that genetic differences account for approximately 50% of the variation between individuals in response to training . Recently, a small number of researchers have examined the link between this genetic variation and recovery from exercise.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a congested international tournament match schedule on adductor strength and pain in elite youth football players. Twenty-two male players (age: 15.53 ± 0.48 years, height: 174.87 ± 7.59 cm, weight: 67.45 ± 7.40 kg) were included. The 5-second adductor squeeze strength was captured daily using a hand-held dynamometer during a 7-game international tournament. Pain during the squeeze test was recorded using numerical pain ratings (0–10) to quantify groin pain. Sessional rate of perceived exertion (sRPE) was collected during the tournament. Adductor strength changed significantly during the tournament in relation to time (F(14,294.94) = 1.89, p = 0.027) and cumulative sRPE (F(1,314) = 5.59, p = 0.019). Cumulative sRPE displayed a negative relationship with strength (B = −0.008, SE = 0.0032, 95%CI = −0.014,-0.002). The results indicate that for every 100 match sRPE arbitrary units the squeeze peak force reduced by 0.8N. Sixteen (72.7%) players demonstrated clinically meaningful strength reductions (>15%) during the tournament. Match congestion impacts on hip adductor squeeze strength in male youth football players. A negative relationship between match sRPE and adductor strength exists. Player monitoring involving the 5-second adductor squeeze test can be captured effectively and is suitable to include as part of secondary injury prevention during or immediately after a congested tournament.
By focusing on maximal strength and power, conditioning, and competitions, the offseason training regimen for Creighton University volleyball achieves its goal—ensuring the team hits its peak in the fall.
American Development Model, USAHockey.com, Elizabeth Boger from
Kelly Pannek knows the importance of a team-first attitude. For three seasons, the Plymouth, Minnesota, native has played with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s hockey team – studying the culture, building relationships with teammates and winning two NCAA Division I national championships.
This fall, Pannek will be establishing connections with a new team.
As she postpones her senior season for a chance to compete with the United States Women’s National Team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Pannek will trade her maroon and gold jersey for red, white and blue.
She may be one of the newcomers to a club of veterans, but Pannek knows what she learned at the University of Minnesota and in youth hockey will ultimately help boost the synergy with her new teammates.
… The best case study I have ever done was with a college soccer player who eventually played professionally for a short period of time. He was nearly out of the sport halfway through college and simply had bad luck in choosing a physical preparation coach. Every time he got hurt, we could trace his injuries to the way he trained and it didn’t take much expertise to make a connection. In addition to bad luck with some poor performance training, the original injury to his ankle joint was never managed properly, thus causing a firing problem visible with pressure mapping and electromyography.
We finally got his muscle groups firing properly with a custom orthotic from Bruce Williams, but he still had contact injuries and various challenges that were out of our control. TMG was the glue and we used the test results to keep us on the right track when the odds were against us. Resurrecting an athlete who wanted to quit the sport halfway to being able to play at the professional level in front of their mother was more rewarding than sending someone to the Olympics or working with an All-Star. TMG was instrumental to us every step of the way.
The Canadian Football League has taken the significant step of eliminating pads from all regular-season practices, a policy that will begin immediately and will effectively limit contact to games following the end of preseason training camp.
The decision, announced Wednesday by commissioner Randy Ambrosie and the CFL Players Association, escalates rapid attempts by football executives at all levels across North America to minimize the physical pounding players endure.
Ambrosie said the change was not aimed specifically at addressing concussions. It did come two months after a Boston-based study found chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in nearly all of the 202 brains sampled from former football players.
Cindy Bonner is the mother of two rising soccer stars, and like most parents of young athletes, she worries about them getting hurt. But to date, 16-year-old Julianna and 14-year-old Ashlyn have avoided any sort of overuse injuries. Bonner believes that much of this can be attributed to simple steps the family has taken over the years to guard against injuries.
The first and perhaps biggest one is that they avoided specialization at an early age. Even though the girls are high-level travel soccer players, both athletes have stayed active in other sports throughout their careers. It was only as a sophomore in high school that Julianna finally focused only on soccer.
Trent Nessler, who has a doctorate in physical therapy, has made a career out of helping young athletes stay on the playing fields. He feels strongly that the single-sport approach that so many adopt at younger and younger ages is not doing anyone any favors. “We know that injury rates are tied into athletic exposures,” he says. “So when you are playing a sport year round, you are increasing your odds of injury right there. It’s a pure numbers game.”
Lots of research has attempted to answer the questions: why do people fail under pressure? Two prominent theories in the motor learning literature that describe performance failure under pressure are (1) the theory of reinvestment, and (2) the theory of ironic processing. What do these mean?
The theory of reinvestment suggests that the performance of motor skills will decline under pressure when the performer consciously attends to the step-by-step mechanics of the movement. This is thought to cause the skill to be executed in a manner that resembles a lesser skilled performer.
The theory of ironic processing suggests that pressure will cause a performer to make an error where the error is supposed to be avoided. For example, a golfer who says “don’t hit the ball left in to the water” often ends up hitting the ball into the water! A key prediction of this theory is that the performer will display the characteristics of a well executed skill, despite if the end result is undesirable.
… That admiration for former coaches helped inspire Smart to be a relationship based leader himself, and serve as a role model for his players. The Texas coach said that relationships are at the foundation of everything that he and his coaching staff does.
“If I get a call from one of (the players) in twenty years and they say ‘I’m just having this unbelievable experience and I’m having so much fun, thank you for the things that you helped me understand when I was younger’ — That’s really what it’s all about,” Smart said.
The 40-year old said that the best way for him to reach his guys is to simply spend time with them.
Football is all about getting the ball over the goal line. Now teams will know more than ever about how the ball got there.
Starting Thursday night, when the New England Patriots play the Kansas City Chiefs to open the season, every game ball will have a tracking chip inside. Among other things, this will, in theory, help determine how fast and how high quarterbacks throw and kickers kick. About a third of the N.F.L. teams have also equipped their facilities so they can track balls in practices, not just in games.
The technology comes as leagues across the sports landscape are collecting more and more data so coaches can better understand their players and television broadcasters can better illustrate the intricacies of the game.
Google Translate, Sport (Spain), Javier Giraldo from
FC Barcelona has started the course with a novelty that has gone unnoticed by the general public: the players of the first team play their league games with a GPS device attached to the body, under the shirt and embedded in a kind of ‘top’, which monitors their movements and offers up to 20,000 data per second for the technical staff to analyze.
That device has been used for several seasons in training and now has made the leap to the official competition. In a summer of changes in the Ciutat Esportiva, this system has also mutated: the Viper Ipod of the North American company StatSports has given way to the Wimu, of the Almeria company Real Track Systems, that already had previously worked with the sections of the club blaugrana.
“Our device is different,” says Isabel Pérez, chief executive of Real Track Systems, “because it uses a hybrid system, with traditional GPS and ultra wide band UWB technology, which makes it more powerful”. installation of own antennas to improve the fluidity of the data (six have been installed in Ciutat Esportiva and Camp Nou).
The device can also be synchronized with a kind of roaming with other devices of the club, as some of the devices with which the medical team of the first team works. “Our software offers raw data as well as custom processing, unlike other systems that offer the most canned information,” Perez says.
It’s technology that has the Maryland Terrapins on the cutting edge of sports performance. It’s a relatively new markerless movement assessment platform from sports tech company PhysiMax.
“An athlete can just step in front of the camera and they will get an assessment right away of how their body moves and then that provides us to provide corrective exercise programs, programming before the season, out of the season for injury prevention and also for return to play after surgeries,” said Terps Associate Athletic Director for Sports Performance David Klossner.
Sweat is an incredibly useful resource for medical research, but whilst it provides us with some invaluable information, it’s also pretty uncomfortable for most of us, especially during our regular working day. Hence it’s something that we usually try and avoid as much as possible.
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati have come up with an ingenious solution however that stimulates sweat glands in a small patch of skin, thus generating the sweat required to gather the information, without causing us to overheat.
The project, which was documented in a recent paper, uses a device around the same size as a Band-Aid. The device uses a chemical stimulant to produce sweat, even if we’re relaxing on the sofa. In addition to analyzing the sweat produced, the device also analyzes the amount of sweat, thus providing crucial insights into the hormones or chemicals the biosensors measure.
… At an event on Tuesday, where it unveiled a new version of the Apple Watch, the company showcased some of these heartwarming user stories: People with diabetes who integrated their blood sugar monitor with Apple Watch and saw something abnormal, or got healthy by leveraging the device’s fitness features.
It also confirmed a CNBC report that it is teaming up with Stanford for a major heart study to test whether Apple Watch’s heart-rate sensor can detect cardiac arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms.
For this study, it is working with federal regulators from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It will need to show that Apple Watch’s heart-rate monitor is sufficiently accurate and sensitive to be used as a screening tool.
Mory Gharib and Caltech colleagues have developed an app which uses a phone camera to monitor heart health. When held to the neck, it infers the left ventricular ejection fraction of the heart by measuring the amount that the carotid artery displaces the skin of the neck as blood pumps through it.
According to Gharib:”What is exciting about this study is that it shows our technique is as accurate as echocardiography at estimating LVEF when both are compared to the gold standard of cardiac MRI. This has the potential to revolutionise how doctors and patients can screen for and monitor heart disease both in the US and the developing world.”
NC State is excited to announce a new partnership with Kinduct Technologies. NC State’s Olympic Strength and Conditioning department will use Kinduct’s Athlete Management System (AMS) to improve the performance of the student-athletes. Kinduct’s industry leading technology platform will provide NC State’s coaching staff and athletes strong training programs and a consistent data collection process that will drive higher standards and improved results.
NC State was keen to elevate its standards around data collection and student performance. Implementing Kinduct will enable them to have all their student performance data in one location, and offer a consistent process across all athletes and teams. This partnership further expands Kinduct’s footprint in the NCAA, and will see the AMS used with NC State athletes in all Olympic sports.
Rapsodo has moved its sports analytics technology to baseball with its new camera- and radar-based hitting monitor system.
The portable hitting analysis system combines radars and cameras to deliver performance data, such as exit velocity, launch angle, backspin, trajectory and distance whether inside or outside or off a batting tee or from a pitcher’s hand.
Under Armour introduced its newest center for performance innovation in Portland, OR, bringing footwear design and development under one roof. To assist the company’s most significant push in the footwear business to date, the new innovation hub includes a forward-looking biomechanics lab and performance training center for athlete testing.
The Under Armour Portland office (UA PDX) is home to the design, development and innovation teams, about 100 teammates, that are creating the company’s next generation Basketball, Running, Training, Golf, Sportstyle and Outdoor footwear. The 70,000 square foot building sits in Southwest Portland adjacent to the recently refurbished Duniway Park, and at the site of a former YMCA facility.
The Euroleague has announced a new partnership with Heed that will bring IoT sensors to all 16 of the league’s basketball arenas for the 2017-18 season. Heed, formed in 2016 is a joint venture between analytics company AGT International and entertainment giant WME|IMG. They first partnered with the league last May to bring the technology to its Final Four tournament in Berlin.
The sensors will collect data from players, coaches and the audiences watching. That data will then be used to create unique video content and performance reports for fans at home and at the games. The data will be distributed through TV and social media, and digital distribution channels.
… now that internet-connected devices and services are increasingly the norm, ridicule seems toothless. Connected toasters promise to help people “toast smarter.” Smartphone-connected bike locks vow to “Eliminate the hassle and frustration of lost keys and forgotten combinations,” at the low price of just $149.99. There’s Nest, the smart thermostat made by the former designer of the iPod and later bought by Google for $3.2 billion. The company also makes home security cameras, which connect to the network to transmit video to their owners’ smartphones. Once self-contained, gizmos like baby monitors now boast internet access as an essential benefit.
The trend has spread faster than I expected. Several years ago, a stylish hotel I stayed at boasted that its keycards would soon be made obsolete by smartphones. Today, even the most humdrum Hampton Inn room can be opened with Hilton’s app. Home versions are available, too. One even keeps analytics on how long doors have been locked—data I didn’t realize I might ever need.
The evolution of clinical practice and medical technology has yielded an increasing number of clinical measures and tests to assess a patient’s progression and return to sport readiness after injury. The plethora of available tests may be burdensome to clinicians in the absence of evidence that demonstrates the utility of a given measurement. OBJECTIVE:
Thus, there is a critical need to identify a discrete number of metrics to capture during clinical assessment to effectively and concisely guide patient care. DATA SOURCES:
The data sources included Pubmed and PMC Pubmed Central articles on the topic. Therefore, we present a systematic approach to injury risk analyses and how this concept may be used in algorithms for risk analyses for primary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in healthy athletes and patients after ACL reconstruction. MAIN RESULTS:
In this article, we present the five-factor maximum model, which states that in any predictive model, a maximum of 5 variables will contribute in a meaningful manner to any risk factor analysis. CONCLUSIONS:
We demonstrate how this model already exists for prevention of primary ACL injury, how this model may guide development of the second ACL injury risk analysis, and how the five-factor maximum model may be applied across the injury spectrum for development of the injury risk analysis.
Many factors are thought to contribute to chronic ankle instability (CAI). Multiple systematic reviews have synthesised the available evidence to identify the primary contributing factors. However, readers are now faced with several systematic reviews that present conflicting findings. Objective
The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to establish the statistical significance and effect size of primary factors contributing to CAI and to identify likely reasons for inconsistencies in the literature. Methods
Relevant health databases were searched: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus and SPORTDiscus. Systematic reviews were included if they answered a focused research question, clearly defined the search strategy criteria and study selection/inclusion and completed a comprehensive search of the literature. Included reviews needed to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and needed to review observational studies of factors and/or characteristics of persons with CAI, with or without meta-analysis. There was no language restriction. Studies using a non-systematic review methodology (e.g. primary studies and narrative reviews) were excluded. Methodological quality of systematic reviews was assessed using the modified R-AMSTAR tool. Meta-analysis on included primary studies was performed. Results
Only 17% of primary studies measured a clearly defined CAI population. There is strong evidence to support the contribution of dynamic balance, peroneal reaction time and eversion strength deficits and moderate evidence for proprioception and static balance deficits to non-specific ankle instability. Conclusions
Evidence from previous systematic reviews does not accurately reflect the CAI population. For treatment of non-specific ankle instability, clinicians should focus on dynamic balance, reaction time and strength deficits; however, these findings may not be translated to the CAI population. Research should be updated with an adequately controlled CAI population.
Athletes may be more likely to suffer leg injuries when they’ve had injuries in the past – even those involving other parts of the body, a recent study suggests.
It’s well known that athletes often re-injure the same part of their body more than once, researchers note in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. But their new study shows that physical therapy and injury prevention efforts need to take into account the risk other injuries pose for subsequent leg injuries.
The researchers examined data from 12 previously published studies and found many types of previous injuries, including concussions, were associated with higher odds of a lower limb injury.
Team sport athletes face a variety of nutritional challenges related to recovery during the competitive season. The purpose of this article is to review nutrition strategies related to muscle regeneration, glycogen restoration, fatigue, physical and immune health, and preparation for subsequent training bouts and competitions. Given the limited opportunities to recover between training bouts and games throughout the competitive season, athletes must be deliberate in their recovery strategy. Foundational components of recovery related to protein, carbohydrates, and fluid have been extensively reviewed and accepted. Micronutrients and supplements that may be efficacious for promoting recovery include vitamin D, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, creatine, collagen/vitamin C, and antioxidants. Curcumin and bromelain may also provide a recovery benefit during the competitive season but future research is warranted prior to incorporating supplemental dosages into the athlete’s diet. Air travel poses nutritional challenges related to nutrient timing and quality. Incorporating strategies to consume efficacious micronutrients and ingredients is necessary to support athlete recovery in season. [full text]
University of Rochester Medical Center, Health Matters from
Student athletes need proper fuel for juggling school responsibilities and demanding sports schedules. To complement regular workouts, practices and game schedules, UR Medicine sports dietitian Gina Giannetti offers advice to help athletes keep their nutrition and hydration game plan in winning form.teenage soccer player sipping on her water bottle
Stick to a schedule. During the sports season, you have a more structured schedule with after-school practices and games. Time your meals and snacks to give you energy and hydration when you need them.
If there’s a poster child for the short-starts strategy, it’s Alex Wood, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ surprise star.
At 14-2, he has the National League’s fourth-best ERA among starters (minimum 100 innings), its third-best WHIP, its fifth-best FIP. He also has never thrown more than 100 pitches in a start, and in 13 of his 21 starts, he has been pulled before his 90th pitch, even in five cases while throwing a shutout.
Those two sentences share a paragraph because they’re presumed to have some causal relationship. Because Wood doesn’t work deep into games, he’s not seeing his numbers ruined by extra pitches thrown exhaustedly at the end of starts. (Whether it’s fatigue or familiarity or a combination of the two, starters are considerably worse the third time they face a batter in a game than they were the first two.) And because he knows he’s not going to be asked to throw 115 pitches, he can channel more of his energy into the 90 pitches he actually throws. Finally, from the Dodgers’ perspective, they get to replace Wood with relievers, who as a group have lower ERAs than starters, since they get to come in fresh and face hitters who haven’t seen them before. It’s brilliant!
It’s fairly well known that we tend to have a rather high opinion of our own skills and knowledge, and indeed we tend to seek out information that confirms these predispositions. A recent study highlights another fallacy in our thinking – that others will eventually come around to our point of view. It’s something the authors refer to as a ‘favorable future’.
“It often seems that partisans believe they are so correct that others will eventually come to see the obviousness of their correctness,” the authors say. “Ironically, our findings indicate that this belief in a favorable future may diminish the likelihood that people will take action to ensure that the favorable future becomes reality.”
As the dust settles from another chaotic transfer period, it’s important to assess how things went during the window. While it may take some time to evaluate our new signings, it is possible to evaluate our processes: the steps that led to all the bids, negotiations, and deals done.
In our own review of the window, one thing that struck us is that a number of players bought at the top end of the market had only been at their club for a single season.
Dan Fradley, NYCFC Performance Analyst, reveals how he supports and influences the performance of a professional soccer team. What do data analysts look at and how is this information communicated to the team?
… But beneath the surface of this sleepy commuter town south of Brussels, and in a dozen or so other small towns and minor cities across Belgium, something has changed.
There has been, and continues to be, a seismic shift in the landscape of European soccer. Longstanding, independent clubs are being subsumed into continentwide networks, used as vehicles for the ambitions of wealthy foreign investors, or hijacked by agents looking for an edge in the transfer market.
arXiv, Computer Science > Social and Information Networks; Joaquin Navajas, Tamara Niella, Gerry Garbulsky, Bahador Bahrami, Mariano Sigman from
The aggregation of many independent estimates can outperform the most accurate individual judgment. This centenarian finding, popularly known as the ‘wisdom of crowds’, has recently been applied to problems ranging from the diagnosis of cancer to financial forecasting. It is widely believed that the key to collective accuracy is to preserve the independence of individuals in a crowd. Contrary to this prevailing view, we show that deliberation and discussion improves collective wisdom. We asked a live crowd (N=5180) to respond to general knowledge questions (e.g. the height of the Eiffel Tower). Participants first answered individually, then deliberated and made consensus decisions in groups of five, and finally provided revised individual estimates. We found that consensus and revised estimates were less biased and more diverse than what a uniform aggregation of independent opinions could achieve. Consequently, the average of different consensus decisions was substantially more accurate than aggregating the independent opinions. Even combining as few as four consensus choices outperformed the wisdom of thousands of individuals. Our results indicate that averaging information from independent debates is a highly effective strategy for harnessing our collective knowledge.
… The peculiar thing about Real Madrid’s recent run of success, however, is that it has been achieved in a manner no one expected. For much of the 21st century, Real Madrid have been utterly obsessed with superstars, focusing upon signing the world’s biggest names for the sake of it and largely at the expense of team shape. Now, Real Madrid have moved in a different direction.
This is, increasingly, an “anti-Galactico” side in three different ways.
My sense is that the fly-ball revolution isn’t something I even need to explain. You know the argument, you know the theory, and you know about some of the most successful cases. Ground balls are mostly unhelpful, right? So why not…not…hit ground balls? Francisco Lindor has attempted to stop hitting ground balls. He’s doubled his home-run total, from 15 to 30. Good luck finding someone who scouted him in the minors who thought he’d hit for that kind of pop.
Yet, largely, the fly-ball revolution’s very existence feels anecdotal. One can’t help but notice the league-wide numbers, and how little they’ve shifted. Compared to last year, this year’s average ground-ball rate is down half a percentage point. The league has hit 44% ground balls. A decade ago, the league hit 44% ground balls. Who cares? Is anything actually going on?
It is. It’s just a little bit hidden. Thanks to the wonders of Statcast, we can see where the league has been actively changing
right now, but a small yet important injury crisis most certainly is.
In three weeks, the U.S. will face Panama and Trinidad & Tobago in a pair of do-or-die World Cup qualifying matches. A ticket to Russia hangs in the balance, a potential ticket to Australia or Syria might be necessary on the way and the worst-case scenario of missing out altogether remains in play. And while direct shots at Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Christian “Wonder Boy” Pulisic and Bruce Arena have the U.S. soccer community heated, a forced and theatrical set of hot takes isn’t going to change the U.S. men’s fortunes at all. Who Arena has at his disposal to select most certainly will, though.
… A free agent this winter, Bryan Shaw’s interests aren’t entirely aligned with his club’s. (Photo: Erik Drost)
Consider, as well, the examples of Drew Pomeranz and Colin Rea. For those who may not immediately remember, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was suspended for 30 days for his failure to disclose medical information in the trade of Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox. At the time of the transaction, the most pressing concern was whether San Diego had acted in good faith while dealing with Boston. Possibly the greatest risk, though, was the one absorbed by Drew Pomeranz. Colin Rea’s case is similar, except that he was ultimately returned by the Marlins back to the Padres. He hasn’t pitched in the major league since July 30, 2016, a few days before the deal was reversed.
In the cases both of Rea and Pomeranz, the San Diego Padres appeared to be intent on moving what they regarded as high-risk assets as quickly as possible, before their injury clocks expired and their value cratered.
The Padres decided to move their assets in order to protect organizational goals; however, the sort of remedial or progressive risk injury action that may have aided the player wasn’t a priority.
… in football we are still generally trying to differentiate ourselves by the depth of our pockets, assuming players are only interested in what they can earn.
For the top teams, we predict that simply paying more will become increasingly ineffective at attracting talent. We already hear of players being prepared to take a cut in wages in return for more playing time, or for Champions League football, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being a recent example. This presents an opportunity for smart clubs to differentiate themselves through providing a sense of achievement and belonging that numbers alone cannot afford.
This may go some way to explaining Tottenham Hotspur’s current ability to punch above their financial weight.