Applied Sports Science newsletter – October 31, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for October 31, 2017


Can Liverpool unlock riddle of the real life Oxymoron?

The Guardian, Barney Ronay from

… Oxlade-Chamberlain was fast-tracked by Fabio Capello and coveted by Sir Alex Ferguson. He was wanted this summer by Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. He is a genuinely likable man, a team player and model pro, his public presence less like a footballer, more like the friendly junior PE teacher in a BBC children’s drama. And yet this is still a career that has effectively decelerated, failed to thrill, drifted.

There is a theory about the disjunct between the appearance of Oxlade‑Chamberlain and the effect off Oxlade-Chamberlain. The theory goes that he is in effect an elite athlete playing football rather than a “pure” footballer with nothing else in his veins. Oxlade-Chamberlain was a fine junior rugby player and an age-group cricketer good enough to still hold Hampshire district batting records. His old coach reckons he could have made it as a wicketkeeper-batsman, his hands were so good, his hitting so clean.

This is a seriously gifted human being.


Capping a Legendary Career, Meb and His Team Prepare for a New York City Curtain Call

Runner's World, Newswire, Erin Strout from

A week ago, Meb Keflezighi finished the final long run of his career in remarkably similar fashion as he did his first one, 18 years ago.

He traced a familiar 20-mile route in his high-altitude base of Mammoth Lakes, California. Bob Larsen, his coach of almost 25 years, awaited him at the finish, along with Deena Kastor, his original Mammoth Track Club teammate, with whom Keflezighi pioneered a resurgence in American distance running in 2001.

“It was a special moment,” Larsen said. “There were a lot of hugs and congratulations. That was the last long one. They’re not as easy as they used to be. He’s 42 years old, and it’s tougher and tougher. I’m just savoring every moment. I’m making sure I’m doing things a little bit slower, because I don’t want to rush through this.”


The Astros’ Alex Bregman Keeps Working at Hitting, Fielding and Spanish

The New York Times, James Wagner from

On his first day in the major leagues, in August 2016, Yuli Gurriel was understandably nervous. He was 32 and had defected six months earlier from Cuba to sign with the Houston Astros. Now, after 15 games in the minor leagues, he had been summoned to play at baseball’s highest level.

At his locker before his debut, Gurriel heard a comforting language, but from an unexpected source. Alex Bregman, an Albuquerque native who played at Louisiana State, was speaking in Spanish. And he was talking to Gurriel.

“It surprised me,” Gurriel said. “He said, ‘I played with you in Cuba as a college kid.’ It really stood out to me.”


Meet Morgan Hurd, the 16-year-old surprise world all-around champion in gymnastics

espnW, Alyssa Roenigk from

… Before this summer, Hurd was barely a household name in the homes of avid gymnastics fans. She had the distinction of being the first elite gymnast from the state of Delaware, and her adorably unique looks and creative floor routines have had some fans buzzing since 2014. But it was her surprise win at the 2017 world championships in Montreal on Oct. 6 that landed Hurd on an exclusive eight-woman list of U.S. world champions that includes Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Shawn Johnson and Shannon Miller, and lit up her Twitter mentions.

“It is all surreal,” Hurd says. “I was so honored just to be competing at worlds and to win it was the most amazing feeling in the world. It’s been slowly setting in.”

Her rookie-year rise up the senior ranks however, was anything but slow-going. In August, Hurd finished sixth all-around at nationals, three months after undergoing her second surgery in four years to remove cartilage from her right elbow.


It’s an Island Ting: Kahuku High in Oahu Churns Out NFL Studs Like Schools in Florida and Texas, High School, Austin Murphy from

The harsh lights in the wrestling room came on at 5 a.m., and it wasn’t pretty. Members of the Kahuku High football team groaned and rubbed their eyes and made their way toward the men’s room muttering f-bombs, their devout faith notwithstanding. The Red Raiders moved like zombies, the difference being that unlike the undead, these teens were here of their own volition. It was their call to show up for Hell Week: meetings and practice by day, then bed down beside one another; rise and repeat the spartan cycle.

When the heavens opened just before dawn, drenching the team 15 minutes into its hour-long workout, the players embraced it, whooping, smiling and sticking tongues out, grateful for any break in the grim routine. Hell Week wasn’t quite half over on this Wednesday in late July, and everyone was on edge. Hard feelings had spilled into the weight room the previous morning when a handful of receivers and defensive backs came to blows. They were tired. They were sore. Nobody was getting enough sleep. And that was the point. “Hell Week isn’t about recovery,” explained Samson Reed, a senior D-end committed to play at Virginia. (He’s one of eight Kahuku players with FBS offers.) “It’s more of a weeding out—finding out who really wants to be here, who wants to sacrifice.”


Eddie Jones gives chaos a whirl to keep England on their toes for autumn Tests

The Guardian, Robert Kitson from

With James Haskell jettisoned and Courtney Lawes given a hurry-up the England coach wants squad to feel uncomfortable as they prepare for the November internationals and build towards the 2019 World Cup


U.S. Olympic Committee Unveils Quality Coaching Framework

United States Olympic Committee from

The United States Olympic Committee today unveiled its Quality Coaching Framework, an evidence-based resource that outlines a common set of guiding principles for all those working in Team USA coaching contexts. Developed in partnership with National Governing Bodies; Dr. Wade Gilbert of California State University, Fresno; and Human Kinetics, the Quality Coaching Framework aims to assist the USOC in achieving the following objectives:

  • Advance the profession, recognition and exposure of quality coaching in the United States
  • Promote coaching training and positive examples of coaching principles in action
  • Close performance gaps by raising awareness and aligning coaching education through collaboration with NGBs and industry stakeholders
  • Support Team USA in delivering high-quality coaching education, while developing resources to support NGBs.

    There may be a sense in which expert athletes see things in slow motion

    The British Psychological Society, Research Digest, Christian Jarrett from

    Experienced sports players aren’t just highly skilled at executing their own actions, they also have what often seems like a supernatural ability to read the game, to watch other players and anticipate what’s going to happen next. A clever new study in Psychological Research offers insight into the brain basis of this aspect of sporting ability – the findings suggest that expert basketball players simulate in their minds the actions of other players in something akin to slow-motion, presumably giving them more time to interpret and read the actions.

    Carmelo Vicario and his colleagues recruited twenty female basketball players with an average of 12 years playing experience, and they compared their performance on two perceptual tasks with a group of twenty experienced volleyball players and twenty sporting novices.

    The first task involved watching short videos (just over two seconds total duration) depicting a woman basketball player throwing a ball at a basket. Around half a second after starting, each video was blanked for a short duration (between a tenth to half a second), and as it resumed the video either depicted a continuation of the earlier movement, or it showed a continuation of a different throw by the same woman. The participants’ task was to say whether the final video segment showed the same movement as seen at the start of the video or a different one.


    Brunel scientists develop flexible, wearable 3D-printed battery

    Brunel University from

    These days, the long hours spent charging our wearables and gadgets represent the most significant amount of time we spend away from them. Portable chargers have already started to fill that powerless void. Now, it looks as though technology developed at Brunel University London could keep devices running for longer.

    With the help of readily available household supplies and a 3D printer, scientists at Brunel have devised a flexible, wearable battery that can be implanted into a plastic wristband. The technique opens the door for experimental wearable designs that could provide a handy source power for phones, medical implants and more.


    Innovative material for soft sensor could bring new tactile tech

    Purdue University, News from

    A new type of soft and stretchable sensor could find uses in applications ranging from athletics and health monitoring to prosthetics and virtual reality.

    The technology, called iSoft, is capable of sensing in real-time, or without delay, and can perform “multimodal” sensing, or sensing a variety of stimuli such as continuous contact and stretching in all directions.

    “The novel part of iSoft is that it does not need any wiring or electronics within the material,” said Karthik Ramani, Purdue University’s Donald W. Feddersen Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the C Design Lab. “The platform provides the ability to create and customize soft sensors. Even if you have no professional knowledge of electronics you can modify any object with it, including objects with complex shapes.”


    Connective tissue injury in calf muscle tears and return to play: MRI correlation. – PubMed – NCBI

    British Journal of Sports Medicine from


    The aim of our study was to assess a group of patients with calf muscle tears and evaluate the integrity of the connective tissue boundaries and interfaces. Further, we propose a novel MRI grading system based on integrity of the connective tissue and assess any correlation between the grading score and time to return to play. We have also reviewed the anatomy of the calf muscles.

    We retrospectively evaluated 100 consecutive patients with clinical suspicion and MRI confirmation of calf muscle injury. We evaluated each calf muscle tear with MRI for the particular muscle injured, location of injury within the muscle and integrity of the connective tissue structure at the interface. The muscle tears were graded 0-3 depending on the degree of muscle and connective tissue injury. The time to return to play for each patient and each injury was found from the injury records and respective sports doctors.

    In 100 patients, 114 injuries were detected. Connective tissue involvement was observed in 63 out of 100 patients and failure (grade 3 injury) in 18. Mean time to return to play with grade 0 injuries was 8 days, grade 1 tears was 17 days, grade 2 tears was 25 days and grade 3 tears was 48 days (p<0.001). CONCLUSION:

    The integrity of the connective tissue can be used to estimate and guide the time to return to play in calf muscle tears.


    Periodised Nutrition – tailoring nutrition to an athlete’s training programme

    Coach Logic, Lindsey Ormond from

    … Periodised nutrition refers to tailoring dietary intake according to the training session and daily needs, in order to enhance adaptations, which will then benefit performance. Take rugby for example; a player’s weekly training sessions will include skills, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, position-specific drills, strength and power. The number and type of sessions per week will differ depending on the stage in the season, with different aims at different times in the season. From pre-season objectives of enhancing fitness and targeting optimal weight, to enhancing recovery and ensuring optimal fitness and readiness for matches during the season. Tailoring nutrition according to each athlete’s training can help them make more of their sessions and enhance their performance.


    The Next Big Performance Enhancing Drug: Bacteria From Elite Athletes’ Guts?

    Men's Journal, Peter Andrey Smith from

    … So far, nothing suggests that a bacteria in a probiotic could potentially alter your game on a par with performance-enhancing drugs, says Gregor Reid, a veteran researcher at the Western University in Ontario. But several studies have linked specific bacterial strains with improved recovery times or reduced incidence of illness after an athletic event, and Reid says it’s clear that “in the future, athletic performance and recovery may be aided by microbes.”


    A Pill to Make Exercise Obsolete

    The New Yorker, Nicola Twilley from

    … Still, as the example of Lance Armstrong Human makes clear, sometimes exercise alone is not enough. When Evans began giving 516 to laboratory mice that regularly used an exercise wheel, he found that, after just four weeks on the drug, they had increased their endurance—how far they could run, and for how long—by as much as seventy-five per cent. Meanwhile, their waistlines (“the cross-sectional area,” in scientific parlance) and their body-fat percentage shrank; their insulin resistance came down; and their muscle-composition ratio shifted toward so-called slow-twitch fibres, which tire slowly and burn fat, and which predominate in long-distance runners. In human terms, this would be like a Fun-Run jogger waking up with the body of Mo Farah. Evans published his initial results in the journal Cell, in 2008. This year, he showed that, if his cookie-dough-scarfing mice were allowed to exercise, the ones that had been given 516 for eight weeks could run for nearly an hour and half longer than their drug-free peers. “We can replace training with a drug,” he said.


    Undermanned Washington Redskins can’t beat Dallas Cowboys

    ESPN NFL, John Keim from

    … In training camp, the Redskins said — and have said a few times since — that this is the best roster in Jay Gruden’s tenure as coach. They felt they could do something. Now they are in survival mode.

    “We’ve got to recover,” Gruden said. “Tough three games in front of us, but if we take care of business, we can be right back in it.”

    Players shook their head afterward about the number of injuries that have occurred.


    Football clubs splash out for players, so why not for managers?

    The Guardian, Sean Ingle from

    No sooner had Ronald Koeman been sacked by Everton than a predictable troupe of has-beens, hopefuls and cast-offs were plonked among the favourites to replace him. Inevitably David Moyes was high on the bookies’ list, despite a triad of failures at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland. So was Sam Allardyce, a roast-beef-and-potatoes option for a club striving for cordon bleu. Before Sunday’s defeat at Leicester, the academy and under-23 coach, David Unsworth, even became the frontrunner, despite a handful of games on his managerial CV.

    Whatever happens at Goodison Park it is a cast-iron bet that some of these men will be in the frame the next time a Premier League job comes up – and the one after. That is how the system goes. Rinse. Recycle. Repeat. These days managers, like Buddhists, accept that death and rebirth is a fundamental part of existence.

    Yet while clubs increasingly spend crazy money on decent but not exceptional players – Everton, after all, threw £45m at Swansea for Gylfi Sigurdsson – there is a curious reluctance to adopt a similar approach to prise away a proven manager. We are not talking a million here or there, as is occasionally seen, but proper money, crazy money even.


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