Applied Sports Science newsletter – June 23, 2018

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 23, 2018


Sixers coach Brett Brown visits Markelle Fultz in Los Angeles, Keith Pompey from

… Fultz is trying to regain the shooting form that made him the unanimous first-overall draft pick in 2017.

Brown wants him play in summer league because he played in only 17 games this season. Fultz played in the first four regular-season games before being sidelined for the next 68 with what the team called a right-shoulder injury. However, his shooting woes were actually mental, according to several sources. After showing some improvement in his shot, Fultz returned in time for the final 10 games of the season.


Arizona Cardinals’ Markus Golden ready to come back even stronger

Fansided, Raising Arizona blog, Mark A. Hernandez from

Combating a torn ACL suffered early in the 2017 season, Arizona Cardinals defensive end Markus Golden is looking to come back even stronger in 2018.

When Markus Golden went down four games into the season last year, he was leading the team in sacks. He looked like he was on the verge of a breakout season. Unfortunately for him and Cardinal fans, that was cut short by a devastating injury.

Fast-forward to 2018 and Golden is now looking to come back in time for the start of the season. “I’m feeling way better than a couple months ago,” he said. “I don’t want to rush anything. Of course the goal is to be ready by the season and get a little work during [training] camp.”


Dele Alli and England Drop Their Guard and Their Past

The New York Times, Rory Smith from

… There is, by common consent, something different about the English team that has been crafted by Gareth Southgate — the third national-team manager that Alli has experienced in less than three years — since he was parachuted in to replace Sam Allardyce. There is a sense of freshness, of a new beginning, of a team untainted by failures past. Alli’s optimism serves as evidence of it: an English player not just undaunted by playing for England, but actively cherishing it.

Southgate, whose players will get their first World Cup test in a Monday game against Tunisia, contends part of that comes down to the personnel. He has drafted in a host of young players; 12 of the 23 he has taken to Russia were not even at Euro 2016. Wayne Rooney has retired from international soccer; Joe Hart has been ostracized. With them gone, the last bonds with what was known as the Golden Generation — the teams that fell short so often between 2002 and 2014 — have been broken.

Southgate has suggested the style he is seeking to play has helped, too.


International research team finds brain changes linked to sleep need

UT Southwestern Medical Center, Newsroom from

We’ve all experienced going to bed tired and waking up refreshed, yet how that happens at the molecular level remains a mystery. An international study published today in Nature sheds new light on the biochemistry of sleep need in the brain.

According to the American Sleep Association, 50 million to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder with almost 1 in 3 experiencing short-term insomnia and about 1 in 10 suffering from chronic insomnia. Sleep loss is known to compromise thinking and decision-making, which decreases work performance and productivity while increasing the risk of auto and industrial accidents. Understanding sleep regulators could benefit society by leading to the development of novel, more effective treatments for sleeplessness.

The new research reports the first whole-brain, quantitative study of a fundamental molecular process called phosphorylation in the context of sleep need. It features a clever comparison of two different groups of tired mice: sleep-deprived normal mice and Sleepy mutant mice, a variety with a genetic mutation that confers an unusually high sleep need despite increased sleep amount.


Integrating Technology into Athletic Speed Development and Injury Prevention with Rick Franzblau

SimpliFaster Blog from

Freelap USA: What is your approach to hamstring injury risk aversion? What are some things you see show up in athletes who tend to have problems with hamstring pulls?

Rick Franzblau: Hamstring injury aversion is ultimately attributed to well-planned training on the physical preparation end, but also on the technical end. There are a number of factors that play an integral role, including sequencing of training, load management, biomechanics, eccentric strength, and general and specific work capacity, among others. Ultimately, all of these components are important and all impact one another to a certain degree.

Sequencing of training is paramount. Movement and technical sessions should always be planned first with strength sessions falling in line. Sprint sessions should be paired with intense hamstring training on the same day to allow for recovery between sessions. This also applies to sport practices, particularly for field sports. For instance, a soccer practice with larger volumes of high-speed running and more full-field type work will be paired with hamstring intensive work in the weight room. Conversely, a lot of small-sided games should be paired with more pushing or quadriceps dominant movements in the weight room.

Biomechanics is another critical component that is relevant for sprinters and field sport athletes. Dangerous sprinting mechanics include excessive backside mechanics, oftentimes driven by anterior pelvic tilt and excessive plantar flexion, which can further drive the backside mechanics.


A look inside how Chris Doyle organizes Iowa’s offseason training program

Hawk Central, Chad Leistikow from

While you’re still putting together summer vacation plans … the college football season is coming fast.

At Iowa, returning players reported Monday for workouts at the Stew and Lenore Hansen Football Performance Center. In a few days, incoming freshmen will report and begin summer classes.

“We’re really entering the final seven-week phase of our offseason,” Iowa director of football and 20th-year strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle said Wednesday night during an appearance on the Register’s weekly “Hawk Central” radio show on KxNO (1460 AM) in Des Moines.

This, on the Hawkeye football calendar, is Phase Three of Doyle’s training program. He admitted Wednesday he (and others in the industry) in the past tried to “peak” everything at once — strength, speed and conditioning.


Sleep-related Issues for Recovery and Performance in Athletes. – PubMed – NCBI

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance from

The body of research that reports the relevance of sleep in high-performance sports is growing steadily. While the identification of sleep cycles and diagnosis of sleep disorders is limited to lab-based assessment via polysomnography, the development of activity-based devices estimating sleep patterns provides greater insight into the sleep behaviour of athletes in ecological settings. Overall, small sleep quantity and/or poor quality appears to exist in many athletic populations, though this may be related to training and competition context. Typical sleep-affecting factors are the scheduling of training sessions and competitions as well as impaired sleep-onset as a result of increased arousal prior to competition or due to the use of electronic devices before bedtime. Further challenges are travel demands which may be accompanied by jet-lag symptoms and disruption of sleep habits. Promotion of sleep may be approached via behavioural strategies, such as sleep hygiene, extending night-time sleep or daytime napping. Pharmacological interventions should be limited to clinically-induced treatments as evidence among healthy and athletic populations is lacking. To optimise and manage sleep in athletes, it is recommended to implement routine sleep monitoring on an individual basis.


Evaluation of Skating Top Speed, Acceleration, and Multiple Repeated Sprint Speed Ice Hockey Performance Tests. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

Skating speed, acceleration (ACC), and economy are important attributes related to ice hockey success and should ideally be tested on the ice in a reliable and time efficient manner that is accessible to coaches at all levels of the sport. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of certain on-ice tests and further, to use these results to evaluate changes in performance across a season. It was hypothesized that the tests’ reliability would be excellent and that players would demonstrate improvements in performance associated with enhanced physiological conditioning. Forty male ice hockey players (16.2 ± 0.8 years, 1.76 ± 0.06 m, 73.7 ± 9.8 kg) completed top speed (TS), ACC, and multiple repeated sprint time (MRST) tests twice in the preseason (PRE 1 and 2) 1 week apart to examine reliability and once postseason (POST) to examine changes across the season. A high-speed video camera was used to time each test. The TS, ACC, and MRST demonstrated excellent within- and between-day reliability (interclass correlation coefficient [ICC] ≥ 0.83, typical error [TE] ≤ 2.6%) as well as within- and between-rater reliability (ICC ≥ 0.86, TE ≤ 0.5%). The team’s TS and ACC were similar at all 3 assessments (p > 0.05), whereas MRST was faster at POST than at PRE 1 (p < 0.05). This test battery is reliable, time efficient, and inexpensive. All 3 tests may be used in team selection and identification of fatigue or overtraining. The MRST may be the most sensitive to short-term improvements related to ice hockey conditioning.


Six Methods Athletes Use to Get Better Sleep and Power Performance, Edge, Jamie Lisanti from

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep. A long, uninterrupted slumber and a refreshed feeling in the morning are what most of us wish for but seldom attain. And in this quest for quality zzz’s, athletes are no different than you and I.

“Healthy sleep is essential for every adult to be at their best,” says Cheri D. Mah, a physician and research scientist at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Human Performance Center who studies the relationship between sleep and performance in elite athletes. “Sleep can enhance motor skills and learning and is essential for optimizing cognitive performance, such as your reaction time and decision-making.”


Why even the youngest, fastest talent can’t compete with experience

LinkedIn, Jeff Bercovici from

“If you want to play quicker, you can start running faster. But it’s the ball that decides the speed of the game,” the great Dutch soccer player and coach Johan Cruyff once said. Not even the fastest player can outrun the ball. Being able to chase down the other team’s lightning-fast winger isn’t much use if, the moment you arrive, he launches a perfect cross to his striker in front of the net. The ability to outsprint any defender isn’t much of an advantage if you run the wrong way. “The fastest player on the field isn’t the person with the fastest body, but with the fastest mind,” James Galanis, an Australian soccer coach and mentor of FIFA World Player of the year Carli Lloyd, says.

And the fastest minds seldom belong to the youngest players. True, they have the fastest reflexes. Every neuron is wrapped in a protective protein sheath that acts as insulation, improving impulse conduction. As nerve cells age, this protein sheath degrades, leading to an increase in reaction times beginning in one’s 20s.

But reaction time and decision speed are two different things.


Orlando Magic hire new athletic training staff

Orlando Magic Daily, Philip Rossman-Reich from

The Orlando Magic added an important behind-the-scenes piece to their puzzle, announcing the hiring of their new training staff under David Tenney.

The Orlando Magic announced they have hired new members of their basketball operations department, adding a new training staff to the organization.

The team had previously let go of much of its training staff from last year as president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and high performance director David Tenney began to sink their teeth into the team.

The Magic hired Tenney before last season and he began to take over many of the player health decisions. As Orlando reformed its organization, it seemed like every aspect was under review. That included the training staff.


Circadian Rhythms Keep the Body Ticking on Time

BrainFacts, Erika Engelhaupt from

… in the 1700s, French scientist Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan wondered what would happen if he kept a mimosa plant in the dark. He was surprised that the plants continued to open and close their leaves on schedule — with no light to tell them what time it was.

This was the first clue that living things have regular daily rhythms that don’t depend on light or other environmental cues. The implications were stunning: that somehow living things “know” what time it is without being told, and behave accordingly. It would be nearly three centuries later, in 2017, that three scientists would win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for revealing the genes and molecules coordinating this daily dance.

What’s more, most living things on Earth perform this choreography. Not only do people possess internal clocks — with different clocks ticking away in different parts of the body — but plants, animals, and at least some bacteria keep time too. These clocks tell us when to sleep and also affect metabolism, hormones, moods, and much more.


Get in World Cup Shape with this Lower Body Workout

Men's Health, Mark Lelinwalla from

… To prep for the something like the World Cup, it’s important to remember the specific demands on the sport. A soccer player’s legs are his motor. The last time the event was held, in 2014, the Washington Post estimated an average competitor ran over six miles per match — and mixed in with those miles are extreme bursts of speed to make plays on the ball. If a player isn’t able to count on their strong legs for both the long haul and those quick explosive plays for any reason, it’ll be game over quickly.

With that in mind, Guzman and the rest of the LAFC training staff have built up players’ leg strength and endurance all season long, en route to the World Cup.

Guzman broke down several leg-heavy drills that he regularly used to get the four World Cup-bound LAFC players in peak condition.


World Cup 2018: How coach Tite has brought Brazil into the modern age

BBC Sport, Tim Vickery from

… The exception to Brazil’s failure to evolve and learn is Tite.

At first glance his CV might not seem to contain anything unusual. He has flitted from job to job, fired from most of them. He has never worked in Europe; his position has been that he would be unable to achieve excellence in a second language, although the 57-year-old may be softening on that point.

But in addition to mesmerising communication skills – he comes across a little like a hip priest – he has a curious mind. The key phrase of Brazil’s World Cup qualification campaign is his “I have learned how to learn”.

When he made his name at the start of the century, Tite was a 3-5-2 specialist.


Sometimes You Have to Quit to Get Ahead

The New York Times, Stephanie Lee from

We’ve all heard the saying: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

But what if we’ve been looking at quitting all wrong? What if, rather than a step backward, quitting with intention can be a way to leap toward your goals?

Enter “strategic quitting,” a seemingly counterintuitive approach to helping you free up more time, money and energy for the things that matter. (Another way to look at this: learning the power of “no.”)


Blurred Vision, Burning Eyes: This Is a Lasik Success?

The New York Times, Roni Caryn Rabin from

Ever since he had Lasik surgery two years ago, Geobanni Ramirez sees everything in triplicate.

The surgery he hoped would improve his vision left the 33-year-old graphic artist struggling with extreme light sensitivity, double vision and visual distortions that create halos around bright objects and turn headlights into blinding starbursts.

His eyes are so dry and sore that he puts drops in every half-hour; sometimes they burn “like when you’re chopping onions.” His night vision is so poor that going out after dark is treacherous.

But Mr. Ramirez says that as far as his surgeon is concerned, he is a success story.


Capture Complete Gait Analysis in Minutes!

Lower Extremity Review Magazine from

Tekscan’s Strideway has simplified the gait analysis process with easy access to essential gait parameters and a platform that is flexible in length. Unlike other systems, Strideway provides pressure information, as well as spatial, temporal and kinetic parameters for a complete gait analysis.


The Most Innovative Football-Startup Was Crowned at the HYPE Summit Alongside the World Cup

PR Newswire, HYPE Foundation from

… The winner VEO is a Danish startup that provides a powerful sports camera recording and automatically following the action. It’s an easy and affordable solution for football to record, edit, stream and analyse matches. “Tokabot” from Israel took out 2nd place, and Spanish “Soccerdream” was chosen for 3rd place.


To Feel Again – A tiny brain implant developed at Caltech returns the sensations of touch and movement to a paralyzed man’s arms and hands.

Caltech Magazine, Lori Dajose from

Three years ago, a man became paralyzed from the shoulders down after a spinal cord injury; since that time, he had been unable to move or even feel his limbs. Now, however, he is able to experience sensations of touch and movement in his hands and arms when two tiny electrode arrays activate particular neurons. Developed in the laboratory of Caltech neuroscientist Richard Andersen, the electrodes were implanted in the somatosensory cortex of the man’s brain.

The somatosensory cortex is a strip of brain tissue that governs the body’s proprioceptive sensations (sensations of movement or the body’s position in space) and cutaneous sensations (those of pressure, vibration, touch, and the like). Although previous work by other groups has been able to produce tingling or buzzing sensations in patients’ hands, the Andersen lab’s implants were the first to create more natural sensations with very small pulses of electricity within the brain’s cortex. According to Andersen’s patient, the sensations varied in type, intensity, and location, and they felt more closely akin to those he had experienced prior to his injury.

“It was quite interesting,” he says. “It was a lot of pinching, squeezing movements, things like that.” In 2015, the Andersen lab developed brain-machine interfaces (also known as BMIs) to connect a prosthetic robotic arm to electrodes implanted in the region of the brain that governs intentions. In this way, a different paralyzed man was able to reach out with a prosthetic arm, grasp a cup, and bring it to his mouth to take a drink. What was missing, however, was the ability to actually feel the cup in the prosthetic hand; this new implant could create a bidirectional interface that would make that sort of sensation possible.


University collaboration reveals world’s first-ever graphene sports shoes

University of Manchester (UK) from

The world’s first-ever sports shoes to utilise graphene – the strongest material on the planet – have been unveiled by The University of Manchester and British brand inov-8.

Collaborating with graphene experts at National Graphene Institute, the brand has been able to develop a graphene-enhanced rubber. They have developed rubber outsoles for running and fitness shoes that in testing have outlasted 1,000 miles and are scientifically proven to be 50% harder wearing.


World Cup: Russia 2018 is Test Bed for Sports Technology

Variety, Patrick Frater from

… World Cup organizer, FIFA, sees its showcase competition as intrinsically involved in the sports tech business. “The FIFA World Cup acts as a hub of sporting innovation with a responsibility to push new boundaries in terms of sports-related technology and engagement,” the organization intoned earlier this week as it awarded the 2026 edition to the “United” bid group of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Indeed, sport tech readiness may have been a deciding factor.

“The United 2026 bid has a clear lead in this area, with all major infrastructure in place, allowing FIFA to focus on a number of exciting initiatives relating to sports science, fan engagement, multimedia interaction and other new forms of digitization.”

In addition to assistance from the supplementary referees and their video access, the on-field refs in Russia have been offered specially devised watched, devised by tournament sponsor Hublot to more accurately calculate stoppage periods and extra time. However, they reportedly cost some $5,000 apiece, delegates at the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai were told hours before Thursday’s tournament kick-off.


MIT engineers configure RFID tags to work as sensors

MIT News from

These days, many retailers and manufacturers are tracking their products using RFID, or radio-frequency identification tags. Often, these tags come in the form of paper-based labels outfitted with a simple antenna and memory chip. When slapped on a milk carton or jacket collar, RFID tags act as smart signatures, transmitting information to a radio-frequency reader about the identity, state, or location of a given product.

In addition to keeping tabs on products throughout a supply chain, RFID tags are used to trace everything from casino chips and cattle to amusement park visitors and marathon runners.

The Auto-ID Lab at MIT has long been at the forefront of developing RFID technology. Now engineers in this group are flipping the technology toward a new function: sensing. They have developed a new ultra-high-frequency, or UHF, RFID tag-sensor configuration that senses spikes in glucose and wirelessly transmits this information. In the future, the team plans to tailor the tag to sense chemicals and gases in the environment, such as carbon monoxide.


NCAA, wife of former Texas DT Greg Ploetz settle CTE lawsuit

ESPN College Football, Mark Schlabach from

The NCAA and the widow of a former Texas Longhorns football player reached an undisclosed settlement Friday on the third day of a civil trial in Dallas, in which the widow’s attorneys argued the NCAA was responsible for his brain injuries and death more than four decades after he played for the Longhorns.


The Quest to Decode the Brain

Wall Street Journal, Daniela Hernandez from

New tools that can give a more detailed look at how neurons work are leading the research of brain scientists in new directions


Everything big data claims to know about you could be wrong

University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley News from

When it comes to understanding what makes people tick — and get sick — medical science has long assumed that the bigger the sample of human subjects, the better. But new research led by UC Berkeley suggests this big-data approach may be wildly off the mark.

That’s largely because emotions, behavior and physiology vary markedly from one person to the next and one moment to the next. So averaging out data collected from a large group of human subjects at a given instant offers only a snapshot, and a fuzzy one at that, researchers said.

The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, have implications for everything from mining social media data to customizing health therapies, and could change the way researchers and clinicians analyze, diagnose and treat mental and physical disorders.

“If you want to know what individuals feel or how they become sick, you have to conduct research on individuals, not on groups,” said study lead author Aaron Fisher, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. “Diseases, mental disorders, emotions, and behaviors are expressed within individual people, over time. A snapshot of many people at one moment in time can’t capture these phenomena.”


AI in the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Data & Society: Points blog, Claudia Haupt from

Legal scholar Jack Balkin suggests that “we are rapidly moving from the age of the Internet to the Algorithmic Society.” He defines the Algorithmic Society as “a society organized around social and economic decision making by algorithms, robots, and AI agents who not only make the decisions but also, in some cases, carry them out.” In this emerging society, we need “not laws of robotics, but laws of robot operators,” and “the central problem of regulation is not the algorithms but the human beings who use them, and who allow themselves to be governed by them. Algorithmic governance is the governance of humans by humans using a particular technology of analysis and decision-making.” We should likewise begin to identify questions about forms of algorithmic governance in the medical advice-giving context. At each regulatory access point, the guiding questions ought to be what the incorporation of AI changes, and how this change should best be addressed.


University of Maryland hires consultant to review team protocols after football player’s death

Baltimore Sun, Talia Richman from

The University of Maryland has hired a sports medicine consulting group to conduct an external review of the football team’s protocols after the death of a 19-year-old offensive lineman.

Walters Inc., led by Dr. Rod Walters, a former college athletic trainer, will begin its review by the end of the week, university officials said Tuesday night. The review could take up to 90 days.

Maryland’s acting athletic director, Damon Evans, publicly pledged to conduct an external review the day after Jordan McNair died. The Randallstown resident was hospitalized May 29 after collapsing during an organized team workout in College Park. He died two weeks later.


Follow TRAILS to Understand Running Injuries (Sports Med Res)

Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field, Danielle M. Torp from

Take Home Message: Among recreational runners, females and those with greater knee stiffness (often runners with a higher body mass) were more likely to develop overuse injuries. Many long-established factors (e.g., arch height, Q-angle) had no relation with new overuse injuries.


Does Electrical Stimulation Speed Recovery in Baseball Players?

Elite Baseball Performance, Stephen Osterer from

In recent years, there has been a major increase in the usage of EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) units in the baseball world. From the MLB to the high school ranks, it seems like everyone has jumped on the “ESTIM unit” bandwagon, claiming that their inclusion has dramatically improved their performance. Supporters often cite improved blood flow, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and a quicker return to performance as the key benefits.


WADA releases a set of key outcomes at the first Global Athlete Forum hosted by the Canadian Olympic Committee

Canadian Sport Institute Pacific from

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced a set of key outcomes following the first Global Athlete Forum held in Calgary, Alberta from June 3-5 and hosted by the COC. The forum welcomed more than 100 athlete leaders representing 54 countries to discuss key developments in anti-doping.

After two days of discussions the following represents the key outcomes:

  • The Forum supports the draft Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights and stressed the importance of the Charter to ensure that the rights of all athletes are accepted and that the key principles are integrated into the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code.

    The Collapse of a $40 Million Nutrition Science Crusade

    WIRED, Science, Megan Molteni from

    On Monday night Gary Taubes will board his second transatlantic flight in a week—from Zurich to Aspen—then eventually back to Oakland, where he calls home. The crusading science journalist best known for his beef with Big Sugar is beat after four days of nutrition conference glad-handing. But there’s no rest for the down and out. Taubes is on a desperate money-raising mission for the Nutrition Science Initiative—his nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of nutrition research.


    What to Eat Before Running According to Top Runners- REI Co-op Journal

    REI Co-op Journal, Megan Michelson from

    You’ve logged the miles. Done the training. Now it’s race day. One big question remains: What should you eat before you run? Chances are, you should eat whatever you usually eat—now is not the time to introduce something new. For some insight, we called up a handful of elite trail runners to see what they eat for breakfast—what fuels them through mile after mile on both training and race days. Then we asked sports nutritionist, writer and runner Matt Fitzgerald, author of “The Endurance Diet: Discover the 5 Core Habits of the World’s Greatest Athletes to Look, Feel, and Perform Better,” for his take.


    New transfer rule eliminates permission-to-contact process

    NCAA, News from

    Beginning in October, Division I student-athletes will have the ability to transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their current school for permission.

    The Division I Council adopted a proposal this week that creates a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student’s name into a national transfer database within two business days. Once the student-athlete’s name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual.

    “The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” said Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”


    Wins in the NFL don’t correlate from year to year…not at all. Here is my chart plotting Year N and Year N+1 [OC] from


    NBA: Last 3 seasons the champion has been middle of pack in # of injuries (GSW, CLE) or in bottom 5 for injuries (GSW)NHL: Last 4 seasons the Cup winner has been bottom 5 in injuries (WSH, CHI) or top 10 in # of injuries (PIT x2)

    Twitter, Man Games Lost NBA from


    Kai Chang (BS ’17) and the Los Angeles Dodgers

    YouTube, caltech from

    When Kai-Tang Chang (BS ’17) graduated from Caltech, he knew he was interested in graduate school and was even offered a Fulbright fellowship. But Kai couldn’t resist the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers. One year after graduation, the young alum reflects on his time at Caltech and the friends and mentors who made his career path possible.


    The Most Overpaid NBA Players of the 2017-18 Season

    Complex, Aaron Mansfield from

    … Though some players are fortunate to sign at the perfect time, others sign when the league is financially hamstrung (like it will be this coming summer) or when their value is at its lowest. Until last summer, two-time MVP Steph Curry was playing for only $11 million per year. It’s hard to believe, but some scrubs make more than some stars.

    Which of the many terrible contracts currently floating around the league is the worst? Who was the most un-tradeable asset in the NBA this past season? These are the 10 most overpaid players in the 2017-18 NBA season.


    Sean McVay vs. Kyle Shanahan: The NFL’s Best New Coaching Rivalry, NFL, Andy Benoit from

    The league’s most-admired offensive trend-setters are set up to face each other for years as NFC West counterparts. Both came up under Jon Gruden in Tampa, honed their styles and strategy with the Redskins, and went west last year to inject new life into storied franchises. McVay’s Rams and Shanahan’s 49ers will be compelling theater in 2018, and likely for a long time


    6 reasons why Mexico upset Germany

    Budesliga Fanatic blog, Abel Meszaros from

    In what has obviously been the shock result of a rather difficult World Cup for the heavy favorites (Spain, Brazil, Argentina all failed to win, France scraped by) Mexico caused the biggest upset of the tournament with a 1-0 win over the holders Germany. Here are six reasons why El Tri were superior to die Nationalelf:

    1.Great tactics by Juan Carlos Osorio


    How to Identify Talent: Five Lessons from the NFL Draft

    Behavioral Scientist, Cade Massey from

    This week the Cleveland Browns will decide which, if any, of the top quarterback prospects to acquire with the first pick in the NFL draft. There are four leading contenders, and the team has been evaluating them in detail for more than a year. They will pay the young man over $30 million, and his success or failure will drive the team’s fortunes for years. No pressure. Never mind the sobering 52 percent success rate for picking between two players in the NFL draft.

    Few industries invest as much into each “hire” as professional sports. I have seen this firsthand, working closely with NFL teams for more than 10 years and more recently with professional basketball and baseball teams. Their issues parallel those I see in nonsports organizations, from multinational corporations to graduate school admissions and urban nonprofits. The challenge of finding the next generation of talent is both ubiquitous and vexing. Successful track records are rare.

    Yet, if there is one consistent yet underappreciated principle for making good hires, it is that process beats technology. It turns out that best practices in hiring have much in common with what psychologists have preached for decades.


    A Bigger Strike Zone Is a Bad Idea

    FanGraphs Baseball, Craig Edwards from

    … I have previously proposed raising the bottom of the strike zone to put more balls in play, but there are others — including at least one MLB manager — who believe that a larger strike zone might increase the number of balls in play.

    The possibility of this effect is one I’ve heard mentioned on broadcasts before, so it isn’t without precedent. The theory goes like this: an expanded strike zone will force batters to exercise less patience and, as a result, swing at more pitches. More swings, and perhaps more emphasis on contact, means more balls in play.

    Fortuitously, this is a theory we can test, because the strike zone actually hasn’t remained static in recent years


    Should Big Games in March Sway the N.B.A. Draft in June? The Numbers Say Yes

    The New York Times, Marc Tracy from

    … Several current and former N.B.A. front-office hands acknowledged that the tournament, despite representing just a small part of any college player’s career, inevitably looms large in their decision-making.

    “It’s the last thing you see for most players who are drafted,” Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said.


    Penalty rates: the science of World Cup football

    Cosmos Magazine, Andrew Patterson from

    … It is reasonable to wonder, therefore, about the science that influences successful spot kick.

    This is where the British consultancy Quintic aim to step in – their director Paul Hurrion is an expert in the field of biomechanical analysis and counts the aforementioned Portugal frontman Ronaldo among his clients.

    Speaking to Imaging and Machine Vision Europe magazine, Hurrion notes that while his firm’s sports imaging services are popular in track and field disciplines, football coaches are more subjective in their judgements.

    “Football coaches tend to let the players work it out for themselves. What we’re trying to do is highlight that there is a more scientific way to analyse human movement,” he says.


    MLB turns to BGSU professor to help study home run phenomenon

    Toledo Blade, Nicholas Piotrowicz from

    As Major League Baseball’s home run totals soared to unprecedented levels last season, many pitchers began to openly wonder if something had changed with the baseball.

    Thanks to research done in part by a Bowling Green State University professor, MLB now knows definitively that baseballs are behaving a bit differently during their flights to the outfield.

    Longtime BGSU statistics professor Jim Albert, who has done extensive research into baseball during his career, was part a 10-person committee created by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s office to answer one question.

    What the heck is going on with all these home runs?

    “When you’re a statistician, you’re basically just exploring,” Albert said. “In fact, the big task we were given was that we know there was a big raise in home-run hitting the past couple of years. We were just trying to understand more of the why. Was it a baseball thing? Was it a feature of how people are hitting the ball? Are they hitting it harder?”


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