Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 4, 2018

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 4, 2018


Chris Boucher, a Raw 25-Year-Old, is on a Mission to Prove He’s NBA Worthy – VICE Sports

VICE Sports, Blake Murphy from

… That he hasn’t yet had a healthy NBA offseason to work on skill development, better learning the game, and most importantly to hit the gym and add functional strength is an important consideration. Yes, Boucher is older than most longer-term projects out there—Bruno Caboclo is 22, for example—but he also got a very late start, traveled a circuitous path, and hasn’t had many breaks, waiting time after time to gather real career momentum.

“It’s been a while, it took me a while to get back from my injury, so now that I have a full summer where I’m healthy, I can definitely work on my body,” he says.

He is almost certainly worth another two-way contract from someone, because the developmental question is worthwhile to try to answer. The Raptors certainly haven’t ruled it out, not after the reminder he served during his recent Summer League play.

“That’s kinda the question mark,” Raptors assistant general manager Dan Tolzman says. “I don’t know how much he’s been given the opportunity to do so. I think everyone knows he’s not a finished product. What you can tap out of a 25-year-old at this stage? That’s maybe the hesitation for some teams. But I think the connection with Canada, and the fact that we were pretty intrigued with him as a college player, too, it’s at least worth exploring.”


The Astros found a framing star in Max Stassi

SB Nation, Beyond the Boxscore blog, Matt Provenzano from

… With Jason Castro as a fixture who was then eventually phased out by Evan Gattis and Brian McCann, Stassi had no natural place on the roster. He was called up for a cup of coffee in every single season from 2013 to 2017, but for no stint longer than 15 games.

This year, though, he has played 61 games, which is still not that much, largely because the Astros were employing a platoon as documented by Travis Sawchik. But with McCann undergoing surgery on his right knee, he should get some more playing time before September.

Even in that limited time, he is both dominating in CSAA (catching strikes above average).


New York Rangers Chris Kreider’s recovery from blood clots, journey back to the ice

ESPN NHL, Emily Kaplan from

… “Everyone knows the severity of blood clots and what that can lead to,” Kreider says. “The minute they said ‘blood clot,’ I saw this season as a write off. Hockey became secondary very quickly. A lot of doctors were trying to explain to me when I could possibly come back, and dancing around it. I had to explain to them: ‘I’m not totally worried about that at the moment. I just want to get healthy.'”

Kreider always knew he had a malformed collarbone, though he was told it was simply aesthetic, and wasn’t an issue. Now he was told he had a malformed rib, and that was a problem. Doctors believed his first rib was fused to the second, so Kreider underwent an arthroscopic surgery to clear up the vein. But the clot came back pretty quickly. Doctors described Kreider’s vein as “ratty” after years of the physical toll of training.

So, they decided to do a second arthroscopic surgery a few days later. He stayed in the hospital for another day and a half as he went on a blood-thinner that could hold closer to the procedure, then doctors resected the first bone and the bridge connecting it to the second. He ended up staying in the hospital for five days.


Hunter Greene of Cincinnati Reds shut down with UCL sprain in elbow

ESPN MLB, Eddie Matz from

Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene has been shut down with an elbow injury.

The Reds said Friday afternoon that Greene has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm and will not pitch again this season. Instead, he’s expected to report to the team’s facility in Goodyear, Arizona, for strengthening in hopes of avoiding surgery.

“Right now, it’s rehab,” said Cincinnati general manager Nick Krall. “It’s not surgical at this point. We’re going to evaluate it as we move through the offseason, and go from there.”


Quinn Hughes Returning to Michigan to Pursue Unfinished Business

University of Michigan, M Go Blue from

… Hughes said, “There were positives and negatives both ways and, honestly, you can go back and forth all day. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last month. And I’d been thinking about this a lot over the last couple weeks, especially with contract talks heating up. So, I went over to see Mel (Friday) morning to go over some things and see where his head was at. And he wanted to speak to me about things, too. I have a really good relationship with him, and there’s always an open line of communication with him. Then I talked to my family members and, obviously, the Vancouver Canucks.

“The Canucks had a big part in this decision, and I think they’re happy with this decision, too. They agree with it. With everyone I spoke with, this made the most sense.”

So, what did it come down to?

“What I really thought about is that it’s not the path,” said Hughes. “It’s the player. If you’re a good player, it will work for you. So, that was what I thought about at the end.”


How Emotional Intelligence Boosts Your Endurance

Outside Online, Alex Hutchinson from

… We often talk about this ability to push with vague generalities—toughness, grit, focus, and so on—but we don’t have any reliable way of quantifying the differences between those who push more and those who quit sooner. So I was interested to see a recent paper from three psychologists in Italy, led by Enrico Rubaltelli of the University of Padova, exploring the links between emotional intelligence and half-marathon performance. In a nutshell, those who were better at recognizing and regulating their emotions ran faster races.

The study involved 237 runners at a half-marathon in Verona who filled out a questionnaire called the Trait Emotional Intelligence Short Form the day before the race, which involves agreeing or disagreeing with statements like “Expressing my emotions with words is not a problem for me” or “I often pause and think about my feelings.” Their scores on this test turned out to be the strongest predictor of their race time the next day—even stronger than prior race experience or typical weekly training mileage.


Physical education: What if we took away the pressure to be good at sports?

ScienceNordic, Ingrid P. Nuse, based on an article by Marianne Nordahl from

A researcher believes that’s how physical education should be. He’s been studying what gym class could be like when physical skills don’t count for students’ grades.


Strive Tech Compression Shorts Monitor Internal, External Training Load

SportTechie, Joe Lemire from

… Just like competitors such as Catapult or STATSports, Strive Tech tracks an athlete’s movement using GPS, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, although the tracking module is located on the waist instead of the upper body. But electrodes in the shorts can also track heart rate through the femoral artery and monitor muscle function with ECG and EMG technology. Mrvaljevic is complimentary of the pioneering industry leaders and wanted to build off their work by coupling motion tracking with physiological monitoring.

“Where I realized an opportunity is, because of my biomedical engineering study, I wanted to look more at the internal load,” he said. “Understanding how much the athlete is achieving throughout the practice via accelerations, speed, distance and those are all great, but what is happening on the inside? Fundamentally, what’s your engine doing? How many miles per gallon are you spending? What is the check engine light?”


ForceDecks joins Vald Performance to add another key pillar to their Human Performance Measurement Systems

LinkedIn, Pulse, Laurie Malone from

… Much like Vald Performance’s existing measurement systems (NordBord Hamstring Testing System, GroinBar Hip Strength Testing System and HumanTrak Movement Analysis System), ForceDecks has built a reputation in elite sport, research and clinical practice for successfully balancing a combination of evidence-based functionality with ease of use. This is a large part of why we saw so many synergies between our systems when we first met Dr. Daniel Cohen and Dr. Phil Graham-Smith, founders and inventors of ForceDecks.


AI Object Recognition System Operates at Speed of Light

The Scientist Magazine®, Anna Azvolinsky from

If you want an extremely fast image- or object-recognition system to detect moving items like a missile or cars on the road, a digital camera hooked up to a computer just won’t do, according to electrical engineer Aydogan Ozcan of the University of California, Los Angeles. So, using machine learning, optics tools, and 3-D printing, he and his colleagues have created a system that is more rapid, operates using light and, unlike computers, does not require a power source other than the initial light source and a simple detector. Their results are published today (July 26) in Science.

“This is a very innovative approach to construct a physical artificial neural network made of stacked layers of optical elements,” Demetri Psaltis, a professor of optics and electrical engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, writes in an email to The Scientist.

What is novel here is not the deep-learning part, but the optical engineering and the ability to “make a cast” of the artificial neural network using 3-D printing, notes Olexa Bilaniuk, a graduate student in Roland Memisevic and Yoshua Bengio’s groups at the University of Montreal who studies machine learning and artificial neural networks. “Previous work to create such an optical network had either been theoretical, or had built much simpler and smaller systems,” he adds.


How a rushed California law will change the privacy and security landscape for mobile health apps

MobiHealthNews, Adam H. Greene from

California passed the most comprehensive privacy law in the U.S. on June 28, 2018, with a compliance date of January 1, 2020. For mobile health app developers, that date may seem far away, but the California law will require significant and challenging operational changes. It is unclear whether the law will apply to protected health information of mobile health app developers who are business associates under HIPAA. But for more consumer-focused apps that fall outside of HIPAA, the California law will certainly require significant changes, ranging from updating privacy policies to implementing a consumer right of erasure. The law will affect most businesses that do business in California and have information about California residents, even if the business is located outside of California.

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (Assembly Bill No. 375), or the CCPA for short, was passed after only a week of legislative debate in response to a ballot initiative that would have imposed more onerous obligations on businesses. A deal was struck that the backers of the ballot initiative would withdraw it if the California legislature instead passed comprehensive privacy legislation that met certain requirements by a June 28th deadline. The rushed CCPA was the result. While different in many respects from the EU’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), the CCPA is the closest U.S. law to the GDPR, in that it applies to practically any consumer information and it provides a broad range of privacy rights with respect to such information.


Arsenal sign global data agreement with Acronis

SportsPro, Michael Long from

Premier League soccer club Arsenal have announced a new global partnership with technology company Acronis.

Under the terms of the three-year agreement, announced in Singapore during the Gunners’ ongoing pre-season tour, the firm becomes the top-flight English soccer side’s official data backup partner.

Acronis, which offers data protection and cloud storage services, will be tasked with storing Arsenal’s data securely, including footage of every first-team and academy training session.


Molecularly selective nanoporous membrane-based wearable organic electrochemical device for noninvasive cortisol sensing

Science Advances; Onur Parlak, Scott Tom Keene, Andrew Marais, Vincenzo F. Curto and Alberto Salleo from

Wearable biosensors have emerged as an alternative evolutionary development in the field of healthcare technology due to their potential to change conventional medical diagnostics and health monitoring. However, a number of critical technological challenges including selectivity, stability of (bio)recognition, efficient sample handling, invasiveness, and mechanical compliance to increase user comfort must still be overcome to successfully bring devices closer to commercial applications. We introduce the integration of an electrochemical transistor and a tailor-made synthetic and biomimetic polymeric membrane, which acts as a molecular memory layer facilitating the stable and selective molecular recognition of the human stress hormone cortisol. The sensor and a laser-patterned microcapillary channel array are integrated in a wearable sweat diagnostics platform, providing accurate sweat acquisition and precise sample delivery to the sensor interface. The integrated devices were successfully used with both ex situ methods using skin-like microfluidics and on human subjects with on-body real-sample analysis using a wearable sensor assembly.


Israel’s plan to accelerate innovation in sports tech

Bizcommunity (South Africa), Lauren Hartzenberg from

… The Summit delved into the future of fan engagement, smart stadiums, health and fitness, financing and e-sports, and was attended by Israeli sports stars Neta Rivkin, Tal Brody and Yael Arad, and representatives from FC Barcelona, ESPN International, NFL, Maccabi Israel and the Israel Olympic Committee.

As delegates, we seemed to be presented with a vision of the future: where a nutrition plan can be compiled based on information from a single breath, where we’re able to virtually attend games halfway across the world and watch said game from the view of our favourite player, see the athlete’s heart rate and PH levels in real-time, and even tune into your child’s high-school soccer game remotely from your mobile phone.


From Social Isolation to Becoming an Advocate – Exploring Athletes’ Grief Discourse About Lived Concussion Experiences in Online Forums

Communication & Sport journal from

Athletes who sustain concussions endure a variety of physical, mental, emotional, and social isolation effects as they rehabilitate. Accordingly, concussion recovery can induce grieving processes as athletes navigate the loss of athletic participation, social networks, and daily routine disruption. This research sought to gain a richer understanding of athletes’ lived experiences with concussions through grief discourse shared in online narratives. Through an analysis of athletes’ experiences shared via 58 blog posts on three concussion websites, the data reveal how athletes frame the losses that concussions bring into their lives, the subsequent feelings and expressions that result, along with how they eventually cope. The information disclosed in these online spaces can benefit parents, friends, coaches, and others to better understand concussion recovery, thereby enhancing their supportive communication and behaviors towards athletes as they rehabilitate from concussions.


How to manage patellofemoral pain (PFP)

Anatomy & Physiotherapy from

PFP is one of the most common conditions in orthopedics and sports medine settings.

Research shows long-term outcomes tend to be poor. This may be due to the multifactorial nature of the condition and the variability of both the populations affected and treatment strategies.

A full understanding of the causes of PFP appearance and chronicity are still not established.

After going through this masterclass, we have learned that not only a variety of factors play a role in PFP, but these may vary greatly from person to person.


Cause of death for UMaine football player still unknown

Bangor Daily News, Larry Mahoney from

It may be weeks before the cause of death is known for Darius Minor, the freshman football player who collapsed Tuesday during a seemingly routine practice at the University of Maine.

Minor, 18, a defensive back from Locust Grove, Virginia, died on Morse Field in Orono during an afternoon workout amid humid conditions.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Minor reportedly showed no signs of health problems and had passed a University of Maine physical. His former high school football coach, Jesse Lohr, said he was stunned.


Mobile app to tackle doping in sport: the ASADA Clean Sport

BJSM blog; Nash Anderson, Nat Sharp and Balraj Ougra from

If an athlete is found guilty of a doping infringement, they can face a ban of up to 4 years. This eliminates them from competing, coaching or working at any event sanctioned by a National Federation and could also mean they are unable to train with their team. This ban also extends to support staff so it is important that all on board are aware of WADA’s anti-doping legislation.

To combat this, ASADA (The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) has created “ASADA Clean Sport” a free app to help educate athletes, support staff and the public about the supplements they may be taking. This aims to both eliminate sports doping and to protect Australia’s sporting integrity.


Here’s What You Should—and Shouldn’t—Eat Before a Run

Outside Online, Sara Angle from

… Eating well before you run can prevent sudden fatigue mid-workout (aka hypoglycemia, or bonking) and can have a direct impact on your performance. “What you eat will help you through the run by either building your glycogen stores for a workout later or boosting blood sugar for a workout in the short term,” says nutritionist Amy Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition NYC. As you start to increase your mileage, your body requires extra fuel—and eating right gets even more important.


Considerations for ultra-endurance activities: part 1- nutrition

Research in Sports Medicine journal from

Ultra-endurance activities (≥ 4h) present unique challenges that, beyond fatigue, may be exacerbated by sub-optimal nutrition during periods of increased requirements and compromised gastrointestinal function. The causes of fatigue during ultra-endurance exercise are multi-factorial. However, mechanisms can potentially include central or peripheral fatigue, thermal stress, dehydration, and/or endogenous glycogen store depletion; of which optimising nutrition and hydration can partially attenuate. If exercise duration is long enough (e.g. ≥ 10h) and exercise intensity low enough (e.g. 45–60% of maximal oxygen uptake), it is bio-energetically plausible that ketogenic adaptation may enhance ultra-endurance performance, but this requires scientific substantiation. Conversely, the scientific literature has consistently demonstrated that daily dietary carbohydrates (3-12g/kg/day) and carbohydrate intake (30-110g/h) during ultra-endurance events can enhance performance at individually tolerable intake rates. Considering gastrointestinal symptoms are common in ultra-endurance activities, effective dietary prevention and management strategies may provide functional, histological, systemic, and symptomatic benefits. Taken together, a well-practiced and individualized fuelling approach is required to optimize performance in ultra-endurance events.


The good, the bad, and the biased: Five ways visualizations can mislead (and how to fix them)

ACM Interactions magazine; Danielle Szafir from

“This article reviews common visualization practices that may inhibit effective analysis, why these designs are problematic, and how to avoid them. The discussion illustrates a need to better understand how visualizations can support flexible and accurate data analysis while mitigating potential sources of bias.”


Less money mo problems

21st Club Limited, Omar Chaudhuri from

When Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo, there probably wasn’t much for their directors to deliberate over. There are only a handful of strikers in world football that could improve their team, and even fewer who could expand their commercial potential. As one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, the search needn’t have been far and wide.

For the vast majority of clubs though, there are a huge number of players out there that could improve their team. Stade Rennais, for example, are the world’s 107th best team according to our World Super League. We estimate that are about 2500 players globally that they could realistically target that could improve their squad – many playing for better teams, but many of the best players from worse teams, too.

Stade Rennais, however, have a budget that is about eight times smaller than Juventus’. In other words, not only only do they have a much bigger pool to sift through, they have a much smaller budget with which to do it.


Manchester United continue to lead way in developing Premier League talent

Football Paradise blog from

Manchester United remain the leading developers of Premier League talent – but the gap is closing.

Football Paradise’s research shows players who finished their youth careers in the United academy played 32,157 minutes in last season’s top flight.

That is nearly 10,000 minutes (or 44 per cent) clear of Tottenham, ranked second in the study for the second year running – but it represents a significant step down from the previous season, when United’s graduates racked up over 44,000 minutes to more than double Spurs’ tally.


Uncommon Points from Weighted Ball Research

Driveline Baseball, Michael O’Connell from

Previously, we’ve discussed various updates on weighted-ball research: both on biomechanical findings from ASMI and from a variety of long-term training programs.

More research is a good thing, and as we look back on what we think we know, there are some interesting points that are not often discussed but important to consider.


As it exists now, are professional hitters really being best served by batting practice?

Baseball Census, Bobby DeMuro from

… But aside from those specific situations, I have yet to see an organization trot out true ‘practice squad’ pitchers to go full-tilt and throw live each afternoon; Bishop hadn’t seen it, either. But the idea got us both thinking — and it, along with a tweet, gave me the idea to go around and ask a few hitting prospects from multiple organizations about whether they were being best served by batting practice as it currently stands, or if they expected (or wanted) a more game-like simulation. As you might expect, the responses are interesting — and somewhat varied.


How to Be a Smart Consumer of Social Science Research

Harvard Business Review, Eva Vivalt from

Academic studies in the social sciences often find very different results. Even in disciplines like medicine, where one might imagine there to be a direct, physical relationship between the intervention being tested and its consequences, results can vary — but many think the situation is worse in the social sciences. This is because the relationship between an intervention and its effects may depend on multiple factors, and differences in context or implementation can have a large impact on the studies’ results.

There are other reasons that studies might report different effects. For one, chance errors could affect a study’s results. Researchers may also consciously or subconsciously bias their results. All these sources of variability have led to fears of a “replication crisis” in psychology and other social sciences relevant to business. Given this variability, how should we consume evidence?

The immediate answer is to not rely too much on any one study. Whenever possible, look for meta-analyses or systematic reviews that synthesize results from many studies, as they can provide more-credible evidence and sometimes suggest reasons why results differ.

When considering how much weight to give a study and its results, pay attention to its sample size.


[OC] The evolution of Major League Baseball, tracked through 9 key statistics/metrics from 1871 to 2015. Selected players identified where notable. from


The (updated) math of transition defense

Nylon Calculus blog, Joseph Nation from

Transition possessions are some of the most efficient in basketball. What causes one team to be better than another at preventing them?

A lot of work has been done historically on the relationship between offensive rebounding and transition defense. Our own Seth Partnow had an article which established, among other things, that merely positioning a player near the ball for a chance at an offensive rebound increases the efficiency of the other team in transition on the subsequent possession. Kevin Ferrigan, when he did the regression for Daily RAPM Estimate, found that if he split out offensive rebounds, they didn’t come out as statistically significant, and one of the proposed reasons was the decline in transition defense. Even as a general trend across the NBA, offensive rebounding rates have cratered and the 46 best defensive rebounding teams ever have all happened within the last ten years.

But that study was two years ago, and the available data has changed. Seth had access to older SportVU positioning data, which is not made publicly available anymore. But he also was forced to define transition by proxy — using the time at which the shot occurred to define a transition possession. With Synergy data publicly available on, there’s access now to a more precise definition of a transition possession, and so it makes sense to readdress the topic.


Why are English managers an endangered species in the EPL?

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

England’s top-flight managers form a league of nations, as you can see from the assortment of flags in the table below.

Twelve countries are represented, from Chile to Serbia, and English bosses make up just 20% of the total. If you look at the other four major European leagues, it’s rather more… homogenous.

In Italy, a country that’s fiercely proud of its coaching traditions, there is just one foreign manager in Serie A – Spain’s Julio Velázquez at Udinese.


The Australian high performance and sport science workforce: A national profile

Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport from


The purpose of this study was to provide a profile of the demographics and employment characteristics of the Australian high performance and sport science workforce.

This study used a cross-sectional, quantitative survey methodology to collect data about the Australian high performance and sport science workforce.

175 Australian high performance and sport science employees completed an online survey which captured demographic information and work-related characteristics such as role, industry sector, income, permanence of employment and hours worked. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise information and some comparisons were made between position titles, industry sectors and sexes.

The Australian high performance and sport science workforce is predominantly male (76.0%), ≤35 years of age (50.3%), located on the eastern seaboard of Australia (69%) and have been in their current position for 2–5 years (37.4%). They are mostly employed on a fixed term contract of 2.4 years, by an institute of sport. Income varied, with those working in professional sporting clubs and/or employed as high performance managers earning the highest wage. On average, participants worked well over their contracted hours, with a considerable proportion of these hours outside the standard 9-5 working week.

Employees in the high performance and sport science workforce in Australia face significant professional issues that relate to long and unusual work hours, job insecurity and income disparity. Policy makers and the managers of this workforce should consider the impact of these issues on work-life balance, staff retention rates and the risk of burnout.


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