Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 22, 2018

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 22, 2018


The Curious Case of Diana Taurasi: Inside Diana’s Resurgence

WNBA from

We all know the standard professional basketball career arc. After entering the league as a rookie, the player will steadily improve as his or her game develops and adapt to the new level of competition; the player will reach his or her prime as physical abilities and mental acumen for the game reach their peak, before a steady decline begins as the player ages, loses some of their physical tools, deals with injuries and eventually retires.

When I say “we” all know about that career arc, that “we” does not include Diana Taurasi, who is defying the standard career trajectory in her 14th WNBA season at the age of 36.


Texans’ Deshaun Watson knows he can return from injury stronger than ever, NFL, Greg Bishop from

The Texans’ QB has been here before. He begins as a backup, takes over the starting job, puts up insane numbers—and then he tears an ACL. Think he won’t pick up where he left off? Think again.


Chiefs’ RT Mitch Schwartz Part of the First-Ever “OL Masterminds” Summit This Offseason

Kansas City Chiefs, BJ Kissel from

Each year, some of the NFL’s best pass rushers all get together in the offseason for the Von Miller Pass-Rushing Summit, which this year took place at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri.

It’s been a widely documented and promoted event. The players who attend, both current and former, all share tips with one another on how to improve their craft.

Then, it was less than a year ago that Duke Manyweather—a consultant and offensive line trainer who lives down in Dallas, Texas—was watching television and saw one of his former clients—the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lane Johnson—speaking on NFL Network as part of the NFL’s Top 100 series.

Johnson made a comment during the show about how all the pass rushers get together every year and that it was something that offensive linemen should do, too.


The two key changes Maurizio Sarri has implemented at Chelsea to help the team prepare for games –, Avinash Bhunjun from

… The former Napoli manager has relaxed two of the former Italy boss’ old rules which involved nutrition and pre-match preparation.

According to the the Telegraph, the players are now able to enjoy a wide range of food choices in the training ground canteen and also in hotels when on the road.

Conte was said to be meticulous about how the players prepared for games meaning that they had limited choice when it came to eating.

Furthermore, the Blues will now not be required to spend the night at a hotel with their team-mates before games.


Watched the Man City Amazon series last night. Really well done. Big takeaway for me…Beneath the genius, Pep deals with many of the same problems all coaches do: tired players, disengagement, playing time issues, defeats, injuries, etc….

Twitter, Gary Curneen from

How he operates around those common issues is so really impressive. Energy levels and body language seem to be so intentional. Every meeting is a performance and every interaction with players or staff, he gives himself emotionally to.


Tired Brains See the World in a Very Different Way

Elysium Health, Endpoints blog from

Our schedules are literally killing us. We asked neuroscientist Russell Foster what sleeplessness does to your brain, and he offers his personal tips on how to get back on track.


The thrill of winning and the teenage brain

BOLD Blog on Learning & Development, Meeri Kim from

A new study by Berna Güroğlu and her colleagues tracked changes in the adolescent brain to discover the motivation behind novelty seeking.

Adolescents have a strong tendency to seek out new and exciting experiences — a trait called novelty seeking — which can serve as a double-edged sword. Novelty seeking can lead to increased risk-taking behavior such as substance abuse or reckless driving, but it also remains the cornerstone of normal explorative behavior and learning.

One of the driving factors behind this urge for adventure during adolescence is a developmental change in how the brain responds to rewards. The teenage brain has a heightened response to novel stimuli, which leads these individuals to seek out more new and possibly risky experiences.


The Technological Revolution Has Finally Hit the NFL—and the Vikings Are Ready

The Ringer, Kevin Clark from

What happens when an NFL team stops using magnets on its draft board? Minnesota GM Rick Spielman tells us about the Vikings’ embrace of touch screens and data.


Project Tesserae Powered by Garmin

Garmin Blog from

Project Tesserae is a multi-university research project involving researchers from the University of Notre Dame, University of California, Irvine, Georgia Tech, Dartmouth College, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin and The Ohio State University. The project is an extensive $7.9 million, 21-month study focused on working professionals in cognitively demanding, high-stress occupations, such as engineers, programmers and managers. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is funding the study.

Participants wear a Garmin vívosmart 3 paired with a smartphone application to automatically log metrics such as heart rate, sleep, stress and physical activity. Researchers will combine this data with information gathered from environmental sensors – such as ambient noise, light level and temperature – to model the mental state, behavior and social interaction of diverse cohorts in their workplaces and homes across an entire year.


Indy Launches Techstars SportsTech Accelerator

Indiana Sports Corp from

Six of central Indiana’s largest sports organizations, along with the state’s Next Level Fund, are partnering to launch Techstars’ first sports technology initiative in Indianapolis. Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and the SportsTech founding partners Next Level Fund, Indiana Sports Corp, NCAA and Pacers Sports & Entertainment and supporting partners the Indianapolis Colts, Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are joining together to bring a new mentorship-driven accelerator program to Indianapolis: Techstars SportsTech Accelerator Powered by Indy.

“Indiana’s emerging tech industry and our great sports reputation have combined to attract this terrific opportunity for sports entrepreneurs,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “I’m proud that we are putting the Next Level Fund to use in such an innovative way.”


Nvidia Team Up With Cambridge Spin-Out To Create ‘Broadband’ For The Body

Forbes, Gemma Milne from

Cambridge University spin-out Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems (CBAS), has partnered with Nvidia to bring AI-powered edge-computing to the most powerful communication network: the nervous system.

CBAS – cofounded by computational neuroscience researcher Emil Hewage and bioengineer Oliver Armitage – is on a mission to create the broadband connection for the body. They are making neural interfaces which allow external devices to communicate directly with the body’s own internal internet: the nervous system is the biological communications network, and CBAS is bringing it online. The idea is that if we can directly listen and talk directly to the place where some adverse events happen – in the nervous system – we can manage chronic diseases at the root like never before.


[1808.05942] Neural Body Fitting: Unifying Deep Learning and Model-Based Human Pose and Shape Estimation

arXiv, Computer Science > Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition; Mohamed Omran, Christoph Lassner, Gerard Pons-Moll, Peter V. Gehler, Bernt Schiele from

Direct prediction of 3D body pose and shape remains a challenge even for highly parameterized deep learning models. Mapping from the 2D image space to the prediction space is difficult: perspective ambiguities make the loss function noisy and training data is scarce. In this paper, we propose a novel approach (Neural Body Fitting (NBF)). It integrates a statistical body model within a CNN, leveraging reliable bottom-up semantic body part segmentation and robust top-down body model constraints. NBF is fully differentiable and can be trained using 2D and 3D annotations. In detailed experiments, we analyze how the components of our model affect performance, especially the use of part segmentations as an explicit intermediate representation, and present a robust, efficiently trainable framework for 3D human pose estimation from 2D images with competitive results on standard benchmarks. Code will be made available at this http URL


A “GPS for inside your body”

MIT News, CSAIL from

Investigating inside the human body often requires cutting open a patient or swallowing long tubes with built-in cameras. But what if physicians could get a better glimpse in a less expensive, invasive, and time-consuming manner?

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Professor Dina Katabi is working on doing exactly that with an “in-body GPS” system dubbed ReMix. The new method can pinpoint the location of ingestible implants inside the body using low-power wireless signals. These implants could be used as tiny tracking devices on shifting tumors to help monitor their slight movements.

In animal tests, the team demonstrated that they can track the implants with centimeter-level accuracy. The team says that, one day, similar implants could be used to deliver drugs to specific regions in the body.


The Manager’s Perspective: Lance Parrish on Embracing Opportunities

FanGraphs Baseball, David Laurila from

Lance Parrish embraces the opportunity to help young players chase their dreams, and he’s doing so in the organization where he made six of his eight All-Star appearances. The 62-year-old former catcher manages the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Low-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. Parrish broke into the big leagues with Detroit — the Motown home of Aretha Franklin — and went on to play for 19 seasons.

Parrish joined the coaching ranks shortly after hanging up his shinguards, and he became a minor-league manager soon thereafter. As fate would have it, he later found himself on the outside looking in, wondering if he’d ever get back in the game. He was skeptical that would happen, but then the Tigers came calling. He couldn’t be happier.


Keeping time in MLS

US Soccer Players from

… What does a 107 minute regular season soccer game accomplish? It breaks the broadcast window for one. Listen to mainstream sports voices, and one of the things they immediately get about pro soccer is it’s a two hour commitment. There’s no chance at a game going going going long like we see in the other North American pro sports.

Soccer doesn’t work that way. Well, at least until officials decided to account for every second of every minute played. This is its own version of a disruption, with the expectation that the game won’t stop after a couple of minutes of first-half extra time and the expected four minutes tacked on at the end. What was a strength now isn’t, at least where VAR has taken hold.

It was 88 degrees when that game kicked off on Saturday night in Houston, raising another problem that is gaining attention in some quarters. It’s asking a lot of pro soccer players to play as many games as they do. It’s not the league seasons. The first time MLS expanded, they played 32 games. 20 years later and with 11 additional teams, the regular season is now 34 games. A home-and-away league with 20 teams plays 38 games. It’s everything else. It’s friendlies, regional tournaments, and the other obligations that adds onto the schedule.


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