Applied Sports Science newsletter – March 5, 2019

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for March 5, 2019


Nick Foles Is This Season’s Top QB Free Agent, But He Comes With Plenty of Risk, NFL, Conor Orr from

Foles is the best quarterback available on the market this season, but he comes with questions—notably, is his up-and-down career trajectory a product of his coaching or of his game?


Runner Adam Campbell’s Incredible Fall and Rewarding Recovery

Garmin from

In 2016, Adam Campbell, one of the top mountain ultrarunners in the world, was seriously injured during a 200’ fall while attempting the Horseshoe Traverse in the Canadian Rockies. Campbell had an inReach® satellite communicator with him that day, and, following his rescue, he faced months of difficult recovery. Campbell’s return to sport was documented in the short film, “In Constant Motion.” In his own words, he shared with Garmin the details of that fall and the journey to regain his strength.


2019 NFL Combine: Incredibly Strong D.K. Metcalf Has Incredibly Fast 40 Time

The Ringer, Danny Heifetz from

The former Ole Miss wideout and ex-teammate A.J. Brown continued their tear through Indianapolis on Saturday. Plus, we may be getting some clarity regarding Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.


There’s a Complex Connection Between Exercise and Anger

Outside Online, Alex Hutchinson from

In my house, it’s well understood that missed runs and snippy exchanges are causally related. That may seem obvious—after all, there are big piles of evidence about exercise’s mood-altering power to reduce feelings like anxiety and depression. But, as a new study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise points out, there has been very little research on the links between exercise and anger. And that makes me very, very angry. (I’ve been injured and unable to run for a few weeks.)

Researchers at the University of Georgia decided to address this gap by showing a series of “emotionally evocative” pictures—soldiers firing at children, a Ku Klux Klan rally—to volunteers before and after a 30-minute “moderate-to-vigorous” bike ride (or, in the control condition, 30 minutes of sitting quietly). They assessed their volunteers’ anger levels with questionnaires and by measuring brain activity with EEG electrodes. The results are more nuanced than I expected.


How change happens

Behavioural Public Policy Blog, Cass Sunstein from

… How does social change happen? One answer points to the role of social norms, which can be both powerful (in the sense that they greatly affect behavior) and fragile (in the sense that they can collapse in a short time). If norms lead people to silence themselves, a status quo can persist — even if some or many people hate it, and even if those who seem to support it are actually pretty indifferent to it. One day, someone challenges the norm. Maybe it’s a child who says that the Emperor has no clothes. Maybe it’s a guy who lives by himself, up on a hill. After that small challenge, others may begin to say what they think. Once that happens, a drip can become a flood.

Most of us live, at least some of the time, in accordance with norms that we dislike or perhaps abhor. We might not think about them; they are part of life’s furniture. But in our heart of hearts, we dislike or abhor them. The problem is that none of us can change a norm on our own. To be sure, we can defy a norm, but defiance comes at a cost, and it may end up entrenching rather than undermining existing norms. What is needed is some kind of movement, initiated by people who say that they disapprove the norm, and succeeding when some kind of tipping point is reached, by which time it is socially costless, and maybe beneficial, and maybe even mandatory, to say: Me Too. (


These Are The Pre-match Emotional Control Strategies That Higher-ranked Table Tennis Players Use More Than Lower-ranked Players

The British Psychological Society, Research Digest, Christian Jarrett from

In contact sports like boxing and rugby you can use your pre-match nerves to fuel your determination, speed and aggression. In contrast, in a sport like table tennis that involves fine motor control, nerves can also stifle your performance, making you stiff and clumsy. It seems obvious that learning to control your emotions prior to games should therefore be important to table tennis players (and competitors in other sports that require precision). Yet, surprisingly, as the authors of a new paper in the Journal of Personality point out, “to date, only a few studies have investigated the relation between emotional regulation and … sport performance”.

To find out more, Jeanette Kubiak and her colleagues, at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, surveyed hundreds of league table tennis players in Germany about the ways they controlled their emotions prior to matches, and then compared these results against objective measures of the participants’ league performance. The research uncovered several emotional control strategies used more often by better and improving players. “Taken together, the findings provide evidence for the importance of emotion regulation regarding sport performance,” the researchers said.


Julian Nagelsmann: The Hoffenheim coach revolutionising training with technology

Bundesliga, FOX Sports from

… Made famous by Borussia Dortmund in 2012, Hoffenheim brought the Footbonaut system in two years later, with Qatar’s Aspire Academy the only other facility in the world to make use of the 14-metre robotic passing cage that has been widely credited for helping Mario Gotze firing Germany to FIFA World Cup glory in 2014.

Nagelsmann & Co. haven’t stopped there and in the summer of 2017, the club erected a 6×3-metre screen on the halfway line of their training ground’s main pitch that – with the aid of four cameras – allows Nagelsmann and his staff to provide live feedback.

The feed from the cameras – two positioned in a tower, high above the halfway line and one behind each goal – can be shown on the screen at any time and are controlled by the training staff, who are able to stop, rewind or fast-forward footage.


Wearable sensors designed for premature babies could make us all healthier

Popular Science, Claire Maldarelli from

… Because the equipment is crucial, doctors and parents have to make do, often forgoing some of that essential time. But a team of researchers at Northwestern University recently created small, sticker-like wireless biosensors that monitor necessary vital signs—all without large equipment and wiring. So far, they’ve tested the devices on a group of premature babies at the Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who wore the new stickers alongside traditional wiring. Their results, published this week in the journal Science, show that these stickers might not just be useful in premature babies, but adults as well. And with easier access to vital signs via these stick-ons, doctors may be able to glean more key information than ever before.


3D Printing Is Changing the Footwear Game

Lower Extremity Review Magazine, Keith Loria and Janice T. Radak from

… “We have definitely left the ‘in the future’ stage,” said Blake D. Norquist , president and chief executive officer at Norquist Medical, PLLC, which introduced 3D-printed orthotics in 2014. “It’s pretty clear we’re still in the ‘innovators’ stage, but I believe we are at the brink of the ‘early adopters’ stage and that we will see a lot of foot experts stepping into 3D-print solutions in the next 2 years.”

“While 3D-printing technology has continued to grow in its popularity and utilization, we are only scratching the surface of what is possible,” said John Stimpson, president of Cryos Technologies, Inc. Cryos expects to be fully 3D in its partner clinics and labs by the end of 2019. Stimpson notes that Cryos only produces orthotics directly from its scanning technology system.

The key to success, according to Norquist and Stimpson, is the evolution to a completely digitized workflow that captures objective patient data and seamlessly transfers it to the manufacturing process. The simplified digital process appeals to clinicians and manufacturers, whereas individualized patient data allow for truly custom fit footwear.


A 360-degree tour of Adidas’s Future Lab in Germany

Fast Company, Cale Guthrie Weissman from

Athletes around the world turn to Adidas for world-class products. Whether it’s for shoes, pants, or anything else, the German-based company agonizes over how to make everything look, feel, and perform the best.

To stay ahead of the curve, Adidas built its own innovation lab, which it named Future Lab. There, the company simulates all aspects of athleticism–be it a runner running or a soccer player kicking a ball. The company analyzes both how athletes perform, as well as how the items themselves hold up. This helps Adidas perfect the products it makes, as well as come up with new ideas for the future.


Prince William: Football’s mental health approach a ‘dereliction of duty’

CNN, Nick Friend from

The Duke of Cambridge, who is the English Football Association’s President, has criticized professional clubs in England, accusing them of failing to take the mental health of their players seriously.

Speaking during a trip to Northern Ireland, where he visited the country’s Windsor Park national stadium, Prince William described the sport’s failure to fight the issue as a “dereliction of duty.”

He pointed to clubs’ willingness to move players on without regard should they fail to make the grade, without considering the adverse effects the treatment could have on their individual well-being, leaving them without the necessary support to move on with their lives.

“Some of these clubs don’t do anything about mental health,” Prince William said. “They pick a player up, he plays football, ‘no good,’ move on.


Elite sport is gradually waking up to widespread mental health issues

The Guardian, Sean Ingle from

Administrators are arriving at a better understanding of the extent of anxiety and depression among top sportspeople and a finger is pointing at social media


How Much Does the Combine Reveal About Future NFL Players?

Inside Science, Marcus Woo from

… Researchers led by sports statistician Masaru Teramoto at the University of Utah used a different approach that enabled them to better determine exactly which combine event has more predictive power. Their 2016 study found that the time over the first 10 yards of the 40-yard-dash was the most predictive of a running back’s rushing yards per attempt. For a wide receiver, the factor that most predicted success was simply his height. His leaping ability was also important, as the higher he could jump, the more receiving yards he would gain — a reasonable link, since receivers often have to leap over defenders to catch the ball.

Most recently, in perhaps the most comprehensive study to date, sports scientists Lisa Vincent, Bryan Blissmer and Disa Hatfield of the University of Rhode Island analyzed the predictive power of the combine not just for wide receivers and running backs, but also for quarterbacks, defensive ends, defensive tackles and linebackers.

Their analysis, published in January in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, used an approach similar to Teramoto’s study, but didn’t look at the bench press or three-cone drill, which is similar to the shuttle drill in evaluating agility. The bench press, Hatfield said, isn’t relevant for football.


We Got Our Hands on 73,000 Never-Before-Seen MLB Scouting Reports. Here’s What We Learned.

The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur from

All this week, The Ringer will break down its findings from the massive database of reports spanning 1991 to 2003 given to us by a former member of the Cincinnati Reds front office. First up, we run the numbers on how well the scouts did in projecting players’ success and what some of their work tells us about where the sport was and where it is now.


We’re about to start the OptaPro #SSAC19 Soccer Analytics Panel, featuring EVP OptaPro @BenMackriell.

Twitter, OptaPro from

We’ll be tweeting live updates from the session. Stateside.


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