Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 16, 2019

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 16, 2019


Making the Leap: 24 reasons why Browns’ Nick Chubb will shine, Gregg Rosenthal from

Nick Chubb wears the No. 24 jersey. He turns 24 years old in 2019. With that tenuous connection established, here are 24 reasons why the sneaky-amazing Cleveland Browns running back should be getting more attention entering his second season:

< 1) The scouting report on Chubb was all wrong. Chubb was supposed to be a grinder. The pre-draft chatter on the Georgia product stated that he'd get 4 yards if 4 yards were blocked for him. But the combination of his vaunted power and ability to make people miss allowed him to lead all running backs in Pro Football Focus’ “elusiveness” rating in 2018. Free defenders struggled to take him down in the open field and his sharp cuts created space to run. The Browns’ run-blocking last season was decidedly average, so Chubb’s success was independent of that.


Serena Williams hasn’t lost focus — she’s gained perspective

ESPN Tennis, Alyssa Roenigk from

… Since Williams returned to tennis from maternity leave in March of last year, she is the only woman on tour to advance to three Grand Slam finals in that time. As her platform has grown along with her fan base, she has elevated conversations around maternity leave on the WTA Tour, supported African American women in business and launched a direct-to-consumer fashion brand that celebrates diversity. Williams has asserted throughout her career that diving headfirst into interests outside her sport fuels her tennis and fulfills her desire to grow as a person as well as a player.

She is still here, still hungry for more, still competing and carrying the sport on her shoulders — largely because the “peripheral things” have kept her from burning out on the 24/7 nature of tennis. And because she continues to succeed on the court, she has an enormous platform from which she trumpets causes she is passionate about.

That doesn’t sound like a lack of focus. That sounds like perspective.


Novak Djokovic says self-belief was the key to his Wimbledon title | Sport | The Guardian

The Guardian, Sean Ingle from

Novak Djokovic called his Wimbledon final victory over Roger Federer “the most mentally demanding match of his career” after finding a way to overcome his opponent and a Centre Court crowd that was overwhelmingly against him.

The Serb came through 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) after four hours and 57 minutes of play, having had to survive two championship points in the fifth set, but insisted he had never lost his self-belief.

“I had the most physically demanding match against Rafael Nadal in the finals of Australia that went almost six hours,” he said. “But mentally this was different level, because of everything. I was one shot away from losing the match, as well. This match had everything. It could have gone easily his way. He was serving extremely well, I thought, the entire match. I had a lot of difficulties to read his serve.


Brandon Clarke takes alternative route to NBA’s Grizzlies

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sam Gordon from

… “Brandon is an older guy, he knows how to play, high energy, makes plays,” said NBA wing turned Memphis executive Tayshaun Prince, who played from 2002 to 2016. “He makes game-winning plays. And young guys that are coming into this league, when you want to get minutes right away, you got to be able to affect the game in different ways than just putting the ball in the basket and we feel that he can do that.”

Clarke, born in Vancouver, Canada, and raised in the Phoenix area, was sparsely recruited out of high school before accepting a scholarship to play in the Mountain West Conference at San Jose State, for which he played for two years.

He averaged 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds as a freshman in 2015-16 and 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds as a sophomore, garnering First-Team All-Mountain West honors, Mountain West All-Defensive Team honors — and prompting a transfer to Gonzaga, where he blossomed into one of the best players in the country.


How to talk to yourself in a race

Canadian Running Magazine, Anne Francis from

… A new study suggests that when the going gets tough towards the end of a race, talking to yourself as if you were another person works better than repeating affirmations or mantras that start with “I.” In other words, though they may sounds pretty similar, “You can do it” or “You’ve got this” makes us faster than the “I” version of these affirmations.


How a Runner Can Build a Huge Aerobic Base

PodiumRunner, Jason Fitzgerald from

… “Priority number one is to gradually but steadily increase your running mileage,” says Brad Hudson, coach to many elites and author of Run Faster. “Other priorities of the introductory period include establishing a foundation of neuromuscular fitness with very small doses of maximal-intensity running and beginning the long process of developing efficiency and fatigue-resistance at race pace with small doses of running in the race-pace range.”

Bob Kennedy, the former American record holder in the 5,000m, says, “I think that the phase of training is defined by what you are focusing on during that phase.” Kennedy explains, “There are three basic phases to a training cycle: base, strength and speed. The problem that most athletes have is that they think [the phases] are mutually exclusive. But you always do a little of all of those things. There’s never a time of year when you’re just running mileage or you’re just doing speed. You’re always doing all of it, it’s just a matter of to what degree.”


Stanford grad students develop award-winning app that streamlines U.S. Air Force training

Stanford University, Stanford News from

An interdisciplinary team of Stanford graduate students is developing an app to improve training for U.S. military personnel.

The technology – originally created to help sports teams train athletes more quickly and efficiently – is receiving rave reviews from military leaders and recently garnered the top prize at the U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored Hacking4Defense competition in San Francisco.


A large-scale field experiment shows giving advice improves academic outcomes for the advisor

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, Katherine L. Milkman, Dena M. Gromet, and Angela L. Duckworth from

Common sense suggests that people struggling to achieve their goals benefit from receiving motivational advice. What if the reverse is true? In a preregistered field experiment, we tested whether giving motivational advice raises academic achievement for the advisor. We randomly assigned n = 1,982 high school students to a treatment condition, in which they gave motivational advice (e.g., how to stop procrastinating) to younger students, or to a control condition. Advice givers earned higher report card grades in both math and a self-selected target class over an academic quarter. This psychologically wise advice-giving nudge, which has relevance for policy and practice, suggests a valuable approach to improving achievement: one that puts people in a position to give.


The validity and reliability of a novel app for the measurement of change of direction performance

Journal of Sports Sciences from

The aim of the present investigation was to analyze the validity and reliability of a novel iPhone app (CODTimer) for the measurement of total time and interlimb asymmetry in the 5 + 5 change of direction test (COD). To do so, twenty physically active adolescent athletes (age = 13.85 ± 1.34 years) performed six repetitions in the COD test while being measured with a pair of timing gates and CODTimer. A total of 120 COD times measured both with the timing gates and the app were then compared for validity and reliability purposes. There was an almost perfect correlation between the timing gates and the CODTimer app for the measurement of total time (r = 0.964; 95% Confidence interval (CI) = 0.95–1.00; Standard error of the estimate = 0.03 s.; p < 0.001). Moreover, non-significant, trivial differences were observed between devices for the measurement of total time and interlimb asymmetry (Effect size < 0.2, p > 0.05). Similar levels of reliability were observed between the timing gates and the app for the measurement of the 6 different trials of each participant (Timing gates: Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) = 0.651–0.747, Coefficient of variation (CV) = 2.6–3.5%; CODTimer: ICC = 0.671–0.840, CV = 2.2–3.2%). The results of the present study show that change of direction performance can be measured in a valid, reliable way using a novel iPhone app.


Artificial “muscles” achieve powerful pulling force

MIT News from

As a cucumber plant grows, it sprouts tightly coiled tendrils that seek out supports in order to pull the plant upward. This ensures the plant receives as much sunlight exposure as possible. Now, researchers at MIT have found a way to imitate this coiling-and-pulling mechanism to produce contracting fibers that could be used as artificial muscles for robots, prosthetic limbs, or other mechanical and biomedical applications.

While many different approaches have been used for creating artificial muscles, including hydraulic systems, servo motors, shape-memory metals, and polymers that respond to stimuli, they all have limitations, including high weight or slow response times. The new fiber-based system, by contrast, is extremely lightweight and can respond very quickly, the researchers say. The findings are being reported today in the journal Science.

The new fibers were developed by MIT postdoc Mehmet Kanik and MIT graduate student Sirma Örgüç, working with professors Polina Anikeeva, Yoel Fink, Anantha Chandrakasan, and C. Cem Taşan, and five others, using a fiber-drawing technique to combine two dissimilar polymers into a single strand of fiber.


Sportradar & PlaySight to disrupt Belgian EMBL basketball

SBC News (UK), Ted Menmuir from

A three-way tie-up is set to disrupt Belgian basketball viewership, with global sports data firm Sportradar partnering with video analytics firm PlaySight and the EuroMillions Basketball League (EMBL), Belgium’s highest level of professional basketball.

Moving forward all EMBL syndicated games and content will be produced and distributed utilising PlaySight’s Smart AI and automated production sports technology through Sportradar OTT.


A Look At Sleep Tracking Sensors

Julian Chua, Sports Technology Blog from

… The most common wearable sleep trackers are the wrist worn ones. In fact quite a number of “activity-monitoring slash steps-counting plus smart-phone connected plus GPS and heart-rate monitoring” watches (that used to just tell time), now also do sleep tracking. Think Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto and Polar; they all have devices that have sleep tracking capabilities. And let’s not forget the Apple or Samsung Watches that also allow developers to build sleep tracking apps.

They mostly work on the same principle – actigraphy or tracking movement of your wrist (using IMUs) and measuring heart rate (optically) during sleep. Algorithms will analyse the movement and heart rate data and work out whether a person wearing the watch was in deep sleep, light sleep or REM sleep.


Adam Mullan, M.D. – The role of ultrasound in a PM&R practice

YouTube, Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine from

Ultrasound is a very important clinical tool for physicians to aid in the diagnosis and evaluation of certain musculoskeletal complaints and to help assist the trajectory of the needle path for injections.


Women’s World Cup Highlights Sex Differences – In Medical Research

Forbes, Nicole Fisher from

… To date, research has found that concussions rates are similar to or higher than others for women in soccer. But thanks to a new program, called SHINE (Soccer, Head Impacts and Neurological Effects) Boston University researchers will follow former players. This is important to both Akers and Chastain, who both note that they have some memory issues – although it is unknown if they are from normal aging or the thousands of headers over their many years of play.

To better understand these headers, Dr. Bob Stern of BU has devoted much time to studying the impact of “sub-concussive trauma,” or the long-term effects of repeated head trauma. The team at BU will follow 20 former female soccer players who are 40 years and older to learn more about brain injury, degeneration, and the role that contact sport might have in athletes.


Smith — 18 NFL games not in players’ best interest

ESPN NFL, Cameron Wolfe from

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an 18-game NFL regular season unless the players’ association has a major change of heart.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith spoke with ESPN on Friday at a union-led gathering of former players to discuss a variety of topics, including negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement, the power of players using their voices and making their own economic decisions, and, of course, the topic that won’t go away: an 18-game season.


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