Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 19, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 19, 2020


Mikaela Shiffrin is the most dominant athlete on the planet and doesn’t realize it

Sports Illustrated, Greg Bishop from

No athlete in the world dominates their sport—or grapples with success—like Shiffrin, whose season of “transition” became even more challenging with the death of her father


Orlando City defender João Moutinho enters 2020 season determined to overcome injury setbacks

Pro Soccer USA, Julia Poe from

… The streak of injuries left Moutinho feeling out of rhythm in the second half of the season. After starting 11 of the first 15 games of the season, the defender saw the field only four more times following his initial injury at the start of June.

Determined to prevent injuries in the 2020 season, Moutinho stayed in Orlando for most of the offseason to focus on injury rehabilitation and strength training.

“Obviously, it’s something that no athlete wants to go through,” Moutinho said. “Unfortunately, it happened to me last year… I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t [affect] my confidence, but you gotta push through it.”


England must not see SheBelieves Cup as Team GB audition, says Phil Neville

The Guardian, Suzanne Wrack from

Phil Neville has told his England squad for the SheBelieves Cup to put out of their minds the idea that the mini-tournament is an audition for TeamGB at the Tokyo Olympics.

“We can’t go to the SheBelieves and start talking about the development for the Olympics when there are 10, 15 or 20 players that can go to the Olympics who are not even there,” the manager said. “This is an England camp, we’ve got another England camp in April and we are focusing on it being an England camp. The work being done for the Olympics is being done outside of camps.”



Barca Innovation Hub, Carlos Lago Peñas from

Almost 25 years ago Paco Seirul·lo advocated the need for adaptation of high training loads with a parallel preparation to improve physical and technical abilities for elite athlete.1 These new stimuli were defined as coadjuvant training.

In a recent publication,2 technical staff members from FC Barcelona, have tried to reorganize the initial Seirul·lo proposition. Apart from the Optimizing Training (OT), which takes care of preparing players to compete, there is an additional preparation that tries to prepare the player to train. That is Coadjuvant Training. (CT). The high demands an athlete is subjected to, make necessary to develop a parallel training which facilitates and contributes to their wellbeing to support loads which will enhance their performance. Limited individualized training of players might be an obstacle to reach the best condition to compete. In this scenario, we are talking about the collective condition and the individual condition in team sports3, or in other words, the collective and individual load, if preferred. A player’s best condition is reached with a continued self-optimization of all systems which configure his or her sports life. Its output is manifested with a continued and uninterrupted improvement of his performance within the team. The best condition in regard to the rest of teammates can only be reached if there is a homogenous individual condition for all team members. It is possible that the individual condition is not the optimal one for all athletes, but it is the necessary one to collaborate individually in a collective game.


Half Moon Bay High basketball team uses yoga to reduce injuries, teach

USA Today Sports, Aspen Institute, Erik Brady from

… Yoga teacher Amy Outman urges them, at various points, to stretch, breathe, and even relax to the point of sleep. The idea, she says, is to promote strength and flexibility, encourage concentration and relaxation, and nurture the body and soul.

Twenty hours later, Half Moon Bay beats South City 79-43. The Cougars lead 22-8 after one quarter, 48-21 after two, and 67-32 after three. Third-stringers play a feel-good fourth quarter in which special-needs student Coleman Syme banks in a free throw, his first varsity point, all while the starters and second-stringers whoop and holler on the bench.


Sprint versus isolated eccentric training: Comparative effects on hamstring architecture and performance in soccer players

PLOS One; Pedro Jiménez-Reyes et al. from


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of hamstring eccentric (NHE) strength training versus sprint training programmed as complements to regular soccer practice, on sprint performance and its mechanical underpinnings, as well as biceps femoris long head (BFlh) architecture.

In this prospective interventional control study, sprint performance, sprint mechanics and BFlh architecture variables were compared before versus after six weeks of training during the first six preseason weeks, and between three different random match-pair groups of soccer players: “Soccer group” (n = 10), “Nordic group” (n = 12) and “Sprint group” (n = 10).

For sprint performance and mechanics, small to large pre-post improvements were reported in “Sprint group” (except maximal running velocity), whereas only trivial to small negative changes were reported in “Soccer group” and “Nordic group”. For BFlh architecture variables, “Sprint” group showed moderate increase in fascicle length compared to smaller augment for the “Nordic” group with trivial changes for “Soccer group”. Only “Nordic” group presented small increases at pennation angle.

The results suggest that sprint training was superior to NHE in order to increase BFlh fascicle length although only the sprint training was able to both provide a preventive stimulus (increase fascicle length) and at the same time improve both sprint performance and mechanics. Further studies with advanced imaging techniques are needed to confirm the validity of the findings. [full text]


Exercise enhances skeletal muscle regeneration by promoting senescence in fibro-adipogenic progenitors

Nature Communications journal; Yuki Saito, Takako S. Chikenji, Takashi Matsumura, Masako Nakano & Mineko Fujimiya from

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies cause progressive muscle weakness and degeneration. Since high-dose glucocorticoids might not lead to full recovery of muscle function, physical exercise is also an important intervention, but some exercises exacerbate chronic inflammation and muscle fibrosis. It is unknown how physical exercise can have both beneficial and detrimental effects in chronic myopathy. Here we show that senescence of fibro-adipogenic progenitors (FAPs) in response to exercise-induced muscle damage is needed to establish a state of regenerative inflammation that induces muscle regeneration. In chronic inflammatory myopathy model mice, exercise does not promote FAP senescence or resistance against tumor necrosis factor–mediated apoptosis. Pro-senescent intervention combining exercise and pharmacological AMPK activation reverses FAP apoptosis resistance and improves muscle function and regeneration. Our results demonstrate that the absence of FAP senescence after exercise leads to muscle degeneration with FAP accumulation. FAP-targeted pro-senescent interventions with exercise and pharmacological AMPK activation may constitute a therapeutic strategy for chronic inflammatory myopathy. [full text]


The influence of baseball pitching distance on pitching biomechanics, pitch velocity, and ball movement. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport from


To determine whether increasing pitching distance for adult baseball pitchers would affect their upper extremity kinetics, full-body kinematics, and pitched ball kinematics (ball velocity, duration of ball flight, vertical and horizontal break, strike percentage).

Controlled laboratory study.

Twenty-six collegiate baseball pitchers threw sets of five full-effort fastballs from three different pitching distances (18.44m, 19.05m, 19.41m) in a randomized order. Ball velocity, horizontal and vertical break, duration of ball flight, and strike percentage were computed by a ball tracking system, while pitching kinetics and kinematics were calculated with a 12-camera optical motion capture system. Repeated measures analysis of variance was utilized to detect significant differences among the three different pitching distances (p<0.05). RESULTS:

No significant differences in pitching kinetics and kinematics were observed among the varying pitching distances. Ball velocity and strike percentage were also not significantly different among the pitching distances, however, the duration of ball flight and horizontal and vertical break significantly increased with pitching distance.

Increasing pitching distance may not alter upper extremity kinetics, full-body kinematics, ball velocity or strike percentage in adult pitchers. However, as pitching distance increases the duration of ball flight and amount of horizontal and vertical break also increase. Increased ball flight duration could be an advantage for the hitter while increased ball break could help the pitcher. In conclusion, it is unlikely that moving the mound backwards would significantly affect pitching biomechanics and injury risk; however, the effects on pitching and hitting performance are unknown.


Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC Joins the Sport Innovation Alliance to Expand Reach to Four Continents

Bullpen (AU) from

Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC (LAFC) has become the 11th member of the Sport Innovation Alliance, a global alliance of football clubs who are joined in unison to tackle problems with clubs having limited access to innovative technologies to undertake their own digital transformations.

With LAFC’s entrance, the Alliance now has reach into North America and an advanced Alliance partner at the centre of sports technology innovation.

Founded in 2019 by Juan Iraola, Real Sociedad’s Head of Digital Innovation, along with Ryan McCumber, founder of and Roberto Schuitemaker, Senior General Manager at GlobalTMS, the goal of the Alliance is to explore the possibilities a collaborative mindset can bring to football clubs as partnerships between tech suppliers and clubs are shared across borders.


The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is a collaboration between working group: Shimmer, Nextbridge Health, @vtvanhees, @Sagebio, and @_DiMeSocietyCheck out our website!

Twitter, ShimmerSensing from

The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is a collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing of algorithms and data sets.

OWEAR will serve as a community hub for the indexing and distribution of open source algorithms. To identify performant algorithms in areas of high interest, OWEAR will act as a neutral broker to conduct formal and objective benchmarking of algorithms in selected domains.


This app is going to help the NBA find the next Giannis Antetokounmpo

Fast Company, Jeff Beer from

Names such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, and Luka Doncic may be household ones to hoops fans today, but the logistics of finding the best prospects around the world—whether in Greece, Cameroon, or Slovenia—have remained as arduous and time-intensive as ever. The chances of the next great international superstar being discovered are still too heavily weighted toward luck and opportunity. That could be about to change.

On Friday at the NBA All-Star Tech Summit, the league unveiled NBA Global Scout, a mobile, AI-powered app that allows players from India to Indiana, China to Chi-town, Senegal to San Diego to record their measurements—such as wingspan, height, vertical leap, and agility—then build and show off their skills through development drills created to help NBA scouts evaluate their on-court proficiencies.

NBA chief innovation officer Amy Brooks says this is a tool to help democratize the process of trying to be an elite basketball player. “We see the possibilities here as essentially creating the LinkedIn for elite basketball,” says Brooks.


This Simple Calculation Can Help Prevent Youth Sports Injuries

inCourage, Playbook blog, Jennifer J. Beck from

… Dr. Eric Post is the co-author of a recent report that connects specific sports and gender to overuse injuries. A member of PRiSM, a research organization that specializes in multispecialty research in pediatric sports medicine, he said parents should be aware of the risks of specialization in particular sports as well as the amount of time their child is participating in that sport.

“Some easy recommendations to keep in mind would be no more than eight months per year in a single sport, and no more hours per week than the athlete’s age in all organized sports,” he said.

So, for example, a 16-year-old should participate in organized sports no more than 16 hours per week, and a 10-year-old should only play 10 hours per week. These guidelines should be adhered to whatever sports your child plays. The total time should include practices and games.


Challenging Nostalgia and Performance Metrics in Baseball

American Statistical Association, CHANCE magazine, Daniel J. Eck from

It is easy to be blown away by the accomplishments of great old-time baseball players when you look at their raw or advanced baseball statistics. These players produced mind-boggling numbers. For example, see Babe Ruth’s batting average and pitching numbers, Ty Cobb’s 1911 season, Walter Johnson’s 1913 season, Tris Speaker’s 1916 season, Rogers Hornsby’s 1925 season, and Lou Gehrig’s 1931 season. The statistical feats achieved by these players (and others) far surpass the statistics that recent and current players produce.

At first glance, it seems that players from the old eras were vastly superior to the players in more modern eras, but is this true? This article investigates whether baseball players from earlier eras of professional baseball are over-represented among the game’s all-time greatest players according to popular opinion, performance metrics, and expert opinion.

Baseball players from “earlier eras” are defined as those who started their Major League Baseball (MLB) careers in the 1950 season or before because it coincides with the decennial U.S. Census and is close to 1947, the year in which baseball became integrated.


How a championship coaching staff works

Yahoo Sports, Seerat Sohi from

… Once upon a time, Nate Bjorkgren was a walk-on at the University of South Dakota, where Nurse was an assistant. Thirteen years later, he hassled Nurse until he let Bjorkgren join the then-Iowa Energy of the D-League as a volunteer assistant. Bjorkgren eventually made the payroll, and they won a title together, cementing a bond that’s turned Bjorkgren into the in-game Nurse whisperer. He is infectiously positive, always seeing the pathway to a comeback, and he has enough leeway to get on his boss. “When I’m constantly saying we’re in trouble, we ain’t got it, we’re not moving, what’s wrong with us? Blah, blah, blah,” Nurse said. “I get those out and he’s got me back on track. He might say, ‘Do something then! Change defenses or something!’”

From there, Nurse might tinker with one of assistant coach Adrian Griffin’s defensive sets. “I think the one thing that’s special about Coach Nurse, from working with him, is that he always enhances what you bring to him,” Griffin said during the NBA Finals. “We all have thoughts and they’re always good, [but] he seems to make them great.” He is the only former NBA player among the core assistants, the survivor turned lifer who has seen it all as a coach and a player, making hay on defense and wrangling mercurial players.


Where to find the next Mbappé

21st Club, Omar Chaudhuri from

Young talent has never been in such high demand. Transfer price inflation for under-21s is over 50% higher than for peak-age players. The more and more clubs look to identify players at source – before they’ve made a mark in senior football – the more and more important it is to understand the dynamics of the market from which we’re recruiting.


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