Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 26, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 26, 2020


USA hockey hotbed heat check: What’s the center of the American hockey universe?

ESPN NHL, Greg Wyshynski from

… The U.S. hockey universe is constantly expanding. In 1990, there were 195,125 players who were part of USA Hockey. After a record-setting 2018-19 season, that number reached 567,908 — an increase of more than 190%. The growth includes men but is especially thanks to women: In 2018-19, the number of women and girls players cracked 80,000 nationally for the first time, according to USA Hockey.

Jones has marveled at that growth.

“It’s come a long way from when I was 10 years old. I grew up playing hockey in Colorado, so it was a little bit more developed than when I moved to Dallas,” he said. “They were probably 10 years ahead of Dallas. But now I go and there are so many rinks in Dallas. The organizations are doing such a great job developing kids and giving them a chance to be on the ice constantly. There are tournaments every other weekend for them.”


Sleepmore in Seattle: Later school start times are associated with more sleep and better performance in high school students

Science Advances, Research Article, Gideon P. Dunster et al. from

Most teenagers are chronically sleep deprived. One strategy proposed to lengthen adolescent sleep is to delay secondary school start times. This would allow students to wake up later without shifting their bedtime, which is biologically determined by the circadian clock, resulting in a net increase in sleep. So far, there is no objective quantitative data showing that a single intervention such as delaying the school start time significantly increases daily sleep. The Seattle School District delayed the secondary school start time by nearly an hour. We carried out a pre-/post-research study and show that there was an increase in the daily median sleep duration of 34 min, associated with a 4.5% increase in the median grades of the students and an improvement in attendance.


U.S. Soccer Bio-Banding Benefits Coaches in Identifying Talented Players

U.S. Soccer from

… In addition to adding more teams, January’s bio-banding event had a big educational component to it with specific and tailored sessions for players, parents and coaches. “If people are going to better understand this, the education is really key,” explained Tom Hicks, U.S. Soccer’s Senior Manager of High Performance Operations. “During this event, we’ve taken time to inject some really cool, fun and simple education to the players where the idea was getting them thinking about this concept, why they’re here, why this matters for them as players.”

For parents, workshops introduced the concept of bio-banding and what U.S. soccer is trying to accomplish. It was also emphasized that if a player is behind, it’s often okay. Each kid develops along their own timeline and sometimes needs alternative environments to grow, even within the same structure, to be successful. Trying to remove the taboo of a player “playing down” as negative and a player “playing up” as positive was a key message that the experts presenting were keen for everyone to takeaway with them.


Grouping young footballers by maturity rather than age shows big benefits

University of Bath (UK), Communications from

… Understanding individual difference in development is also being used as a strategy to help reduce injuries during periods of rapid change, such as the adolescent growth spurt. There has been interest from a number of major sports teams, including AFC Bournemouth with whom University of Bath researchers recently evaluated players’ own perceptions of competing in a bio-banded football tournament.

For the new study led by AFC Bournemouth and supported by the University of Bath, researchers evaluated over 100 young players’ perceptions of bio-banding. Their results, published in the Annals of Human Biology found three main benefits for young players:

  • Early maturing players – who are bigger, and physically stronger – found more physical and technical challenge, leading to new opportunities for development. They also benefited from learning to play with older and more experienced players.
  • Late maturing players found less physical and technical challenge, but more opportunity to showcase their technical and tactical abilities, and adopt positions of leadership.
  • All players perceived there was less injury risk.

    Does women’s football have a problem with underachieving coaches?

    SB Nation, All for XI blog, lawson_sv from

    In his 2015 book Living on the Volcano, Michael Calvin explored what life is like managing a men’s football team, chronicling managerial spells of a handful of coaches in men’s football in England. Away from the money-soaked world of the Premier League, the pressures still remain; moving down the pyramid of men’s football, managers were still only ever given a finite amount of time to change the fortunes of a club. If Calvin were to write a sequel focusing on coaches in women’s football, it’s unlikely he’d sell so many copies. Less Living on the Volcano more, Living with a neighbour who occasionally plays loud music.

    Whilst it’s true there are many managers in the men’s game who are arguably given more time than they merit, in women’s football, the apathy that pervades the game keeps many under-performing coaches in their jobs.


    New Zealand sports launch campaign to change youth sport

    Australasian Leisure Management from

    Sport NZ and the five sports who last September published a Statement of Intent to improve youth sport are calling on parents, coaches and administrators involved at grassroots level to help implement these changes as sports prepare for the upcoming winter season.

    Launching a public awareness campaign today, Sport NZ’s General Manager of Community Sport, Geoff Barry “we believe changing the attitudes and behaviours of those delivering or influencing grassroots sport, whether parents, coaches or administrators, will be the single biggest success factor in addressing the current problems in youth sport and keeping young people in the game.

    “Together with the five sports we are today launching a six-week campaign to raise awareness of how we need to change youth sport and what parents, coaches and administrators can do to contribute to this. To support them, Sport NZ has also launched the website, which provides information and resources for those delivering grassroots sport.”


    Harnessing Curiosity – Curate what you can’t control

    Character Lab, Daniel Willingham from

    … Kids, adults, and most animals are naturally curious. We are programmed to explore our environment, because learning about our surroundings makes us better equipped to cope and survive.

    Research shows that the trigger for curiosity is our sense that there’s an easy opportunity to learn a lot. That’s a moment-to-moment judgment, which is why curiosity can come and go so quickly.

    Furthermore, curiosity is not influenced by long-term learning goals. That’s why, even though I’m a psychologist who loves his work, I still might be bored at a talk on psychology. But Internet content that promises quick and easy information draws my attention even if, after the fact, it doesn’t seem worth my time.


    The Effect of Movement Speed and Angle on Dynamic Stress Load

    STATSports from

    … Having access to such data can allow measurement of force (G) exerted by or acting on the body, which has added another dimension to player monitoring and led to the creation of accelerometer derived metrics, such as STATSports’ Dynamic Stress Load (DSL).

    DSL is the total of the weighted impacts of magnitude above 2G. It weights the impacts using a convex-shaped function with the key concept being that an impact of 4G is more than twice as hard on the body as an impact of 2G.

    The weighted impacts are totalled and finally scaled to give more workable values. As DSL is a mechanical metric, it may be highly influenced by running technique.

    Running at different speeds and angles of movement could also produce different DSL values. The aim of this study is to compare DSL between participants, and across a range of movement speeds and angles to identify what causes DSL to increase.


    Can digital fitness coaching get airmen in shape? The Air Force wants to know

    Air Force Times, Diana Stancy Correll from

    One of the Air Force’s core values is “service before self.” But that mentality could be jeopardizing airmen’s fitness readiness, according to one expert.

    “They’re human weapons systems,” Janet Grund, the health promotion manager for the military’s National Capital Region, told Air Force Times. “However, we have not given them proper training or the specifications of proper maintenance of that human weapon system.”

    A 2018 Rand Corps study found more than 60 percent of airmen are overweight, and a 2019 Health of the DoD Force study determined 18 percent were obese. Additionally, airmen could suffer a variety of outcomes if they fail a physical fitness exam, and in some cases, it could end their career.

    To solve this problem, Grund identified a possible solution for helping airmen get in shape: a digital fitness coaching app. That’s why she submitted a proposal to AFWERX, an Air Force program designed to foster innovation in the service, and pitched a plan that could generate customized workout and nutrition plans for individual airmen.


    New Chip Brings Ultra-Low Power Wi-Fi Connectivity to IoT Devices

    University of California-San Diego, UC San Diego UC San Diego News Center from

    More portable, fully wireless smart home setups. Lower power wearables. Batteryless smart devices. These could all be made possible thanks to a new ultra-low power Wi-Fi radio developed by electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego.

    The device, which is housed in a chip smaller than a grain of rice, enables Internet of Things (IoT) devices to communicate with existing Wi-Fi networks using 5,000 times less power than today’s Wi-Fi radios. It consumes just 28 microwatts of power. And it does so while transmitting data at a rate of 2 megabits per second (a connection fast enough to stream music and most YouTube videos) over a range of up to 21 meters.


    Injury Screening for Swimmers

    Swimming Science, Dr. John Mullen from

    Injury screens were recently popularized with the functional movement screen (FMS). In fact, we created a comprehensive guide for injury screening for swimmers in our Dryland for Swimmers book. We created this as we felt the land-based tests weren’t predictable of swimming due to the novelties of the motions in the pool.

    One of the most effective methods to reduce the risk of injuries may be resistance training (RT). A recent meta-analysis, resistance training-based sports injury prevention programs reduced injuries on average by 66% compared with prevention programs without a muscular strength focus. Resistance training not only makes an athlete stronger, but may reduce risk of injury.


    Electrolyte supplements don’t prevent illness in athletes

    Stanford University, Stanford Medicine, News Center from

    Researchers found that supplements did not appear to protect endurance athletes from illness caused by electrolyte imbalances. They also found that hot temperatures are a risk factor.


    The true cost of inequality in high school football

    SB Nation, Mark Dent from

    … Football deaths are occurring in an era in which improved tackling techniques, athletic trainers, AEDs and helmets have supposedly made football safer than ever. At the college and professional level, death is much rarer. But the high school level is plagued by inequality, crippling budget cuts and de facto school segregation, factors that prevent underserved schools from affording athletic trainers, new helmets and lessons in the latest tackling advancements. Since 2009, the districts encompassing Houston, Greenville and Byhalia have faced annual state funding shortfalls that cumulatively total $55 million. Bereft of resources, underserved urban and rural high schools often fail to provide basic equipment and safety measures, or are located far from trauma centers. These shortcomings, a disturbing wedge between the haves and have-nots, add greater risk to a game that leads to catastrophic injury and death every fall.

    Although nobody has completed an academic study examining the characteristics of high school football deaths, a pattern has emerged over the last several years: Most of the boys who have died are young men of color from distressed communities, like Williams, Mitchell and Anderson.


    AP Interview: Decisions came quickly for Boston’s Bloom

    Associated Press, Jimmy Golen from

    This isn’t quite how Chaim Bloom imagined things would go, back when he dreamed of running a baseball team.

    Less than two months after taking over the Red Sox — and with the start of spring training looming — Boston’s new chief baseball officer needed to replace a World Series-winning manager. Then Bloom incurred the wrath of the Fenway fans when he traded Mookie Betts, the ballclub’s best player, as part of a salary dump. And the team is still sweating out the results of an investigation into whether it cheated when it won the championship in 2018.

    Like a manager reshuffling his rotation after an 18-inning game, Bloom has been forced to adjust — and quickly.


    Identifying Talent, Changing Education, and Studying Progress – Tyler Cowen on Venture Stories

    Venture Stories, Erik Torenberg and Jasmine Wang from

  • “I think IQ is overrated, especially by smart people, and stamina is highly valuable”
  • “In general, we all tend to overrate people who are like ourselves”
  • A ton of money goes into higher education, but there needs to be more research studies conducted related to how professors can improve their teaching methods [audio, 58:51]

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