Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 28, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 28, 2020


After an unthinkably difficult season, could Jordan Hasay win the 2020 Olympic marathon trials?

ESPN Olympic Sports, Jessica Taylor Price from

When Jordan Hasay is overcome with doubt, she remembers the 6-mile loop she and her late mother, Teresa, used to run together, and the mantras her mom would give her when the going got rough. “Just keep smiling!” her mother would often say. Teresa was Hasay’s earliest training partner, and the one that helped Hasay to fall in love with the sport.

There have been plenty of doubts in the past five months. In October, Hasay parted ways with her longtime coach Alberto Salazar, after he was banned for four years on doping charges. Then, less than two weeks later, she tore two tendons in her hamstring at the 5-kilometer mark of the Chicago Marathon. Either could have derailed her season.

Today, though, she is cool and collected, and ready to make her first Olympic team.


Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat Rising Star Rookie, Is Showing His Worth

Forbes, Shlomo Sprung from

… Signing with the Heat, however, was just the start. Nunn had to work tirelessly and relentlessly to prove that he truly belonged in the NBA after being largely overlooked for the few years prior. Known for being one of the best teams in the league at developing players, Nunn entered the Miami program, where players like All-Star Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson have become key components.

“You come in every day with a mindset and a work ethic to get better,” Nunn said. “And you stay on that program and if you do it for a number of days, eventually you’re gonna get better. So that’s what I did, locked in every day and put in the work.”

That work quickly paid dividends.


How fame abroad changes African footballers’ way of life back home

The Conversation, Ernest Yeboah Acheampong from

… I interviewed professional footballers from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Cameroon and Egypt, aged between 18 and 52, who had played in the leagues of countries like England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. They were asked to describe their football career path from their country of origin to moving abroad and beginning their professional activity. The study captured both current players and those who had left Africa in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

The study found that upward social mobility often led to extreme behavioural and attitude switches. Some of the notable traits from the players studied were arrogance and conspicuous consumption. Some even spoke ill of fellow professionals in lower or developing leagues.

This is important because their home communities expect them to maintain a relationship with the people who supported them during their formative periods. It leads to social disconnection when some are perceived as “ungrateful” and reluctant to give back to society.


Turns Out There Is Such a Thing as TMI: More Information Doesn’t Necessarily Help People Make Better Decisions

Stevens Institute of Technology, Research & Innovation from

Prior knowledge can lead people to become less confident in their choices and make worse decisions, underscoring the need to better understand how people interpret new information


Heat Acclimation with Controlled Heart Rate Influence of Hydration Status

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal from

To characterize the adaptive responses to heat acclimation (HA) with controlled heart rate (HR) and determine whether hydration strategy alters adaptations. The influence of HA on V[Combining Dot Above]O2max in cool conditions and self-paced exercise in the heat was also determined.
Eight males (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max: 55±7 completed two 10-day interventions in a counterbalanced cross-over design. Fluid intakes differed between interventions to either maintain euhydration (HA-EUH) or elicit similar daily body mass deficits (2.85±0.26%; HA-DEH). HA consisted of 90 min of cycling in 40°C and 40% RH. Initial workload (172±22 W) was adjusted over the last 75 min to maintain exercising HR equivalent to 65% V[Combining Dot Above]O2max. A V[Combining Dot Above]O2max test in cool conditions and 30 min time-trial in hot-humid conditions were completed before and after HA.
HR at the end of the initial 15 min workload was 10±5 beats.min-1 lower on day 10 in both interventions (P<0.001). The workload necessary to maintain exercising HR (145±7 beats.min-1) increased throughout HA-EUH (25±10 W, P=0.001) and HA-DEH (16±18 W, P=0.02). There was a main effect of HA on sweat rate (P=0.014), which tended to increase with HA-EUH (0.19±0.18 L.h-1, P=0.06) but not HA-DEH (P=0.12). Skin temperature decreased during HA-EUH (0.6 ± 0.5°C, P=0.03), but not HA-DEH (P=0.30). There was a main effect of HA on V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (~3, P=0.02); however, neither intervention independently increased V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (both P=0.08). Time-trial performance increased following HA-EUH (19±16 W, P=0.02), but not HA-DEH (P=0.21). Conclusions
Controlled HR exercise in the heat induces several HA adaptations, which may be optimized by maintaining euhydration. HA-EUH also improves self-paced exercise performance in the heat. However, HA does not appear to significantly increase V[Combining Dot Above]O2max in cool conditions.


If you want to be different and better, you have to bear the risk of being different and worse

New Statesman (UK), Jason Cowley from

… “Decision-makers often shy away from risk when the odds are against them because they know that decisions are usually judged externally by results,” [Ed Smith] told me. “So, when the odds are moderate/poor, they tend to play it safe in terms of decisions – exactly the wrong strategy. Perhaps subliminally, they try to prepare for the prospect of losing by losing conventionally.”

He is fond of an adage from Howard Marks, an American investor and writer: “If you want to be different and better, you have to bear the risk of being different and worse.” In the end, it’s always about judgement, in sport, the military or, most pressingly, in one’s own life.


Your Company Is Too Risk-Averse

Harvard Business Review; Dan Lovallo, Tim Koller, Robert Uhlaner and Daniel Kahneman from

… In this article, we examine the phenomenon of risk aversion and avoidance and demonstrate how corporate incentives and decision-making practices exacerbate the problem. We present an analysis of just how much value executives leave on the table as a result and offer suggestions for mitigating the bias toward low-risk investments.


MLS Data Deal Adds Stadium Cameras for Player Tracking and Prop Bets

Front Office Sports, Danni Santana from

  • Ten cameras around MLS stadiums will transmit player, referee, and ball movement data.
  • Second Spectrum partnership will start at national TV level before expanding to local and international markets.

    Introduction to Total Impact Load

    YouTube, IMeasureU from

    Product Manager, Andrew Wong, breaks down what’s new in this major update, and how to use IMeasureU’s new Impact Load metric. [video, 3:09]


    Digital physical therapy company Sword Health raises additional $9M

    MobiHealthNews, Laura Lovett from

    … Sword works with insurers, health systems and self-insured employers to provide tech-enabled physical therapy to its members, with a focus on musculoskeletal disorders.

    Patient wear motion-sensing trackers that wirelessly communicate with the digital therapist. The therapist then guides the patient through each therapy session with real-time feedback. The platform will collect patient data, which clinicians can analyze and pull out metrics.


    Multi-sensor Band Quickly and Simply Records Subtle Changes in Patients with MS

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

    Patients with multiple sclerosis wear the small band on arms or legs, tap fingers or toes, and the resulting combined sensor data can be used to assess disease status and progression


    Are You Using Your Data, or Just Collecting It?

    Harvard Business Review, Robert Glazer from

    … There’s a huge difference between understanding the importance of data and making it a priority in your organization. Every business needs experts responsible for analyzing pertinent data and helping inform employee decision-making.

    For example, at Acceleration Partners (AP), a member of our team is responsible for using BI to tell us which brands, based upon their attributes, past behavior, and failure rates, would be risky to take on as clients. If left to their own devices, a salesperson would naturally not be very inclined to turn away a prospect. BI-informed rules can overrule our sales team if the prospect seems to have a high potential to fail based on past data.


    Fifa to discuss rules on leagues taking games overseas

    SportsPro Media, Pearce Bates from

    Global soccer’s governing body Fifa will discuss whether to place a ban on domestic league games being played in other countries as its stakeholders committee meet in Zurich on 27th February.

    The agenda for the meeting, revealed by ESPN, incudes an item that refers to ‘Official league matches played in the territory of another member federation: amendments to the Fifa International Match Rules’ and another that mentions ‘Clubs participating in competitions of the territory of another member federation: applications covered by art. 73 of the Fifa Statutes.’ Article 73 refers to playing matches outside of an association, league or club’s own territory only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ under authorisation from ‘member associations, the respective confederation[s] and by Fifa’.


    Artificial Intelligence learns the value of teamwork to form efficient football teams

    University of Southampton, Electronics and Computer Science from

    Machine learning experts from the University of Southampton are optimising football team selection by using AI to value teamwork between pairs of players.

    The new approach uses historic performance data to identify which player combinations are most important to a team, generating insights that can help select teams’ most efficient line-ups and identify suitable transfer targets.

    The study, led by PhD student Ryan Beal in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity (AIC) Group, has developed a number of teamwork metrics that can accurately predict team performance statistics, including passes, shots on target and goals.


    Wisdom in Diversity – Research shows that diverse crowds are smarter than individuals.

    Psychology Today, Eva Krockow from

    … The surprising accuracy of a group’s combined judgements is referred to as “wisdom of crowds” or “collective intelligence.” The phenomenon is typically attributed to a crowd’s diversity, which helps to cancel out extreme individual judgements. This means that instead of bemoaning differences in opinion, we should be grateful for our large spread of opinions regarding the number of gummy bears. Crucially, for crowd intelligence to work, each crowd member’s opinion has to be independent. This means that the judgement has to be made without prior conferral with other people, who could influence or bias the opinion. Relying on the wisdom of crowds is therefore different from team-based decision making, in which group members discuss their judgements before reaching a jointly agreed group decision.

    Evidence for the wisdom of crowds has been provided by a large number of experimental studies from the field of judgement and decision-making psychology. The experiments show that crowd-based judgements are more accurate than individual judgements across many different decision contexts including knowledge tests, memory tasks, and combinatorial problems. Additionally, a growing number of studies have demonstrated the potential of the wisdom of crowds in more applied contexts of medical decision making. A recent computer-simulation study, for example, suggested that medical students’ diagnoses for patients in emergency care could be improved through an aggregation of two or more opinions.


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