Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 6, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 6, 2020


Mike Trout has his doubts about the 2020 MLB season. He isn’t alone

ESPN MLB, Alden Gonzalez from

It was Wednesday afternoon and a veteran relief pitcher was in his car, driving to his team’s home city with the intention of playing baseball in the midst of a pandemic. He spent the prior days in a remote location wondering whether he should drive north to his house or head west for his job. He chose the latter, despite clear hesitation, because he figured it was worth it to at least give this all a chance. As he drove, a central question beckoned, one that lingered across the sport when teams officially restarted their workouts a couple of days later.

“Why are we doing this?”

Mike Trout lent his voice and his stature to that sentiment on Friday morning, while expressing unmistakable concern over the possibility of testing positive for the coronavirus and spreading it to his pregnant wife, who’s only a month away from delivering the couple’s first child. Such trepidation from the undoubted face of baseball sent shockwaves through the industry, but Trout was far from alone.

Damm credits Atlanta United’s facilities, stadium and supporters, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Doug Roberson from

… Leaning against a tan leather headboard, wearing a blue T-shirt and mixing fluent English and Spanish during Friday’s interview, [Jurgen] Damm said the recruitment to join MLS began 4-5 months ago. When Damm’s agent told him that he could be joining Atlanta United, he said yes. He said he watched the team play against Club America in the Campeones Cup.

Damm said he also spoke to “El Tri” teammate Andres Guardado about the city of Atlanta and the league. He said he believes that is on par with LIGA MX. He noted that the combination of more teams investing in facilities and the standard and cost of living in the U.S. is making MLS more attractive to players around the world.

Virgil van Dijk unveils Jurgen Klopp’s secret and makes Premier League title dedication

Mirror (UK), Simon Mullock from

… “I call it the German style, running, running and running. And when you think you are done, more running.

“Never in my life I have had to train so hard. I remember the three training sessions a day in France. No media, no fans, just us on our own.

The Benefits of Heat Training, Reconsidered

Outside Online, Alex Hutchinson from

… Heat training works differently. The most notable change, after just a few days, is a dramatic increase—of up to 20 percent—in the volume of plasma coursing through your veins. That’s the part of the blood that doesn’t include hemoglobin-rich red blood cells, so it’s not immediately obvious whether more plasma will enhance your endurance under moderate weather conditions. In fact, there’s an ongoing debate among scientists on precisely that question. One theory, for example, is that the extra plasma dilutes the accumulation of lactate during hard exercise. (But there’s no doubt that it boosts performance in hot conditions: the extra plasma volume helps shunt excess heat to your skin, among other things.)

Prior Workload Has Moderate Effects on High-Intensity Match Performance in Elite-Level Professional Football Players When Controlling for Situational and Contextual Variables – PubMed

Journal of Sports Sciences from

This investigation examined the effect of prior workload on high-intensity football match performance. Player load variables were recorded using a global positioning system and converted into composite variables: rolling season accumulated load (AL), exponentially weighted moving average acute, chronic and acute:chronic workload ratio (A:C). Match-play high-intensity performance-per-minute: accelerations (ACC), sprints, high-speed running (HSR) and high metabolic load (HMLd) distances; and situational and contextual variables were recorded for all games. Partial least squares modelling, and backward stepwise selection determined the most parsimonious model for each performance variable. Quadratic relationships of small to moderate effect sizes were identified for sprint AL and sprint performance, HSR AL and HSR performance, acute HMLd and HMLd performance, acute sprint load and ACC performance and A:C sprint load and ACC performance. Match performance was typically greatest between the mean and +1SD. High chronic HMLd, and combined acceleration and deceleration (ACC+DEC) load exerted small beneficial effects on HMLd and HSR performance, whereas high acute load exerted trivial to moderate negative effects. High sprint A:C exerted a small beneficial effect on sprint performance and playing position exerted small effects on HSR and HMLd performance. Prior workload has trivial to moderate effects on high-intensity match performance in professional players.

“High-resistance sprint training will increase injury risk”: another training myth?

J.B. Morin from

This post will address misconceptions about high-resistance sprint training (HRST) in the form of heavy sleds or high-resistance set with robotic devices such as the 1080Sprint, i.e. loads that slow down the athletes by 50% of their maximal running speed, or more. To be clear, I do not think this type of training stimulus is the magic stick: I think it is key in some contexts to develop some features of sprint acceleration performance (which is also supported by research results). I also think it is not recommended in other contexts, and so as always in training, it is not YES or NO, it is “IT DEPENDS”.

How to Overload Your Training Without Overreaching

PodiumRunner, Ian McMahan from

… Overload training, inducing a state of heavy fatigue with weeks of die-hard training and minimal recovery, can result in something called functional overreaching, a state defined as a short-term decrease in performance with or without related symptoms of overtraining.

Of course, going out and running oneself into the ground doesn’t have to be a fancy scientific name. “Overload training isn’t anything new,” said Jim Vance, a triathlon coach and author of Run with Power. “Athletes go flog themselves all the time.”

Much of the traditional overload training was conducted under the belief that overload training needs to achieve that overreached state to be useful. The verdict on that is both yes and no.

No Nonsense! Using REBT with adolescent footballers

Dr. Martin Turner, The Smarter Thinking Project from

… I think there is a great deal of congruence between the world of academy football and an REBT [Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy] approach. I work primarily with a male under-18 age group, and this group throws up some definite challenges – testing attitudes, tricky social dynamics, and many aspects of adult life that are starting to enter a player’s world. My rapport with this collective on a group and individual level relies heavily on being relatable and being in touch with them – ‘getting it’. And I don’t fake that, I do ‘get it’, I’ve worked hard to understand their environment and the demands placed on them – the stuff that throws up challenge for them during the week and on match days. In an elite football program, you hear and see a lot of strong messages being relayed to and between staff and players. This could include irrational, extreme language, or the communication of a results-driven ethic with very small margins for error. It’s important to view these strong messages within the context of the environmental demands of football, because in some cases the language of irrationality might be accurate and appropriate, and may not reflect deeply held irrational beliefs. The next game might just be a ‘must-win’ in order obtain 3 points (a conditional must). As REBT practitioners, we don’t just walk around spotting ‘musts’ so that we can dispute it!

It feels in some way that REBT has afforded me the opportunity to ask a frank and direct question, to get to the underlying crux of a thought or behavior quickly – no nonsense!

Why good teachers allow a child’s mind to wander and wonder

Psyche newsletter, Anders Schinkel from

… wonder epitomises what education is about: opening up the world. Any educators interested in – or devoted to – opening up the world to their students should consider wonder essential to the task, and will do their utmost to foster students’ sense of wonder.

It is worth noting that, in doing so, a teacher will have to swim against the stream. One battle is against regimes of standardised testing and performance accountability, international comparisons and competitiveness. These are narrowly instrumentalist views of education. As governments anxiously monitor other nations’ economic and technological development, they can think of only one thing for the education system to do: to churn out the greatest possible number of economically productive and ‘innovative’ employees and entrepreneurs, usually in business or science. To assess how one’s country is doing (are we ahead or falling behind?) test scores are compared internationally. The result, as the professor of education policy Dave Trotman has noted in the British context, ‘is that those aspects of the curriculum that are least amenable to routine testing, by default, come to occupy the least privileged positions in the curriculum’. Thus, an educational climate is created that is inhospitable to instigating a sense of wonder in students.

Sports technology startup receives investment

WISH-TV (Indianapolis), Inside INdiana Business, Mary Willkom from

A Bloomington-based sports technology startup has been awarded $20,000 in funding from Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures. Blueprint Stats says its technology uses human analysis and machine learning of videos to help high school sports teams improve their game.

The startup says the funding, from the Elevate Ventures Community Ideation Fund, will help it develop computer-vision models to record data previously unseen in the sports world. Blueprint Stats expects to pilot the models by the start of the 2020-21 basketball season.

Garmin’s Firstbeat Acquisition Could Change the Coaching Landscape, Brian Gray from

… Garmin’s Connect platform is already robust—no one else has anything like it. It is a fully integrated, multi-tier environment that shares data bidirectionally through its layers (Web App ? Mobile App ? Device), and it integrates horizontally with external partner apps. Garmin and Firstbeat could easily expand these capabilities by adding training features through Firstbeat’s predictive and prescriptive analytics platform. They already have the interfaces to feed prescribed workouts to all their devices.

I love innovation, and this acquisition has the potential to revolutionize individual athlete training potential. It looks like a true sports science play, not just a shiny object. Self-coached athletes could use something like this to significantly improve their training effectiveness. And it could be a major market disruptor to personal coach and TrainingPeaks subscribers.

Occurrence of overuse injuries in elite Swedish athletics—A prospective cohort study over one athletics season – Lundberg Zachrisson

Translational Sports Medicine journal from

The incidence proportion and severity of overuse injuries (OIs) in elite athletics are still unclear due to methodological limitations of prior studies. The aim was to prospectively measure OI incidence proportion, severity, and anatomic location during a complete Swedish elite athletics season. Seventy‐five male and female elite athletes between 18 and 32 years of age, competing in either middle‐ and long‐distance running, sprint, jumping, or throwing events were recruited. A medical professional diagnosed injuries during a physical examination. All injuries were classified as gradual or sudden onset incident injuries due to overuse. An athlete was considered injury free after reporting full return to training in their training documentation. The OI incidence proportion was 72.4% (95% CI: 60.8%, 84%), with 71 recorded injuries. Most injuries were severe, with 38% of them being moderately serious (8‐28 days) and 36.6% serious (>28 days‐6 months). The most common injury location was the thigh/hip at 41% followed by the foot/shank at 39%. The incidence proportion and severity of OIs were higher when medical professionals evaluated each athlete who developed symptoms, compared to self‐reporting athletes. Future research should evaluate possible risk factors for OIs to try to lower the OI incidence proportion. [full text]

NBA emphasizes mental health as teams await Disney ‘bubble’

Associated Press, Brett Martel from

… “It is going to leave the guys with a lot of time on their own, and challenges with families, newborns and whatever else they have going on in their personal lives are going to be magnified because they’re going to be in confined spaces for prolonged periods of time,” said William Parham, a Loyola Marymount psychology professor and director of the National Basketball Players Association’s mental health and wellness program. “There’s no way around it, so I would anticipate some increased anxiety, some increased tension, some increased restlessness.”

There will be no fans at Disney. There also will be restrictions on where players can go, plus rules keeping families away until at least the second round of the playoffs. The hope is to significantly limit exposure to COVID-19 inside the bubble.

Developed with Chelsea Football Club, new sports nutrition service Blue Fuel launches

Chelsea Football Club from

… Blue Fuel is a personalised expert sports nutrition service based around athlete’s individual needs. Delivered via specially-designed sport supplement products, performance recipes and meal plans, and an intuitive user-friendly app, Blue Fuel is built to unlock the performance potential of every player, for every game.

Trialled with and used by Chelsea FC’s very own players, Blue Fuel’s unique product range is designed to cater for all the main need states for team sports. It’s a unique service with a fully Informed Sport tested range which includes hydration sachets, protein powder blends, protein bars and energy gummies.

Bohls: Texas’ Del Conte, peers prepare for all scenarios, even spring football

Austin American-Statesman, Kirk Bohls from

Is spring football even possible for 130 FBS schools? “Absolutely,” Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder told me Friday. “Anything is possible. It might not be preferred but anything is possible.”

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said if you consider all football-related revenues, OU would be “at risk” of losing “north of $110 million” if no football. The bulk of that would come in ticket sales and annual giving.

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