Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 15, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 15, 2020


COVID-19 shutdown gives these WTA players a chance to set a course for the future

ESPN Tennis, D'Arcy Maine from

When the global coronavirus pandemic shut down the WTA Tour in March, CiCi Bellis suddenly found herself with indefinite free time. But, having spent the better part of the past two years dealing with injuries and being sidelined from tennis, she knew immediately how she would pass the time.

The 21-year-old from San Francisco started working on obtaining her college degree through a partnership with Indiana University East and the WTA during her recovery. Once play was halted ahead of the BNP Paribas Open in early March, she immediately signed herself up for more classes. Over the past few months, she has taken online courses in international business, marketing and principles of information management.

“Higher education is extremely important to me,” said Bellis, who made her return at the end of 2019 and advanced to the third round at the Australian Open in January.

Steven Davis sees no lockdown lethargy in pre-season training

FourFourTwo from

… Davis was impressed with the fitness programmes handed out by head of performance Jordan Milsom and his staff before the squad all reported back for pre-season training.

The 35-year-old midfielder told “Straight from the off the sports science team gave us individual programmes to try to keep ourselves ticking over.

“To begin with, we weren’t sure what was going to happen with the league, and then once the decision was made on that, they updated the programmes every couple of weeks to keep us fresh and as prepared as much as possible.

Chemistry class: New managers test for right mix amid virus

Associated Press, Will Graves from

Derek Shelton needs his freedom. Maybe now more than ever. Fortunately for the first-year Pittsburgh Pirates manager, bench coach Donnie Kelly made it a point to provide it.

Each day Kelly puts together a meticulous schedule designed to find a way for separate groups of players to get their work in during the most unusual training camp in major league history. Shelton’s name isn’t on it. While Shelton jokes it’s because Kelly doesn’t want him to “screw anything up,” the truth is Shelton’s omission is Kelly’s way of doing his boss a favor.

Rather than be tied to being in a certain place at a certain time, Shelton instead can float from spot to spot as he tries to play catch up on the kind of relationship building that was supposed to happen organically during the languid days of spring training.

Comparison of individual and group-based load-velocity profiling as a means to dictate training load over a 6-week strength and power intervention

Journal of Sports Sciences from

This study compared the effects of dictating load using individual (ILVP) or group (GLVP) load-velocity profiles on lower-body strength and power. Nineteen trained males (23.6 ± 3.7 years) completed a back squat one-repetition maximum (1-RM), load-velocity profiling (LVP), and countermovement (CMJ), static-squat (SSJ) and standing-broad (SBJ) jump tests before and after 6 weeks of resistance training. Participants were randomly assigned to an ILVP, or GLVP intervention with intra-session load dictated through real-time velocity monitoring and prediction of current relative performance using either the participant’s LVP (ILVP) or a LVP based on all participant data (GLVP). Training resulted in significant increases in back squat 1-RM for the ILVP and GLVP group (p < 0.01; 9.7% and 7.2%, respectively), with no group-by-time interaction identified between training groups (p = 0.06). All jump performance significantly increased for the ILVP group (p < 0.01; CMJ: 6.6%; SSJ: 4.6%; SBJ: 6.7%), with only CMJ and SSJ improving for the GLVP group (p < 0.05; 4.3%). Despite no significant group-by-time interaction across all variables, the ILVP intervention induced a greater magnitude of adaptation when compared to a GLVP approach. Additionally, an individualised approach may lead to greater positive transfer to power-based movements, specifically vertical and horizontal jumps.

Pucks and masks prevalent as 24 NHL teams open training camp

Associated Press, John Wawrow and Teresa M. Walker from

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington is so accustomed to wearing a mask, he didn’t mind doing so for the past four months during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sometimes, I forgot I’m wearing it while driving,” Binnington said Monday, when the Blues were among the NHL’s 24 teams to open training camp for the upcoming playoffs. “You make fun of those people who are driving by themselves with a mask on, but I sometimes forget.”

Goalies weren’t the only ones wearing masks as the NHL hit the ice, en masse, in the first full glimpse of hockey’s return since the regular season was placed on pause March 12.

Survey: Parents grow more worried about their child returning to sports

The Aspen Institute, Project Play, Jon Solomon from

As COVID-19 cases spike again in parts of the country, parents of children playing organized youth and school sports are increasingly worried about the health risks associated with their child returning to play compared to how they felt earlier during the pandemic.
Survey: 50% of parents fear kids will get sick by returning to sports (May 12)

Only 53% of parents expect their child to resume sports activity at the same or higher amount when current restrictions are removed, according to a new national survey by the Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative and Utah State University. That’s down from 70% in early May from a similar survey by North Carolina State University in partnership with Project Play.

Today, only half of parents said they are extremely or slightly comfortable with their child playing community-based sports when restrictions are lifted.

How To Exercise On Your Period – Working Out Through Your Cycle

Women's Health, from

Before the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) revealed that they planned their 2019 World Cup training (they won, btw!) around players’ periods, the topic of how fluctuating hormones could potentially impact workouts wasn’t talked about much, er, at all.

But when you think about it, the idea makes so much sense that it’s shocking it’s not commonplace. “The way you move and breathe, how your heart beats, and your body’s reaction to exercise varies throughout your menstrual cycle,” says Georgie Bruinvels, PhD, co-​creator of FitrWoman, the app the USWNT used.

Turns out, tailoring your routine to your cycle, a technique known as phase-based training, empowers you to take advantage of your physiology to look and feel your best and to perform at your fullest potential, according to Women’s Health advisory board member Stacy T. Sims, PhD, who’s been researching female athletes for 20 years.

Rapid Pomegranate Juice Authentication Using a Simple Sample-to-Answer Hybrid Paper/Polymer-Based Lab-on-a-Chip Device | ACS Sensors

ACS Sensors journal from

As a super fruit, pomegranate and its juice have attracted increased consumer demands during the past decades. Given the high production cost and market price, adulteration of pomegranate juice is highly likely to occur. To authenticate pomegranate juice and avoid the addition of cheaper fruit juices, such as apple and grape, an analytical method based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) was developed. This LAMP-based authentication method achieved highly sensitive (i.e., 10 pg for pomegranate DNA and 100 pg for grape and apple DNA) and specific detection of pomegranate, apple, and grape DNA present in fresh fruit juice. To further simplify the overall analysis, a hybrid paper/polymer-based lab-on-a-chip (LOC) platform was designed to integrate DNA extraction, LAMP reaction, and LAMP result visualization onto a single device. This LOC device was able to detect 2 μL of fresh pomegranate juice and 5 μL of fresh apple and grape juice. Using a homemade portable heating device, the overall analysis could be completed in ∼1 h in an almost instrument-free setting. The cost for each authentication test is estimated to be ∼4 USD and the reusable homemade portable heating device is ∼15 USD. This LAMP-based simple sample-to-answer hybrid paper/polymer-based LOC device has high potential to be adopted by government laboratories and the food industry to rapidly and routinely authenticate pomegranate juice even in a resource-limited environment.

World’s widest graphene nanoribbon promises the next generation of miniaturized electronics

Nara Institute of Science and Technology (Japan), Research Achievements from

With literally the thickness of one carbon atom and electrical properties that can surpass those of standard semiconductor technologies, graphene nanoribbons promise a new generation of miniaturized electronic devices. The theory, however, remains far ahead of reality, with current graphene nanoribbons falling short of their potential. A new collaborative study seen in Communications Materials by a project of CREST, JST Japan including Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and Fujitsu Ltd., and the University of Tokyo reports the first ever 17-carbon wide graphene nanoribbon and confirms it has the smallest bandgap seen to date among known graphene nanoribbons prepared by a bottom-up manner.

Large-scale integrated circuits (LSIs) that use silicon semiconductors are used in a wide range of electronic devices, anywhere from computers to smartphones.

They are actually supporting our lives and almost everything else these days. However, although LSIs have improved device performance by reducing the size of the devices, LSI miniaturization is approaching its limit. At the same time, commercial demand continues to put pressure on companies to make higher performing smartphones at smaller sizes, while industry pressure is demanding large-scale manufacturing with smaller equipment.

I was once the young collegiate runner who thought losing her period was just part of training hard. IT IS NOT!!!

Twitter, Shalaya Kipp, Dr. Emily Kraus from

A randomized controlled trial of nitrate supplementation in well-trained middle and older-aged adults

PLOS One, Michael J. Berry et al. from


Nitrate (NO3-), through its conversion to nitrite (NO2-) and nitric oxide, has been shown to increase exercise tolerance in healthy younger adults and older diseased patients. Nitrate’s effect in well-trained middle to older-aged adults has not been studied. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of a NO3- rich beverage on submaximal constant work rate exercise time in well-trained middle to older-aged adults.

This was a randomized controlled cross-over trial with 15 well-trained middle to older-aged adults, 41–64 year-old, who received one of two treatments (NO3- rich beverage then placebo or placebo then NO3- rich beverage), after which an exercise test at 75 percent of the subject’s maximal work rate was completed.

The NO3- rich beverage increased plasma NO3- and NO2- levels by 260 μM and 0.47 μM, respectively (p<0.001). Exercise time was not significantly different (p = 0.31) between the NO3- rich versus placebo conditions (1130±151 vs 1060±132 sec, respectively). Changes in exercise time between the two conditions ranged from a 55% improvement to a 40% decrease with the NO3- rich beverage. Oxygen consumption and rating of perceived exertion were not significantly different between the two conditions. Conclusion

In middle to older-aged well-trained adults, NO3- supplementation has non-significant, albeit highly variable, effects on exercise tolerance.

The Athlete’s Guide to Boosting Iron

Outside Online, Alex Hutchinson from

… Let’s say you really do have low iron. The next step is to fix it, which is another complex topic. You can eat liver, take pills, get injections, and so on. But your absorption will depend on when you take it, what else you’re eating, and even whether you’ve just done a hard workout. That complexity makes it an area of ongoing research, which is why it’s worth taking a look at three recent studies on iron supplementation for athletes, all from the laboratory of Peter Peeling of the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Institute of Sport.

Consumers Prefer Round Numbers Even When the Specific Number Is Better News

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer News from

… For decades, researchers in this field have been focused on the attributes, the adjectives, and other words that describe what is being measured. In this paper, Jain looked at the numbers that are used in the frames themselves.

Using six sets of data with more than 1,500 participants, Jain and his co-authors considered what would happen to peoples’ perception of information when specific, or non-round, numbers were used instead of round numbers.

The research showed that people find non-round numbers unique and jarring.

The Damage We’re Not Attending To

Nautilus, David Krakauer & Geoffrey West from

As scientists who study complex systems, we conceive of a complexity crisis as a twofold event. First, it is the failure of multiple coupled systems—our physical bodies, cities, societies, economies, and ecosystems. Second, it involves solutions, such as social distancing, that involve unavoidable tradeoffs, some of which amplify the primary failures. In other words, the way we respond to failing systems can accelerate their decline.

We and our colleagues in the Santa Fe Institute Transmission Project believe there are some non-obvious insights and solutions to this crisis that can be gleaned from studying complex systems and their universal properties. One useful way to think about a complexity crisis is in terms of the strategic tradeoffs that need to be managed and the complex mechanisms that these tradeoffs involve. These mechanisms include ideas of contagion, epidemic cycles, super-spreading events, critical phenomena, scaling, and path dependence.

Is European club soccer interested in changing?

US Soccer Players, J Hutcherson from

For years, Major League Soccer has leaned on the idea that their European counterparts are jealous of their cost control. MLS has single-entity, even in its looser form preventing true free agency and clubs competing to sign the same player. Then there’s the pragmatic approach to the transfer market, still in its early stages of paying transfer fees that pass the $10m mark and preferring sellable assets. The Miguel Almiron scenario remains the goal of MLS transfer spending.

Meanwhile, European soccer presses on with what many believe is a broken system. The big clubs generate the most money and spend a great deal of it on the playing squad. The competitive advantage is as much financial as technical. A coach can improve a squad, but not as much as spending cash. That’s where the MLS flattering falls short. It’s normally leagues interested in what MLS is doing. The clubs in positions to spend, not so much.

So what happens when the economics no longer seems to work even for the game’s elite?

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