Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 24, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 24, 2020


Keep the bubble tight: How Shiffrin plans to make it through the World Cup season

Ski Racing magazine, Mackenzie Moran from

… On July 15, Shiffrin arrived in Hood River, Ore., with her mother, Eileen, and select members of her team. Following U.S. Ski & Snowboard protocols, the group quarantined for a few days and — after testing negative for COVID — was able to get back on snow.

The U.S. women’s ski team successfully kicked off its third on-snow training camp at Mount Hood under unusual circumstances to say the least. International travel is not an option, and the team must work extra hard to get the most out of time on snow.

Something about the trip feels like things are finally getting back to normal for Shiffrin and her mother. On the other hand, nothing will ever feel close to “normal” again.

Behind the analytical and meteoric rise of Giants’ biggest roster surprise

KNBR (San Francisco), Mark Sanchez from

Caleb Baragar never really knew why he experienced success or failure on the mound.

The Giants lefty was good enough to go pro after a college career at Indiana, started off well in the system in 2016, rose to Class-A Augusta in 2017 and struggled, then continued to sputter the next season, bouncing between the bullpen and rotation in Augusta and Double-A Richmond without much of a defined future.

So he went to school. Or rather, school came to him, in the form of a new Giants regime that emphasizes analytical data that turns pitching more into a science than art. His most important teacher, now with the title of coordinator of pitching sciences, was Matt Daniels, whom the Giants hired from Driveline before the 2019 season.

How Bulls analyst Kendall Gill turned a college workout into a sanctuary

NBC Sports Chicago, K.C. Johnson from

When Kendall Gill began a 32-year-old training program to ready himself to play in a 50-and-over basketball league, he thought it was a nice connection to his Final Four past at the University of Illinois.

Little did the 15-year NBA veteran know he’d actually be starting a movement.

Gill, an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago on Bulls Pregame and Postgame Live shows, always has been a fitness fanatic. So dusting off the “60-40” drill that he and teammates like Nick Anderson, Marcus Liberty, Kenny Battle and Stephen Bardo utilized the summer before their storybook run to the 1989 Final Four seemed a natural challenge.

Assessment of energy availability and associated risk factors in professional female soccer players

European Journal of Sport Science from

This study aimed to assess energy availability (EA), alongside possible risk factors of reduced or low EA of professional female soccer players during a competitive season. Thirteen players (age: 23.7 ± 3.4 y, stature: 1.69 ± 0.08 m, body mass: 63.7 ± 7.0 kg) engaged in a 5-day (two rest days, one light training, heavy training and match day) monitoring period. Energy intake (EI) and expenditure during exercise (EEE) were measured. EA was calculated and categorised as optimal, reduced or low (≥45, 31-44, ≤30 kcal·kg FFM-1·day-1, respectively). Relationships between EA and bone mineral density, resting metabolic rate (RMR), plasma micronutrient status, biochemical markers and survey data were assessed. EA was optimal for 15%, reduced for 62% and low for 23% of players. Higher EA was observed on rest days compared to others (P<0.05). EA was higher for the light compared to the heavy training day (P<0.001). EEE differed significantly between days (P<0.05). EI (2124 ± 444 kcal), carbohydrate (3.31 ± 0.64 g·kg·day-1) and protein (1.83 ± 0.41 g·kg·day-1) intake remained similar (P>0.05). Survey data revealed 23% scored ≥ 8 on the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire and met criteria for low RMR (ratio <0.90). Relationships between EA and risk factors were inconclusive. Most players displayed reduced EA and did not alter EI or carbohydrate intake to training or match demands. Although cases of low EA were identified, further work is needed to investigate possible long-term effects and risk factors of low and reduced EA separately to inform player recommendations.

A unique collaboration w’ 18 teams from Europe’s Big 5 Leagues

Twitter, Arsenal Performance and Research Team from

‘Exercise-Based Strategies to Prevent Muscle Injury in Male Elite Footballers: An Expert-Led Delphi Survey’

Exercise-Based Strategies to Prevent Muscle Injury in Male Elite Footballers: An Expert-Led Delphi Survey of 21 Practitioners Belonging to 18 Teams from the Big-5 European Leagues

Sports Medicine journal from


To define based on expert opinion and practical experience using a systematic and scientific approach, (1) the perceived most effective exercise-based strategies to prevent muscle injury in elite footballers; and, (2) when and how these exercise programs are prescribed based on the number of days between games i.e. implementation strategy.

A Delphi survey obtained opinions and assessed for agreement. Delphi respondents consisted of 21 experienced sports practitioners (12 ± 5.3 years in elite football and with an academic background) belonging to 18 teams from the Big-5 European football leagues; England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain. Three teams were represented collaboratively by two experts. The Delphi process involves sequential rounds each evolving based on the responses from the previous. The number of rounds is not pre-defined and continues until an agreement is either achieved or it is clear that no agreement will be reached. Frequency of responses was recorded where the agreement was sought (i.e. in closed questions) and an agreement was achieved if ≥ 13/18 (70%) respondents agreed. For open-ended questions, a qualitative content analysis was performed to identify recurring themes and when themes were specified by ≥ 13 (70%), these were also considered as reaching an agreement. Practitioners had the opportunity to raise concerns if they disagreed with the ‘agreement from recurrent themes’.

There were four Delphi rounds (100% response for each round). Sprinting and High-Speed Running (HSR) focused exercises were agreed as most effective (perceived) to prevent muscle injuries. Eccentric exercise was perceived as the next most effective. It was agreed that sprinting and HSR be integrated into coaches training, and target 100% of players worst-case match scenario (e.g. volume, intensity) based on individual maximum speeds. Eccentric exercise was recommended to be implemented according to the context of the main football session and planned/actual sprinting and HSR content. It was agreed that eccentrics can be performed before or after training, context dependent. The day to perform specific sprinting and HSR or eccentric exercises depended on the proximity of previous and upcoming matches. Other exercises reaching agreement as ‘somewhat effective’ included concentric and isometric, horizontal and vertical plyometrics, coordination, core and dynamic flexibility in addition to core stability. No agreement was reached for multi-joint, resisted sprinting, kicking or agility exercises nor simultaneous single-leg strength and stability. Finally, no agreement was reached regarding programming variables e.g. sets, repetitions as deemed too contextual.

Regarding exercise-based strategies, particular importance agreed by the Delphi expert group was to focus on sprinting, HSR and eccentric exercises, integrated with a variety of other exercise modes which also carry some level of effectiveness in a multidimensional programme. Context was agreed to be key and decision-making about when to undertake/ how to prescribe exercise strategies to be made according to the content of normal football training and the proximity of matches. [full text]

Profiling the Post-match Top-up Conditioning Practices of Professional Soccer Substitutes

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

Soccer practitioners implement “top-up” conditioning sessions to compensate for substitutes’ limited match-play exposure. Although perceived to be valuable for reducing injury risk and augmenting positive physical adaptations, little research has considered the demands of post-match top-up training. To quantify post-match top-up responses, 31 professional soccer players wore 10 Hz microelectromechanical systems after 37 matches whereby they were selected in the match-day squad as substitutes (184 observations; 6 ± 5 observations·player−1). Linear mixed models and effect sizes (ES) assessed the influence of contextual factors on 23 physical performance variables. Top-ups lasted 17.13 ± 7.44 minutes, eliciting total and high-speed distances of 1.7 ± 6.2 km and 0.4 ± 1.7 km, respectively. Each contextual factor (i.e., position, substitution timing, match location, result, time of day, stage of the season, and fixture density) influenced at least 4 of the dependent variables profiled (p ≤ 0.05). Top-up duration; total, moderate-speed, and low-speed distance; and the number of repeated high-intensity efforts were greater for unused vs. used substitutes (ES: 0.38–0.73, small to moderate). Relative to away matches, home top-ups elicited heightened total, low-speed, and high-speed distances, alongside more moderate-speed accelerations and decelerations, and repeated high-intensity efforts (ES: 0.25–0.89, small to moderate). Although absolute and relative running distances were generally the highest when the fixture density was low, the greatest acceleration and deceleration demands were observed during the most congested fixture periods. Late-season top-ups typically elicited lower absolute physical responses than early and mid-season sessions. These data provide important information for practitioners when considering the aims and design of substitute top-up conditioning sessions, particularly with reference to contextual influences.

How Your Hips Affect Your Hamstrings

Podium Runner, Jay Dicharry from

… When tissues get in too long of a position, that’s when the strain increases and they break down.

Three things cause hamstrings to get over-lengthened and over-strained:

1) Your hamstrings are too short for what you need to do.

GPS Accuracy: University Study says V800 most accurate GPS Watch

the5krunner blog from

A new GPS accuracy study of sports watches from the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport (Magglingen) finds an ageing Polar V800 to be the most accurate recorder of distance. Many runners have known either the V800 or Suunto Ambit 3 to be the most accurate for many years so it is interesting to have this validated by scientists.

Get a Glimpse of Alabama’s New Sports Science Center Part One

Sports Illustrated, Bama Central blog, Tyler Martin from

The University of Alabama football team’s official Twitter account will be releasing videos over the coming days showcasing the school’s new Sports Science Center.

On Thursday afternoon, the first one detailing the athletic training room and the rehab process was released. In the almost 3-minute clip, head athletic trainer Jeff Allen and director of football rehabilitation Jeremy Gsell walk fans through some of the features that Crimson Tide athletes will be able to access.

Interview with Marc Habermann – #CVPR2020 award winner

ΑΙhub from

Marc Habermann received an Honorable Mention in the Best Student Paper category at CVPR 2020 for work with Weipeng Xu, Michael Zollhöfer, Gerard Pons-Moll and Christian Theobalt on “DeepCap: Monocular Human Performance Capture Using Weak Supervision”. Here, Marc tells us more about their research, the main results of their paper, and plans for further improvements to their model.

What is the topic of the research in your paper?

The topic of our work is monocular human performance capture which focuses on capturing the pose as well as the deforming 3D surface of a person from a single RGB video. In a daily life scenario, one can then record a video of a person just using his smartphone and DeepCap can recover the 3D geometry of the person who was recorded. It is worth noting that the monocular setting makes it especially challenging due to the inherent depth ambiguity and the large amount of occlusions.

The risk of contracting a blood-borne pathogen during sport is very low

FIFA Medical Platform from

This position statement provides clear, practical and evidence-based advice about blood-borne pathogens (BBPs) including HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis D virus (HDV as they relate to sports participation.

In general, the available evidence suggests that the prevalence of BBPs among athletes is similar to that of the general population, suggesting that participating in sport does not increase the risk of contracting this type of condition. One study estimated the risk of HIV transmission in American Football, which involves a much higher risk of bleeding than football, at 1 per 85 million game contacts. High-risk behaviours outside of sport, such as unprotected sex and the sharing of injection-related equipment, is likely to be the most common route of transmission among players.

Soccer: FIFPRO wants specific measures to protect players from overload

Reuters, Brian Homewood from

The global footballers’ union FIFPRO wants concrete safeguards to protect players from fixture overload and the consequent risk of injury as the sport catches up with a backlog of matches following the novel coronavirus stoppage.

There are injury risks in unprecedented NBA restart after four-month hiatus

EverythingGP, Canadian Press from

If a high-performance athlete was a violin, Stuart Phillips says he or she would be a Stradivarius.

Famous for their rich quality of sound, Stradivarius violins perform at unparalleled levels. The precious instruments take special caring. They’re also worth millions.

“Pro athletes and NBA players in particular, they’re high end. . . and so you take away their supports and they become vulnerable,” said Phillips, director of The McMaster Physical Activity Centre of Excellence.

Baseball’s home run surge is fueled by launch angle, backspin, and quirks of the ball

Philadelphia Inquirer, Tom Avril from

… Batters slugged 6,776 homers in 2019, breaking the record of 6,105 set in 2017 with the ease that [Andrew] McCutchen’s blast cleared the outfield wall at Citizens Bank Park.

Less clear is why. Some have credited the “launch angle revolution” — the tendency of hitters to swing with an uppercut motion in hope of driving the ball to the outfield, instead of on a level plane that would maximize their chances of making contact. Others suspected the balls were “juiced,” or that batters were simply smacking them harder. Then there’s the effect of backspin, which can keep a ball aloft longer.

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