Applied Sports Science newsletter – January 12, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for January 12, 2021


Vlatko Andonovski: Rapinoe, Lloyd “ahead of” schedule on return to USWNT

Equalizer Soccer, Rachael Kriger from

… Andonovski, when speaking to the media on Wednesday, said that both players were monitored during their time away from the national team with GPS tracking devices. He said that Rapinoe and Lloyd did a “tremendous” job working out and getting in shape on their own.

“Everything is documented, everything they do, we follow,” Andonovski said. “We have a pretty good idea of where they stand. In fact, both of them are a little bit ahead of what we expected them to be, from the physical standpoint. The only thing they’re missing is the team training. It’s good that we have eight or nine trainings before going to the match. Both of them are excited to get the minutes in the first or second game.”

‘Hunting for unicorns’ — Why finding the next Derrick Henry might be a fool’s errand

Yahoo Sports, Eric Edholm from

Is Derrick Henry one of a kind? Or is he a product of a hefty workload and a strong surrounding cast? Are there other sledgehammers out there who could give their team the kind of power and impact that Henry provides the Tennessee Titans? Perhaps a differently shaped back could produce at Henry’s level if given the proper chance.

On top of all of that, how good is Henry in relation to the league’s other backs? And do his back-to-back brilliant seasons change the way running backs get scouted?

The answer to these questions depends on who you ask.

Alabama strength coach Dave Ballou brings Indiana roots to National Championship game

Indianapolis Star, Kyle Neddenriep from

Ryan Osborn shakes his head and marvels at the road David Ballou has traveled since they worked together at Avon, where Osborn was assistant basketball coach and Ballou was the strength and conditioning coach.

“Dave was my best friend at Avon,” Osborn said. “We worked together for six years, lived in the same neighborhood, our girls are the same age and grew up together. I didn’t see myself ever leaving that. It just fit.”

Things happen for a reason, Osborn said. He left to join coach Scott Heady’s basketball staff at Carmel and replaced him when Heady took the job at Marian University. Osborn led the Greyhounds to the Class 4A state title in his second season in 2018-19.

BLOG: Benefits of strength and conditioning programs for adolescent female athletes

Healio, Orthopedics Today, Mary K. Mulcahey from

… There are numerous health-related concerns that are unique to the female athlete, including iron deficiency anemia, stress urinary incontinence, breast issues, amenorrhea, osteopenia and increased rates of certain musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, girls experience several physical changes during puberty, such as increases in body mass and height, the onset of menstruation and decreased strength. These anatomical and physiological changes may impact sports participation and be a source of emotional stress. Female athletes are at higher risk for certain musculoskeletal injuries including ACL tears, patellofemoral pain syndrome, stress fractures and the female athlete triad.

Identifying Reliable and Relatable Force–Time Metrics in Athletes—Considerations for the Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull and Countermovement Jump

MDPI, Sports journal from

The purpose of this study was to evaluate intrasession reliability of countermovement jump (CMJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) force–time characteristics, as well as relationships between CMJ and IMTP metrics. Division I sport and club athletes (n = 112) completed two maximal effort CMJ and IMTP trials, in that order, on force plates. Relative and absolute reliability were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) > 0.80 and coefficients of variation (CVs) < 10%. Intrasession reliability was acceptable for the majority of the CMJ force–time metrics except for concentric rate of force development (RFD), eccentric impulse and RFD, and lower limb stiffness. The IMTP’s time to peak force, instantaneous force at 150 ms, instantaneous net force, and RFD measures were not reliable. Statistically significant weak to moderate relationships (r = 0.20–0.46) existed between allometrically scaled CMJ and IMTP metrics, with the exception of CMJ eccentric mean power not being related with IMTP performances. A majority of CMJ and IMTP metrics met acceptable reliability standards, except RFD measures which should be used with caution. Provided CMJs and IMTPs are indicative of distinct physical fitness capabilities, it is suggested to monitor athlete performance in both tests via changes in those variables that demonstrate the greatest degree of reliability. [full text]

Female Athletes Need to See Puberty as a Power, Not a Weakness

The Atlantic, Alexi Pappas from

When I was growing up, my natural ability was a big factor in my athletic prowess. With a wiry body and unusually long limbs, I managed to become one of the top young runners in California. I finished fourth in the state in my sophomore year of high school. At the same time, I was also developing an interest in other activities—student government, theater, competitive soccer, and a social life. But being a well-rounded teenager was not what my private high school’s athletic leadership wanted.

At the beginning of my junior year, they gave me an ultimatum: I would need to quit soccer so I could concentrate on track. My coach felt it was best to force high-school athletes to specialize. But this only applied to girls; the boys at my school were allowed to play multiple sports. That was the first moment that I realized the distance-running world is not structured to embrace female athletes.

I did not feel ready to specialize in anything, especially a sport I was good at but had not yet fallen in love with. I was a late bloomer, and I was gradually growing into the sport just as I was gradually growing into myself. So I left the track team.

Occupational #wearables for monitoring low back load have potential to improve ergonomic assessments & enable personalized, continuous monitoring of overexertion injury risk in the workplace.

Twitter, Karl Zelik from

We wanted to know: if we can only use a small number of wearable sensors to monitor low back loading, then which sensors should we use, where should we place them, what type of algorithm should we employ, & how accurately can we monitor back loading during material handling?

To address this we synchronously collected data from the #biomechanics lab & from #wearables to analyze 10 individuals each performing 400 different material handling tasks. We explored dozens of candidate solutions that used IMUs on various body locations & pressure insoles.

Initiative to employ AI in behavioral health monitoring

Cornell University, Cornell Chronicle from

Behavioral health issues like depression and bipolar disorder don’t often manifest with the kinds of clear, outward symptoms that presage the common cold.

But technologies such as smartphones and smartwatches could be used to detect subtle changes in behavior and help willing individuals – in coordination with their doctors – better monitor and manage their conditions.

Tanzeem Choudhury, the Roger and Joelle Burnell Professor in Integrated Health and Technology at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, sees incredible potential for artificial intelligence (AI) in the area of behavioral health, a term encompassing all aspects of mental well-being. To that end, Choudhury this fall launched the Precision Behavioral Health Initiative, a collaboration between health industry professionals and faculty and students throughout Cornell Computing and Information Science.

Based at Cornell Tech in New York City but spanning Cornell’s Ithaca campus and Weill Cornell Medicine, the initiative aims to usher mobile health into a new, AI-driven phase that bridges prevailing gaps in accurate measurement, customized intervention and clinical impact.

Arsenal’s Arteta raises the big picture issue

US Soccer Players from

… “Morally, with the situation we have in the county, with the situation we have worldwide, to keep doing what we are doing is a little bit of a strange feeling,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said during a press conference on Monday. We know as well what we can bring to society if we are able to do it in a safe way, then there are a lot of positives to take. It’s just that balance. When this starts to get damaging and worrying and it starts to exploit people, and when we can do it and it’s still safe and we can add something positive. It’s a difficult context.”

The Role of the Immune System in Sports Performance

Barca Innovation Hub, Javier Granda from

The immune system is our body’s defence system against external elements such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It has been proven that physical activity, following adequate training, activates it, thus strengthening our barriers. Nevertheless, the high demands of competitive sport, with two and up to three matches per week, can cause the immune system to be suppressed. This is what is called immunosuppression.

For this reason, the key is to find the balance as the demands of elite competition imply maximum-intensity efforts. We need to also take in mind the emotional stress and alterations in the intestinal barrier due to both intense exercise and sleeping patterns, with numerous trips taking place to play the matches scheduled.

All these elements from elite sports can reverse the protective effect of exercise on the immune system, lowering the defences. This immunosuppression can occur after exercising or it can be due to a lack of sleep, causing the athlete to have alterations in the intestinal microbiota or making him have a greater predisposition to suffer infections such as colds or flu.

The Missing Dialogue on Ultra-Processed Foods

ConscienHealth from

New publications about the role of ultra-processed foods in health and food systems remind us about a missing dialogue. Food policy advocates are very clear that food systems should evolve to favor minimally processed food. Nutrition scientists know that ultra-processed foods have an association with poor health outcomes. But they also know that the science has important limitations. And then finally, food scientists and producers know that food processing is essential for feeding the world.

We have plenty of knowledge on these subjects, but not so much interdisciplinary dialogue.

Assessing the whole-body protein synthetic response to feeding in vivo in human subjects

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society journal from

All tissues are in a constant state of turnover, with a tightly controlled regulation of protein synthesis and breakdown rates. Due to the relative ease of sampling skeletal muscle tissue, basal muscle protein synthesis rates and the protein synthetic responses to various anabolic stimuli have been well defined in human subjects. In contrast, only limited data are available on tissue protein synthesis rates in other organs. Several organs such as the brain, liver and pancreas, show substantially higher (basal) protein synthesis rates when compared to skeletal muscle tissue. Such data suggest that these tissues may also possess a high level of plasticity. It remains to be determined whether protein synthesis rates in these tissues can be modulated by external stimuli. Whole-body protein synthesis rates are highly responsive to protein intake. As the contribution of muscle protein synthesis rates to whole-body protein synthesis rates is relatively small considering the large amount of muscle mass, this suggests that other organ tissues may also be responsive to (protein) feeding. Whole-body protein synthesis rates in the fasted or fed state can be quantified by measuring plasma amino acid kinetics, although this requires the production of intrinsically labelled protein. Protein intake requirements to maximise whole-body protein synthesis may also be determined by the indicator amino acid oxidation technique, but the technique does not allow the assessment of actual protein synthesis and breakdown rates. Both approaches have several other methodological and inferential limitations that will be discussed in detail in this paper. [full text]

What’s it like recruiting during the coronavirus pandemic? We asked Arizona soccer assistant Sandy Davison

SB Nation, Arizona Desert Swarm blog, Ryan Kelapire from

Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the NCAA to institute a mandatory dead period that bans in-person evaluations and prohibits college coaches from hosting recruits on on-campus visits.

Essentially that means everything is being done remotely for the foreseeable future.

Arizona soccer assistant coach Sandy Davison gave us a peek at what that entails when she posted a Tweet that read “COVID recruiting 2.0” along with a picture of her laptop streaming a game in her home office in Tucson.

2021 College Football Semifinals Showcases the Biggest Spenders

Sportico, Lev Akabas from

In any given season of the College Football Playoff’s brief seven-year history, at least two schools among the quartet of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame have always been selected. Today’s semifinals will be no different.

Even though Notre Dame received a drubbing at the hands of Clemson two weeks ago and Ohio State only played a six-game slate, the selection committee saw no reason to deviate from the teams we’re most accustomed to seeing. Alabama is making its sixth appearance in seven years, Clemson its fifth, Ohio State its fourth and Notre Dame its second.

College football under COVID: Was 2020 season worth it?

Sports Illustrated, Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger from

In the uncertain days of July, when nobody knew whether there would or should be a college football season, the angst level was high among university administrators. COVID-19 numbers were soaring—though they would seem pretty tame by today’s horrendous standards—and campuses were largely closed. Were we really going to try to do this?

“I hope we’re not selling our souls to the devil to try to play,” a Power 5 athletic director told Sports Illustrated then. It was a sobering quote.

Six months later, with just a single game remaining in a messy but nearly complete season, we circled back to give the same athletic director an exit interview. The single overriding question: Was it worth it?

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