Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 12, 2021

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


Alex Morgan back with US national team, daughter in tow

Associated Press, Anne M. Peterson from

… Following Charlie’s arrival last May, Morgan wanted to get training and playing time to get back into game shape.

Opportunities were limited stateside. Her National Women’s Soccer League team, the Orlando Pride, did not play in the league’s Challenge Cup tournament last summer and the subsequent fall series was limited to just four games.

So she opted to go overseas to play for Tottenham, bringing Charlie with her.

Training site EXOS to simulate combine setting for NFL draft prospects with two-day event

ESPN NFL, Jeremy Fowler from

EXOS, which is training more than 130 NFL draft prospects this offseason, will host a two-day pro day later this month that will simulate a combine setting.

The NFL altered the format of the NFL scouting combine this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, announcing last month that all in-person workouts would take place at campus pro days, scrapping the annual centralized event in Indianapolis.

The EXOS event will take place Feb. 26-27 at its locations in Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Facilitating and Supporting the Elite Athlete-to-Coach Transition: Lessons Learned from Norwegian Coaches and Federations

Journal of Sport Psychology in Action from

Elite athletic career termination is inevitable in high performance sport. Whether due to interest, injury, age or combination of factors, athletes will undergo a shift in their professional and personal identity. While retirement out of sport has been scrutinized to both understand and support athletes, we have not thought through what the athlete-to-coach, within-sport retirement, signifies for the person undergoing it and for our applied practice and lack the approach(es) for supporting it. Based on recent research advances, we build on a range of resources to be developed in supporting athletes during the transition and in the coaching profession. [full text]

The secret training diary of an ageing athlete

Irish Times, Sonia O’Sullivan from

… Just recently, while trackside at the Zatopek 10,000m event in Melbourne, the athletes were having their names read out on the start line: they came to Sinead Diver and we were also alerted to her being 41 (not even her correct age), and continually reminded of this as the race went on, until mid-race when Sinead seemed to have aged two years, as we were reminded that the evergreen 43-year old was able to compete with athletes half her age.

Sinead was relaxed enough to comment on the start line; I wonder will everyone else also have their age announced, does it make any difference if the athlete is good enough and has prepared well enough then why do we need to know this statistic? Does it make the performance any greater?

My Performance Bugbear – with Lorena Torres

Leaders in Performance from

… In the first of an occasional Leaders Performance Institute series, Torres reveals her greatest performance bugbear: people or subgroups that undermine the work of high performance teams. However, she also gives some strategies on how leaders can manage this challenge.

Can you think of a common performance practice you’ve seen across sport that you dislike?

LT: The first thing that comes to my mind relates to working with professionals or subgroups that within a club can turn sour. When there is a team or a department with subgroups, the individuals within these subgroups may try to influence the staff team negatively by putting their own needs above those of the team.

Emotional Intelligence: How emotions are managed to achieve success in football coaching

Footy Analyst blog, Paul Grech from

… all the great football managers can imprint aspects of their character on to their team. Pep Guardiola’s calmness can be seen in the Manchester City’s patient build-up play whilst Jose Mourinho’s intransigent attitude can be seen in the defensive steeliness of all of his teams.

That should not come as much of a surprise.

To be a football manager at that level, confidence in your own ability must be absolute. You will also have spent years thinking on how you feel your teams should be playing; a vision that is likely to be heavily influenced by the way you view life in general. The classical examples are those of Bill Shankly and Sir Alex Ferguson’s, both of whose idea of a football team as a collection of individuals working hard for each other was borne out of their socialist convictions.

Medical tech firm with RIT roots gets $14 million boost

Rochester Beacon, Smriti Jacob from

With $16.6 million in total capital, Casana is ramping up its bid to transform in-home heart health monitoring. Formerly known as Heart Health Intelligence and run by software maven Austin McChord, the business recently secured $14 million in Series A funding. … “Our goal is to be able to monitor a patient’s health more naturally at home, without interruption of their daily routine,” McChord says. “The toilet seat is not a tech gadget. Unlike a wearable device, you can’t take it off, forget to use it or mess it up. If we do our job right, when patients use our effortless in-home heart monitoring device, we are invisible unless their health status needs attention.”

Smart Sock v2.0 and Sensoria Core Pair

Lower Extremity Review Magazine, Sensoria from

Sensoria Smart Socks are infused with proprietary textile pressure sensors at the plantar area of the foot. Paired with a Bluetooth Smart detachable Sensoria Core, these sensors provide metrics to help improve running performance while decreasing the likelihood of injury, including foot landing technique, contact time on ground, cadence, and impact score, in addition to time, pace, and distance metrics. The customized Sensoria Run mobile app includes an artificial intelligence coach that provides real-time audio and video cues. With Sensoria Run v2.0 and the web dashboard, the user receives a graphical representation and trend analysis after each session. Results can be displayed by session, day, week, or month, allowing comparisons to be made over time. With the company’s virtual shoe closet, the user is also able to evaluate their results and shoes against a database of over 8,000 models of running shoes.

Youth Coaching Tool Hopes to Revive Rec Sports ‘Mojo’

Sportico, Jacob Feldman from

“The way to impact the most kids is to go through the teacher,” MOJO co-founder Reed Shaffner said. Launching this month, MOJO will offer parents and coaches customizable practice plans and instructional videos.

“Our feeling is that somewhere along the way, youth sports got broken,” MOJO co-founder, CEO and former Disney Media Networks co-chairman Ben Sherwood said. “From 4-to-13-year-olds, we feel like that segment … is ignored by the sports industrial complex.”

Offering a free version and a premium one at $19.99/year, MOJO aims to make coaching easier and more fun for parents, with season-long curricula based on variables like player age, practice length and experience level, plus tweaks made as the season progresses. The app is launching with soccer tutorials, though other sports are expected within a year.

The most important legacy of the NFL season may have nothing to do with football

The Week, Zach Schonbrun from

… Late last month, the CDC released a study it jointly co-authored with several of the NFL’s leading medical experts based on a trove of data gathered from players and personnel over the first three months of the season. The news got buried under the avalanche of Super Bowl-related headlines. But it contained several eye-opening revelations.

Ronaldo and the all-time goal record: Why scoring isn’t the ultimate measure of greatness

ESPN FC, Gabriele Marcotti from

… So why is the goal-scoring record really flawed? Let me count the ways.

First and foremost, it’s based on adding international goals and club goals in a career that, frankly, nobody really did until recently. If we had, then the guy who held the record before him would be a household name even if only as some legendary unattainable pace-setter, like Cy Young with his 511 wins in baseball or Don Bradman’s 99.94 career Test average in cricket. But it’s not. Ask around. Poll your friends. If anybody tells you that they knew Josef “Pepi” Bican was the all-time greatest goal scorer in football before last month, they’re probably one of three things: Czech, a football historian or a liar.

AP Exclusive: MLB average salary fell for 3rd straight year

Associated Press, Ronald Blum from

The average Major League Baseball salary dropped for an unprecedented third straight year, even before the shortened season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Major League Baseball Players Association said Thursday the 2020 average would have been $3.89 million if a full season had been played. That was down 4.2% from the 2019 average of $4.05 million and represented a 5.2% decrease from the record average of just under $4.1 million in 2017. The average started to slip in 2018, falling by $1,436.

Because the pandemic caused players to receive roughly 37% of pay last year, the actual average plunged to $1.59 million, its lowest since 1998.

How Gonzaga Zagged

Sports Illustrated, Greg Bishop from

Mark Few built a major program at a small school but has yet to win the big one. Could his current squad be the one that does it?

Tensions rising: NHL multigame series ratchet up animosity

Associated Press, Stephen Whyno from

It turns out Saturday night was all right for fighting between Arizona and St. Louis. Monday night, too.

Coyotes and Blues players dropped the gloves in both games, which were the third and fourth consecutive against each other. They will play three more times in four days — that’s right, seven games in a row, like a playoff series that goes the distance, and a regular-season first for the NHL.

Tensions will continue to rise.

“If you’re going to play a team seven times in a row, it’s going to happen,” Coyotes forward Conor Garland said. “You’re going to have individual battles and then team battles. It’s hockey. It’s just the way it goes.”

StatsBomb Data Case Studies: Pressures

StatsBomb from

As football fans, we all know how exciting it can be to see a team close in on their opposition, hunting the ball as a ferocious collective, and seeing the composure visibly drain from the team in possession. We know what this looks like on the pitch, but what does it look like in the data? Time to investigate what contrasting out-of-possession approaches look like using StatsBomb’s pressure data.

Making Sense Of: Less Sports

I watch a lot less sports now than I did one year ago. Sports media is often the background noise that occupies my continuous partial attention while I curate newsletter content. It’s still lots of time to spend curating but I don’t enjoy the background sports audio and television as much as I used to. Have I changed or has sports media changed? Both, I think.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Americans are doing more and watching less. For example, 22% more Americans play tennis than in the past, and last weekend’s Super Bowl had its smallest audience since 2006.

In my case I’m running 50-60 miles per week, up from 35-40 twelve months ago. It’s been a comfortable, mostly injury-free progression since I moved to Vermont in August. And it’s occurred even as the temperatures drop and the snow piles up. (Current temp as I write this -1 F.) Wearable technology has helped me to avoid overdoing things. It hasn’t just more time in joggers, it has also been more time sleeping to recover. I would estimate a ~10 hour per week shift away from working in front of screens.

I feel good, but I also felt good running less last year. It’s far easier now to turn off the media and either head outside or work in silence. My evidence is again anecdotal, but sports media seems to be talking more and saying less. I am less likely to be entertained or impressed by something I see or hear with sports on in the background. The products are not as good or as relevant, and as a result, not as necessary. I haven’t read or heard sports media critics echoing this sentiment, probably because they too seem to be talking more and saying less.

What do I miss as I’ve trimmed the fat from my sports media diet? For the past few years I loved winter-time tennis. Seeing athletes perform in the sun of Australia or Florida while I was freezing, knee deep in snow was weirdly cathartic. I loved it when Chris Evert would bust John McEnroe’s chops when they were onscreen together. The sport has been evolving rapidly with applied sports science and the commentary has been consistently smart. That’s everything I want in my sports product.

One idea at the core of this newsletter is that applied sports science improves the product of sports. More athleticism, fewer injuries, better commentary are topline benefits and show the potential for sports science to make everything about sports better. I’m rooting for more quality sports product but I worry that it’s trending the other direction.

Thanks for reading.

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