Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 16, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 16, 2021


Nets look to add to medical staff in wake of injury-filled season

New York Post, Brian Lewis from

The Nets are adamant a litany of injuries scuttled what would have been a title-contending season, and they seem intent on avoiding a repeat next year.

Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie all suffered significant injuries, and now Nets parent company BSE Global is looking for a Head of Performance Therapy. They posted an ad for the job Tuesday.

With the Big 3 all under contract through 2022-23, keeping them not only extended, but also healthy is priority No. 1. It should be noted that there is no change at the top of the department, so this doesn’t represent any kind of punitive firing. It’s more likely to be an addition and possible restructuring.

Sleep and your health: Everything you need to know

BBC Science Focus Magazine, Dr. Matthew Walker from

Our 24/7 society seems to be slowly robbing us of our slumber, but at what cost? Sleep expert, professor of neuroscience and author of Why we sleep Dr Matthew Walker explores all the ways sleep can benefit our brains and our health.

What Parents Don’t Get About Kids and Sports

League of Fans blog, Ken Reed from

… 1. Kids just want to have fun. Parents just don’t get this, kids say. Many kids would rather play on a losing team than sit on the bench on a winning one. “The thing that bugs me the most is that my parents take it too seriously,” summed up one child. “They act like it is school.”

In-season training responses and perceived wellbeing and recovery status in professional soccer players

PLOS One; Nuno Mateus et al. from

This study aimed to describe professional soccer players’ training responses during a competitive season and to investigate the relationship between these responses with wellbeing and recovery indices. Thirteen professional soccer players from the same Spanish Second Division team were monitored during a sixteen-week in-season period. Players’ external loads were analyzed using global positioning measurement units (GPS). Additionally, subjective reporting of sleep quality, sleep duration, fatigue, muscle soreness, and stress were assessed with a customized wellness questionnaire at the beginning of each training session. A two-step cluster analysis identified profiles of different training responses generally described as lower-demand sessions, intermediate-demand sessions, running-based sessions, and sprint-based sessions; which were discriminated by different total distance covered and high-intensity actions. Interestingly, no probabilistic interactions were found between these training responses with wellbeing and recovery markers (i.e., Bayes factor < 1 suggesting no evidence, for all the variables). These findings may raise concerns about using self-reporting tools, as they show that players’ wellness data is probably not accounted for when coaching staff plan and optimize the training process. However, results should be interpreted with caution, due to representing a single team and coaching staff.

South Tacoma United Evolution plays for national championship

Tacoma News Tribune, Jon Manley from

… South Tacoma United, a merger between the South Tacoma Soccer Club and Tacoma United, is Tacoma’s oldest youth soccer club. Between the team fees, travel and uniforms, parents generally pay somewhere in the ballpark of $800 per year for their kids to play on the team. The nonprofit organization’s broader mission is to make competitive soccer affordable for all families and kids, particularly kids of color.

Maximum Acceleration and Deceleration – Metric Considerations and Uses

STATSports from

High-intensity accelerations and decelerations (≥3 m.s-²) are extremely common in field sports with reports of up to 46 high-intensity accelerations and 73 high-intensity decelerations during match play in elite academy footballers [1]. Furthermore, accelerations and decelerations contribute significantly to the total high intensity running distances and sprinting distances in women’s football matches and occur more frequently during a match than any other running metric [2].

Athletes with better acceleration and deceleration capabilities will therefore gain performance benefits due to the high volume and intensity of such actions taking place in games. This, alongside the biomechanical stress and muscle damage associated with high-intensity accelerations and decelerations, shows the importance of monitoring these metrics across a squad [3].

This applied insight will look towards maximum accelerations and maximum decelerations as metrics and why they can be beneficial for a practitioner to use and monitor.

The science of habits

Knowable Magazine, Stephanie Parker from

… Habits are like shortcuts — they’re things we can do quickly and without thinking because we’ve done them so often they’ve become automatic, says behavioral scientist Katy Milkman of the University of Pennsylvania.

One important feature of habits is that they’re triggered by cues in our surroundings, says Wendy Wood, a social psychologist at the University of Southern California whose research focuses on how we form and change habits. The trigger could be a time of day, a particular place or a different activity. Getting out of bed each morning and shuffling to the kitchen, for example, might trigger you to scoop some beans into a grinder and go through the motions of making coffee. Habitual behaviors generally offer a reward — in this case, a freshly brewed cup.

In an ideal world, good habits such as exercising, healthy eating and reading would be as easy to acquire as brewing coffee. Unfortunately, that’s frequently not the case. “Oftentimes, the things that are immediately rewarding in our environment are not the things that meet our long-term goals,” Wood says. “We haven’t managed to organize the environment in a way that allows us to easily form good habits.”

How AI is helping elite athletes perform their best at Tokyo’s Olympics

Silicon Republic, Blathnaid O’Dea from

Irish company Orreco wants to help athletes win big using AI and biomarker tools, including a menstrual cycle tracker.

Irish specialist sports performance company Orreco has used AI and biomarker tools to help more than 100 elite athletes prepare for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.

Good and Bad Monitoring. You remember that time you…

Medium, Eric Pyle from

You remember that time you passive-aggressively completed a story in the most useless way possible to check that checkbox? That’s most monitoring systems.

Take a look at your project’s compilation warnings. If you’re using NPM, you’ll see the impossible to resolve deprecation warnings a mile long and quickly realize how much people ignore issues. Still, something has everyone convinced that people actually want to fix things. What leads to this massive disconnect? Bad monitoring. Let’s go over traits of a good and bad system.

OpenSense: An open-source toolbox for Inertial-Measurement-Unit-based measurement of lower extremity kinematics over long durations

bioRxiv; Mazen Al Borno et al. from

Background The ability to measure joint kinematics in natural environments over long durations using inertial measurement units (IMUs) could enable at-home monitoring and personalized treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. However, drift, or the accumulation of error over time, inhibits the accurate measurement of movement over long durations. We sought to develop an open-source workflow to estimate lower extremity joint kinematics from IMU data that was accurate, and capable of assessing and mitigating drift.

Methods We computed IMU-based estimates of kinematics using sensor fusion and an inverse kinematics approach with a constrained biomechanical model. We measured kinematics for 11 subjects as they performed two 10-minute trials: walking and a repeated sequence of varied lower-extremity movements. To validate the approach, we compared the joint angles computed with IMU orientations to the joint angles computed from optical motion capture using root mean square (RMS) difference and Pearson correlations, and estimated drift using a linear regression on each subject’s RMS differences over time.

Results IMU-based kinematic estimates agreed with optical motion capture; median RMS differences over all subjects and all minutes were between 3-6 degrees for all joint angles except hip rotation and correlation coefficients were moderate to strong (r = 0.60 to 0.87). We observed minimal drift in the RMS differences over ten minutes; the average slopes of the linear fits to these data were near zero (−0.14 to 0.17 deg/min).

Conclusions Our workflow produced joint kinematics consistent with those estimated by optical motion capture, and could mitigate kinematic drift even in the trials of continuous walking without rest, obviating the need for explicit sensor recalibration (e.g. sitting or standing still for a few seconds or zero-velocity updates) used in current drift-mitigation approaches. This could enable long-duration measurements, bringing the field one step closer to estimating kinematics in natural environments.

Introducing SageMotion: Wearable Haptic Feedback System for Movement Training

Biomch-L, Peter Shull from

Haptic feedback is a powerful way to train human motion by stimulating mechanoreceptors in the skin for a wide range of impacting medical and athletic applications, such as to reduce joint loading, correct asymmetry or reduce injury risk.

Sensing leg movement enhances wearable monitoring of energy expenditure

Nature Communications journals from

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of global mortality. Health organizations have requested a tool to objectively measure physical activity. Respirometry and doubly labeled water accurately estimate energy expenditure, but are infeasible for everyday use. Smartwatches are portable, but have significant errors. Existing wearable methods poorly estimate time-varying activity, which comprises 40% of daily steps. Here, we present a Wearable System that estimates metabolic energy expenditure in real-time during common steady-state and time-varying activities with substantially lower error than state-of-the-art methods. We perform experiments to select sensors, collect training data, and validate the Wearable System with new subjects and new conditions for walking, running, stair climbing, and biking. The Wearable System uses inertial measurement units worn on the shank and thigh as they distinguish lower-limb activity better than wrist or trunk kinematics and converge more quickly than physiological signals. When evaluated with a diverse group of new subjects, the Wearable System has a cumulative error of 13% across common activities, significantly less than 42% for a smartwatch and 44% for an activity-specific smartwatch. This approach enables accurate physical activity monitoring which could enable new energy balance systems for weight management or large-scale activity monitoring.

NFL funding study on its most common injury: hamstrings

Associated Press, Rob Maaddi from

The NFL is funding a study that will investigate the prevention and treatment of hamstring injuries.

They are the most common NFL injuries and nearly 75% of them result in missed time.

The league’s Scientific Advisory Board on Thursday announced a four-year, $4 million award to a team of medical researchers led by the University of Wisconsin. The study is part of the NFL’s effort to better understand and prevent lower-extremity injuries, including soft tissue strains such as hamstrings.

Opinion: Don’t push tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams into retirement; we’ll all regret it

USA Today Sports, Dan Wolken from

There is only one sport where a player can still be in the top fraction of the top one percent in the world and be asked every day when they’re going to retire. There is only one sport where a result that would be considered excellent for nearly every one of their peers becomes cause for a meltdown.

But when you look at where tennis has been for the last two amazing decades and where it’s headed once Roger Federer and Serena Williams eventually exit, the sport is going to regret the ubiquitous notion that it was time for them to go just because they stopped winning Grand Slams.

Heck yeah, last talk of the day has @benhowell71 tackling aging curves!! I’ve been waiting for someone to take on the mantle since RITSAC 2019 and Mike’s work on the NCAA last year

Twitter, Carlie from

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