Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 19, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 19, 2021


The program and the pedigree: How Jack Leiter was molded into everything the Texas Rangers crave

Dallas Morning News, Evan Grant from

… In the Rangers’ minds, the stuff separated Leiter from others, including his highly regarded teammate Kumar Rocker, whom the team had scouted with similar zeal. While the stuff was a separator, it was his background that elevated him even more.

He was not only the best pitcher in the country, but came from Vanderbilt, a college powerhouse renowned for developing elite MLB pitchers. His comes not just from a baseball family, but from one deeply rooted in the game, one in which the art of pitching was a household language.

“He fits everything we’re trying to accomplish as an organization,” Young said. “From every standpoint: as a player, as a talent, as a competitor. But most importantly as a person. … He embodies everything that we want in terms of our culture and what we want in our players.”

USWNT star Alex Morgan ready to chase second Olympic gold medal in Tokyo

Orlando Sentinel, Julia Poe from

“Honestly, we’re going to have to rally each other,” Morgan said. “You’re gonna hear the players on the bench, you’re gonna hear each other so much more clearly. … It’ll be really different but we have to be able to imitate fans around us and that kind of energy. … We have to know that our families and everyone are supporting us back home and give our best every game because every team is going to play their best against us.”

Despite the unique restrictions of this Olympic Games, U.S. Soccer attempted to create a typical pre-tournament environment by taking the team to Miyazaki — a city on the island of Kyushu — for a week before the tournament began.

During this time, the Americans acclimated to the new time zone and the Japanese summer heat. After spending a full week training and living together, Morgan said the team felt familiar and comfortable together.

Williamson is USMNT’s late bloomer, the former teenage prodigy making up for lost time

ESPN FC, Jeff Carlisle from

… In the view of Portland manager Giovanni Savarese, he saw a player in Williamson that wasn’t doing everything that he could.

“I think when you are so talented, things are so easy, and you can get by with the minimum,” Savarese told ESPN about Williamson. “You’re still very good, but I don’t want the minimum of you. I want the best of you.”

It was in that period that patience proved to indeed be a virtue for Williamson and forced a reexamination of his approach to his career. Rather than focus on the broader picture of what he didn’t have or why he wasn’t in the lineup, he put his energy into the little steps that it took to improve his game.

Detroit Tigers won’t waver from Casey Mize’s restrictions

Detroit Free Press, Evan Petzold from

The Detroit Tigers were already wrestling with how to manage their starting rotation without injured frontline starters Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull. The problem swelled in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, as Jose Urena exited with a right groin strain.

Urena’s timetable to return from the injured list remains unclear.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old rookie Casey Mize is facing innings restrictions. The other 24-year-old rookie, Tarik Skubal, is expected to have his innings slashed soon. And 23-year-old rookie Matt Manning, scheduled to return from Triple-A Toledo for the upcoming series with the Texas Rangers, is still learning how to handle the big leagues.

Why Owen Power has become the clear No. 1 prospect in the 2021 NHL draft

ESPN NHL, Emily Kaplan from

… In a defense-heavy draft, which many evaluators have billed as a tough one to judge — the pandemic forced entire junior leagues to shut down and limited in-person exposure — Power still rises as a clear No. 1. One scout said that status was cemented at the 2021 IIHF World Championship, where Power — playing for the senior Canada team — became one of coach Gerard Gallant’s most trusted blueliners. Power averaged at least 24 minutes in all three elimination-round games, as Canada overcame a 0-3 start to win gold.

“It’s clear he was adjusting to the game, but also gaining trust from the coaching staff as the tournament went on,” said one scout who was in attendance. “If anyone was unsure of him then, they became a convert. He’s legit.”

Ogden native Brady Howe key behind-the-scenes part of Phoenix Suns run to NBA Finals

Ogden Standard-Examiner, Brett Hein from

Six games into the eight-game conclusion to the NBA’s COVID-disrupted, 2019-20 season that concluded in “the bubble” in Orlando, Florida, Brady Howe saw Damian Lillard down the hall in their shared hotel.

The surging Phoenix Suns were in the midst of an 8-0 bubble run under new head coach Monty Williams, a sudden playoff push that meant Howe, the Suns’ senior director of health and performance, had some banter for his college friend Lillard.

“I saw him and put my arm around him in the hallway and said ‘hey man, I need you to cool off a little bit.’ He smiled and shook his head, and said ‘you know I can’t do that,” Howe recalled.

A passive perspiration biofuel cell: High energy return on investment

Joule journal from

Self-powered wearable systems that rely on bioenergy harvesters commonly require excessive energy inputs from the human body and are highly inefficient when accounting for the overall energy expenses. A harvester independent from the external environment for sedentary states has yet to be developed. Herein, we present a touch-based lactate biofuel cell that leverages the high passive perspiration rate of fingertips for bioenergy harvesting. Powered by finger contact, such a bioenergy-harvesting process can continuously collect hundreds of mJ of energy during sleep without movements, representing the most efficient approach compared to any reported on-body harvesters. To maximize the energy harvesting, complementary piezoelectric generators were integrated under the biofuel cell to further scavenge mechanical energy from the finger presses. The harvesters can rapidly and efficiently power sensors and electrochromic displays to enable independent self-powered sensing. The passive perspiration-based harvester establishes a practical example of remarkably high energy return on investment for future self-sustainable electronic systems.

Real Madrid news: The reason for the ‘Bane masks’ in training explained

Squawka, Dr Rajpal Brar from

Real Madrid released training photos from their opening days of pre-season camp with players wearing odd-looking masks hooked up to packs on their back and shoulder while running. What exactly are these masks, what do they do, and why are they being used?

The masks are connected to on-shoulder units which are portable metabolic analyser systems that in addition to giving off Bane-like vibes, measure things like oxygen uptake (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), heart rate and substrate oxidation.

Complementary Use of Wearable Technology 1: A Data Comparison of Two Platforms

Sport Performance & Science Reports from

Sports teams have at their disposal a vas array of wearable technology to assist in monitoring training loads and to assess rehabilitation. In particular, global positioning (GPS) and accelerometry have been incorporated into devices that can be positioned at different locations in the body(e.g. trunk, wrist, ankle and foot). With access to multiple devices and different analysis platforms, can multiple devices provide more insight into athlete monitoring?Are we measuring different things or simply exploring redundancies? [full text]

Lactate Biosensing for Reliable On-Body Sweat Analysis

ACS Sensors journal from

Wearable lactate sensors for sweat analysis are highly appealing for both the sports and healthcare fields. Electrochemical biosensing is the approach most widely used for lactate determination, and this technology generally demonstrates a linear range of response far below the expected lactate levels in sweat together with a high influence of pH and temperature. In this work, we present a novel analytical strategy based on the restriction of the lactate flux that reaches the enzyme lactate oxidase, which is immobilized in the biosensor core. This is accomplished by means of an outer plasticized polymeric layer containing the quaternary salt tetradodecylammonium tetrakis(4-chlorophenyl) borate (traditionally known as ETH500). Also, this layer prevents the enzyme from being in direct contact with the sample, and hence, any influence with the pH and temperature is dramatically reduced. An expanded limit of detection in the millimolar range (from 1 to 50 mM) is demonstrated with this new biosensor, in addition to an acceptable response time; appropriate repeatability, reproducibility, and reversibility (variations lower than 5% for the sensitivity); good resiliency; excellent selectivity; low drift; negligible influence of the flow rate; and extraordinary correlation (Pearson coefficient of 0.97) with a standardized method for lactate detection such as ion chromatography (through analysis of 22 sweat samples collected from 6 different subjects performing cycling or running). The developed lactate biosensor is suitable for on-body sweat lactate monitoring via a microfluidic epidermal patch additionally containing pH and temperature sensors. This applicability was demonstrated in three different body locations (forehead, thigh, and back) in a total of five on-body tests while cycling, achieving appropriate performance and validation. Moreover, the epidermal patch for lactate sensing is convenient for the analysis of sweat stimulated by iontophoresis in the subjects’ arm, which is of great potential toward healthcare applications. [full text]

‘Inflammation Clock’ Can Reveal Body’s Biological Age

Scientific American, Nature, Max Kozlov from

A new type of age ‘clock’ can assess chronic inflammation to predict whether someone is at risk of developing age-related disorders such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease. The clock measures ‘biological age’, which takes health into consideration and can be higher or lower than a person’s chronological age.

The inflammatory ageing clock (iAge), reported on 12 July in Nature Aging, is one of the first tools of its kind to use inflammation to assess health. Other age clocks have used epigenetic markers, chemical groups that tag a person’s DNA as they age and are passed along as cells divide. The researchers who developed iAge hope that, because inflammation is treatable, the tool could help doctors determine who would benefit from intervention—potentially extending the number of years a person lives in good health.

The study “is a further reinforcement of the fact that the immune system is critical, not only for predicting unhealthy ageing, but also as a mechanism driving it”, says Vishwa Deep Dixit, an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine.

Unlocking the ‘gut microbiome’ – and its massive significance to our health

The Guardian, Rebecca Seal from

If you want to learn more about what’s going on in your gut, the first step is to turn your poo blue. How long it takes for a muffin dyed with blue food colouring to pass through your system is a measure of your gut health: the median is 28.7 hours; longer transit times suggest your gut isn’t as healthy as it could be. We are only now beginning to understand the importance of the gut microbiome: could this be the start of a golden age for gut-health science?

“The gut microbiome is the most important scientific discovery for human healthcare in recent decades,” says James Kinross, a microbiome scientist and surgeon at Imperial College London. “We discovered it – or rediscovered it – in the age of genetic sequencing less than 15 years ago. The only organ which is bigger is the liver.” And, for all that the internet may be full of probiotic or wellness companies making big health claims about gut health, “We don’t really know how it works,” he says. At the risk of sounding like the late Donald Rumsfeld, there’s what we know, what we think we know, and an awful lot that we don’t yet have a clue about.

How Italy Became Euro 2020 Champions

StatsBomb, Oliver Walker from

Helped by using the best event data in football (wink, wink), the Azzurri’s early performances promised much and they were identified as potential champions-elect. A promise they delivered on on Sunday evening.

Catenaccio translates as “door-bolt” or “lockdown”. The stereotypical Italian approach is akin to bunkering down behind castle walls; Roberto Mancini has instilled a process akin to sending the guard dogs to pursue intruders at the edge of the grounds.

A comprehensive 3-0 win in their opening match against Turkey contained all the imprints of their current tactical identity: an energetic pressing game and fluid combination play, resulting in a victory that resonated among both Azzurri supporters and neutrals alike.

Where Goals Come From: What It Takes For Teams To Be Elite

American Soccer Analysis, Jamon Moore and Carlon Carpenter from

… In Season Two, we are going to go a good bit deeper into the various types of goals, and situations which lead to them being scored. We’ll still look at improving progressive passing because, generally speaking, that is how top-performing teams create a gap from mid-table and lower teams. But we’ll also look at other types of goals and what works more often than what doesn’t.

In Season One, we used percentages to show methods that work better than others. We will continue that in Season Two, but we’ll introduce other techniques such as probabilities and Expected Goals (xG). If you are tired of the xG dialogue, or it is confusing to you, don’t worry — we will only use it in ways that benefit front offices and coaches, and we’ll help keep it easy to understand or help it be understandable for the first time for you.

What we want to do is separate shot opportunities into poor, good, better, and best, so we can see what situations work more often than others.

Rating Player Actions in Soccer

Frontiers in Sports & Active Living journal from

We present a data-driven model that rates actions of the player in soccer with respect to their contribution to ball possession phases. This study approach consists of two interconnected parts: (i) a trajectory prediction model that is learned from real tracking data and predicts movements of players and (ii) a prediction model for the outcome of a ball possession phase. Interactions between players and a ball are captured by a graph recurrent neural network (GRNN) and we show empirically that the network reliably predicts both, player trajectories as well as outcomes of ball possession phases. We derive a set of aggregated performance indicators to compare players with respect to. to their contribution to the success of their team.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.