Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 21, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 21, 2021


Team GB’s Lucy Bronze: ‘The preparation has been insane. We are ready’

The Guardian, Suzanne Wrack from

… “It’s so different to any other tournament I’ve been part of with Euros and World Cups and youth age groups because you’re just in and around with all the other athletes,” she says before Team GB’s opening group game against Chile on Wednesday.

“We were fortunate to be the first team to arrive so we got to grips with the hotel and then day by day there was a new group of people. You just get chatting and find out a little bit about them and are just interacting with everybody. The only problem is it’s a bit busy at dinner time, the rowers came yesterday and the rugby boys came today so the food was going quite quickly,” she adds with a grin.

Olympics 2021 stars Simone Biles, John John Florence and Mariah Duran break down their skills

ESPN Olympics from

For athletes, the Olympics are a stage for pushing limits. For fans, it’s a time to wonder how the heck they pull off these back-bending, gravity-defying, mind-blowing skills. That’s as true as ever in Tokyo, where four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles could become the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in Olympic competition—and make it the fifth skill that bears her name. Two-time World Surf League champion John John Florence and two-time X Games gold medalist Mariah Duran will lead their sports into the Olympic era as surfing and skateboarding make their five-ring debuts. All three are known for making the toughest skills look easy. Here’s how they do what they do.

Newfound Human Brain Cell Type Helps Center People in Mental Maps

Columbia University, Columbia Engineering from

A previously unknown kind of human brain cell appears to help people center themselves in their personal maps of the world, according to a new study from neuroscientists at Columbia Engineering. This discovery sheds light on the cellular mechanisms underlying navigation and memory in humans, as well as what parts of the brain might get disrupted during the kinds of memory impairments common in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

There are two strategies with which humans and animals navigate and orient themselves. One involves locating places, distances and directions in “allocentric” or other-centered frames of reference rooted in the external world. The other strategy involves “egocentric” frames of reference that are centered on the self.

Whenever you use a mobile phone app to find driving directions, it will likely employ both these modes of navigation. When you first type in an address, it will normally show you the address on a map from an allocentric perspective, with ‘north’ at the top and ‘south’ at the bottom. When you then go to route view, it will switch to an egocentric perspective where ‘ahead’ is at the top and ‘behind’ is at the bottom.

How To Learn Stuff Quickly

Josh Comeau from

… If you only follow guided resources, you’ll wind up in tutorial hell. You won’t develop the problem-solving skills needed to succeed as a developer. When you try to build your own project, you won’t know where to start. It will feel like you’ve spent so much time practicing without developing any tangible, practical skills.

On the other hand, if you focus entirely on unguided learning, it’ll take forever. Without an experienced guide, you’ll need to reinvent every wheel, spending days or weeks solving already-solved problems. This is a long and frustrating road. In the worst case, you might wind up quitting altogether, convinced (incorrectly!) that you just aren’t smart enough for this stuff.

We want to walk the tightrope between these two extremes, using guided and unguided learning together. There are lots of ways to do this.

The Reliability of Common Functional Performance Tests within an Experimental Test Battery for the Lower Extremities

MDPI, Sports journal from

The main aim of this study was to determine the test–retest reliability of an experimental functional test battery: Y-balance test (YBT), single-leg countermovement jump (SLCMJ), single-leg hop for distance (SLH), side-hop (SH), speedy-jump (SJ), agility-T (AT), and lower extremity functional test (LEFT). Secondary aims were (1) to determine the mean range for the limb symmetry index (LSI) and (2) to detect significant differences in performance between test–retest sessions. Twenty-two healthy adults (14 males, 8 females; age 23.3 ± 3.9) were tested by the same rater during two different sessions (T1–T2), with a seven-day interval, under the same conditions. Reliability analysis showed good-to-excellent reliability (0.89 < ICC < 0.97; 0.80 < α < 0.98) for the test battery. LSI ranged from 95.9 ± 6.7% (SH-T1) to 104.4 ± 12.5% (SLCMJ-T2). Repeated measures ANOVA detected significant performance differences between sessions in the LEFT (p = 0.009) and for non-dominant sides in the SLH (p = 0.015), SH (p = 0.007), and SJ (p = 0.011). The high reliability of the test battery suggests a potential use in clinical sports practice. The LSI range of ≥95% was proposed as a benchmark for healthy adults. Learning effect seems to have played a crucial role in the T2 improvements of the non-dominant side for hop performances (SLH, SH, SJ) and speed performance (LEFT). [full text]

Female Olympians needed to train longer to beat Tokyo’s heat

The Verge, Nicole Wetsman from

The Olympians streaming into Tokyo this week are about to be faced with the hottest games in decades, with temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and suffocating humidity. Many athletes and sports physiologists have had their eye on the summer temperatures in Japan for years and have been planning to help athletes acclimate to the heat.

In the weeks leading up to the games, female Olympians may have had to spend more time preparing for the heat than their male counterparts. Some early studies show that it can take twice as long for female athletes to adjust than male athletes. The information is limited, though, because until only a few years ago, most of the research on how to prepare to compete in hot environments was only done on male athletes.

“There are going to be more considerations to make for female athletes, and there are definitely some differences in how they adapt,” says Jessica Mee, who studies performance in extreme environments at the University of Worcester in the United Kingdom.

Your Ultimate Guide To Next-Gen Muscle Recovery Methods

Men's Health Australia from

Experts preach mastery of the basics first. They make few blanket statements about the next-gen recovery revolution, since what helps one body doesn’t work for another. So gauge things yourself, using what physical therapist Kelly Starrett, calls the Golden Recovery Rule: Performance is the judge. “Good recovery isn’t about how you feel now,” he says. “It’s about how you feel during your next workout.”

Not sure whether your muscle-optimization plan was effective? Track your performance in your next workout and let that be your litmus test. “You know a treatment is working for you if it allows you to perform higher amounts of work more often,” says Starrett.

Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed fabric-friendly near-field communication antennas that can be woven into everyday surfaces for building smart environments.

Carnegie Mellon University, College of Engineering from

Sensors are part of modern-day technology. From contactless payment to key fobs, credit card chips to smart devices, near-field communication (NFC) allows for humans to communicate with objects.

But what if we could use this technology so that everyday objects, like a pillow or a shoe, could sense and interact with us?

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon’s Laboratory for Emerging Wireless Technologies (WiTech) have developed fabric-friendly NFC antennas that can be woven into everyday surfaces for building smart environments. Known as TextileSense, this near-field beamforming system can track everyday objects made of conductive materials, like a human hand.

“We achieved this by using multiple flexible NFC coil antennas embedded in ordinary and irregularly shaped surfaces, like furniture and carpets, that we interact with in smart environments,” said Swarun Kumar, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Using Apple Watch to Estimate Cardio Fitness with VO2 max

Apple from

With watchOS 7, Apple Watch Series 3 and later use an updated algorithm to estimate a user’s cardio fitness level as measured by VO2 max, the maximum volume of oxygen an individual can extract from inhaled air. This update extends VO2 max estimates to lower ranges while also expanding availability of this metric. Additionally, with watchOS 7.2, users can view how their cardio fitness level is classified based on their age group and sex in the Health app on iPhone, and they can receive a notification if it falls within the low range. This paper provides a detailed understanding of the capabilities of these features, including testing and validation.

ChiliSleep™ Announces Sleep Tech Collaboration With Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners

Business Wire, Kryo Inc from

Kryo, Inc., the parent company of sleep technology brand ChiliSleep, today announced an innovative sports science collaboration with both the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball teams. This season, players have the opportunity to use the OOLER sleep system, which is ChiliSleep’s advanced, temperature-regulated sleep tech that decreases body temperature to trigger deep sleep for players at home and on the road.

AI could be the secret to a better night’s sleep

University of Sheffield (UK), News from

University of Sheffield researchers have developed artificial intelligence that can monitor snoring levels and identify sleep disorders

AI is being commercialised through a new iOS app – SoundSleep – that enables people to monitor their breathing while they sleep and help them discover the causes, factors and solutions to snoring and sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea using their smartphone

Qualcomm Expands the Wearables Segment with New Platform Investments and Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program

WebWire, Qualcomm from

… “Our Snapdragon Wear platforms are driving the industry, powering smartwatches for kids, seniors, and adults and smart trackers for pets and accessories,” said Pankaj Kedia, senior director & global head, smart wearables, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are significantly growing our investments in leading edge ground-up silicon, platforms, and technologies and plan to roll out new Snapdragon Wear platforms across segments over the next year to meet our long-term vision.”

Qualcomm Technologies is continuing to invest in new Snapdragon Wear platforms to meet the diverse needs of customers across a multitude of OSs with its unique hybrid architectural approach, range of software releases, and reference designs. “We envision a hyper segmented world of wearables,” Kedia continued, “we believe Qualcomm Technologies has an important role to play to accelerate this reality by bringing together our platforms and investments to the ecosystem.”

MLB provides mental health resources to improve athlete well-being

Healio, Orthopedics Today, Casey Tingle from

… Based on a model employed by several MLB policy programs, [Jon] Coyles noted the mental health program was a joint initiative of the MLB, the MLB Players Association and the athletes to create confidential and effective evaluation and treatment resources for those in need.

“We have also worked with the players union to develop criteria for players to go on the injured list when they are struggling with certain mental health issues and require treatment,” Coyles said.

He added the MLB created early intervention programs on mental health awareness as well as established a list of credentialed and licensed mental health clinicians to develop trust with the players and provide assistance when needed.

Bikinis, briefs and beach handball: why female athletes should wear whatever they want

The Guardian from

Long jumper Olivia Breen has been told by an English Championships official that her sprint briefs are too short – and she is not the only one fighting to wear her preferred kit

The Computer Scientist Training AI to Think With Analogies

Quanta Magazine, John Pavlus from

[Melanie] Mitchell prepared a “last-minute” graduate school application and joined Hofstadter’s new lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The two spent the next six years collaborating closely on Copycat, a computer program which, in the words of its co-creators, was designed to “discover insightful analogies, and to do so in a psychologically realistic way.”

The analogies Copycat came up with were between simple patterns of letters, akin to the analogies on standardized tests. One example: “If the string ‘abc’ changes to the string ‘abd,’ what does the string ‘pqrs’ change to?” Hofstadter and Mitchell believed that understanding the cognitive process of analogy — how human beings make abstract connections between similar ideas, perceptions and experiences — would be crucial to unlocking humanlike artificial intelligence.

Mitchell maintains that analogy can go much deeper than exam-style pattern matching. “It’s understanding the essence of a situation by mapping it to another situation that is already understood,” she said.

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