Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 23, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 23, 2021


The Fire That Forged Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Ringer, Mirin Fader from

In an exclusive excerpt from ‘Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP,’ Mirin Fader details the trials and tribulations that helped the Bucks star go from a baby-faced rookie to a superstar with a mean streak—and that scowl

Malindi Elmore, 41, is Enjoying a Second Act, Competing in the OlympicsFacebook IconTwitter IconEmail IconFacebook IconTwitter IconInstagram Icon

Women's Running, Erin Strout from

She never expected to play a part in Canada’s rising tide of women’s distance talent, but as the national record holder, Malindi Elmore is leading the way at the 2021 Olympic marathon.

Choosing basketball over football was tough for Jalen Suggs

Associated Press, Rob Maaddi from

… “He definitely would’ve been a Power Five quarterback,” Minnehaha football coach Chris Goodwin said. “I know he really deliberated about it and that surprised some people because he’s so elite in basketball. I think he made the right decision.”

Gonzaga hasn’t had a football team since 1941, so there were no temptations for Suggs going to a basketball powerhouse.

“I had no distractions,” he said. “I didn’t have to walk past the football facility and have it looking at me every day because I know that if I did, I would have taken that left or right into the stadium and I would have gone in and done something with the football team. But I wouldn’t take anything back. My experience at Gonzaga was second to none. It was amazing and I enjoyed it.”

Giants’ Buster Posey revitalized by 2020 opt-outNew York Post

New York Post, Evan Orris from

… Normally, catchers have the shortest shelf life of any position in baseball. Blocked pitches and foul balls — not to mention, crouching for nine innings straight — take a toll. Posey, however, is showing no signs of ill effects on either side of the ball.

The career revitalization could stem from opting out of the 2020 season to take care of his adopted newborn daughters, with his body is reaping the benefits.

2021 Olympics brings Stanford med student to row for Puerto Rico

USA Today Sports, Olivia Reiner from

… Growing up in San Juan, on the baseball field or in the classroom, Toro Arana approached all challenges with fearlessness and determination. It’s that same attitude that propelled her to the pinnacle of Puerto Rican rowing, through the pre-medical track at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and to medical school at Stanford. Now, she’ll become the first Puerto Rican rower, male or female, to compete in an Olympics in 33 years. Rowing heats begin Friday in Tokyo.

How muscles maximize performance in accelerated sprinting

Scandanavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from

We sought to provide a more comprehensive understanding of how the individual leg muscles act synergistically to generate a ground force impulse and maximize the change in forward momentum of the body during accelerated sprinting. We combined musculoskeletal modelling with gait data to simulate the majority of the acceleration phase (19 foot contacts) of a maximal sprint over ground. Individual muscle contributions to the ground force impulse were found by evaluating each muscle’s contribution to the vertical and fore-aft components of the ground force (termed ‘supporter’ and ‘accelerator/brake’, respectively). The ankle plantarflexors played a major role in achieving maximal-effort accelerated sprinting. Soleus acted primarily as a supporter by generating a large fraction of the upward impulse at each step whereas gastrocnemius contributed appreciably to the propulsive and upward impulses and functioned as both accelerator and supporter. The primary role of the vasti was to deliver an upward impulse to the body (supporter), but these muscles also acted as a brake by retarding forward momentum. The hamstrings and gluteus medius functioned primarily as accelerators. Gluteus maximus was neither an accelerator nor supporter as it functioned mainly to decelerate the swinging leg in preparation for foot contact at the next step. Fundamental knowledge of lower-limb muscle function during maximum acceleration sprinting is of interest to coaches endeavouring to optimize sprint performance in elite athletes as well as sports medicine clinicians aiming to improve injury prevention and rehabilitation practices.

Associations between Hamstring Fatigue and Sprint Kinematics during a Simulated Football (Soccer) Match

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal from


Neuromuscular fatigue is considered to be important in the etiology of hamstring strain injuries in football. Fatigue is assumed to lead to decreases in hamstring contractile strength and changes in sprinting kinematics, which would increase hamstring strain injury risk. Therefore, the aim was to examine the effects of football-specific fatigue on hamstring maximal voluntary torque (MVT) and rate of torque development (RTD), in relation to alterations in sprinting kinematics.

Ten amateur football players executed a 90-minute running based football match simulation. Before and after every 15 minutes of simulated play MVT and RTD of the hamstrings were obtained in addition to the performance and lower body kinematics during a 20 m maximal sprint. Linear mixed models and repeated measurement correlations were used to assess changes over time and common within participant associations between hamstring contractile properties and peak knee extension during the final part of the swing phase, peak hip flexion, peak combined knee extension and hip flexion, and peak joint angular velocities, respectively.

Hamstring MVT and sprint performance were significantly reduced by 7.5% and 14.3% at the end of the football match simulation. Unexpectedly, there were no indications for reductions in RTD when MVT-decrease was considered. Decreases in hamstring MVT were significantly correlated to decreases in peak knee angle (R = 0.342) and to increases in the peak combined angle (R = -0.251).

During a football match simulation, maximal voluntary isometric hamstring torque declines. This decline is related to greater peak knee extension and peak combined angle during sprint running, which indicates a reduced capacity of the hamstrings to decelerate the lower leg during sprint running with fatigue.

Olympics avg length of time from when athlete first introduced to sport until making first U.S. Olympic team = 14 years

Twitter, Ralph Reiff from

Building a culture of excellence in high performance sport

SIRC, Own the Podium from

  • In sport, culture can determine a team’s focus and how members communicate and deal with conflict. Culture also establishes norms of acceptable behaviour and directly influences functioning and performance.
  • Own the Podium, alongside partners the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Committee, identified sport culture as an important performance factor for Canadian athletes to achieve podium success.
  • The culture of excellence model outlines strategies for sport organizations to improve their sport’s culture with the goal of achieving enhanced performance outcomes.
  • Mental and physical health and well-being, physical safety, psychological safety and self-determination are key person-related factors that contribute to high-performing sport cultures.

  • LSU coach Will Wade names Jasper Bibbs director of basketball athletic performance

    Baton Rouge Advocate, Sheldon Mickles from

    LSU basketball coach Will Wade announced Thursday that Jasper Bibbs will join the Tigers’ staff as director of men’s basketball athletic performance.

    Bibbs makes the move to the collegiate ranks after working the past five seasons for the NBA’s Utah Jazz.

    Bibbs served one season as the Jazz’s sports science assistant and was the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach for the past four seasons.

    The Future of Wellness Will Be Driven by Data and Biomarkers

    Futurism from

    … The way we view health is changing because of people like Daniel Tal Mor, who believes wellness will go from being “trendy” to absolutely essential, and the advent of a device that hacks your health with metabolism data.

    Tal Mor is the CEO of Lumen, a company he co-founded with Ironman competitors sisters Merav and Michal Mor who have PhDs in physiology. Lumen is a consumer nutrition management platform based on a small device that measures metabolism through a single breath and provides personalized food, lifestyle, and health recommendations. It’s the sort of tech that pro athletes use but hasn’t been available for the average person looking to make positive changes to their diet and workout routine—until Lumen.

    Seeing wellness as vital to every aspect of life, the team of scientists and engineers are using Lumen to bring context and preventive healthcare to those who want to better understand their metabolism and how nutrition affects their bodies in real-time.

    Weed Shouldn’t Be Banned for Elite Athletes, Some Experts Say

    Scientific American, Diana Kwon from

    When 21-year-old American star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified from the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo after a positive marijuana test, it left many asking, “Should cannabis use by athletes be prohibited?”

    Richardson said she used marijuana to deal with the news about the death of a parent and not to boost performance. Her exclusion has become a matter of heated debate. In making this decision, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has stated that it was following the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which classifies marijuana and other cannabinoids, including synthetic versions of these compounds, as banned substances in competition. WADA prohibits substances that meet two of three criteria: posing a health risk to athletes, potentially enhancing performance or violating “the spirit of sport.”

    Scientists say, however, that data supporting marijuana’s performance-enhancing effects are scant—and, if anything, that the evidence seems to point to the drug actually reducing athletic ability.

    An Olympic controversy: Do marijuana and athletics mix?

    University of Michigan, Michigan Health from

    Track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson’s medal-winning hopes were dashed when she tested positive for THC, the main intoxicating compound found in marijuana, disqualifying her from the Tokyo Olympics with a one-month suspension. The uproar that followed the announcement is the latest indication of shifting attitudes around cannabis, as more people, including world-renowned athletes, use cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes.

    Michigan Health Lab talked to pain-management expert Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., about the decision and athletics and cannabis in general.

    What is the best way to spread beliefs, behaviors, and technologies? @DamonCentola and I provide novel insights into this problem in “Topological Measures for Identifying and Predicting the Spread of Complex Contagions” out today in @NatureComms

    Threadreader, Douglas Guilbeault from

    2/ Marketing often targets influencers who have many connections and who broker communities. But if the behavior is a complex contagion that requires influence from multiple peers (eg diet), then the connections of influencers may not be connected enough to trigger spread.

    3/ We show that the people who are capable of spreading complex contagions to the largest number of people have surprisingly few connections and do not broker communities, but are rather deeply embedded within them. We provide formal methods for identifying these network hotspots

    The Tyranny of Spreadsheets

    Tim Harford from

    … Nobody really knows what happened to the 16,000 positive Covid cases that disappeared from the spreadsheet. Public Health England (PHE), a government agency responsible for the process, still hasn’t published anything very informative on the issue.

    “The suggestion that any cases were ‘lost’ is simply incorrect,” they told me. “No cases were missed. There was a delay in referring cases for contact tracing and reporting them in the national figures.”

    That delay was typically four or five days, long enough to render the test result almost useless. If I mislaid my passport just before a holiday and then found it after five days staying at home instead, I am not sure I would triumphantly wave it in the air and declare, “The suggestion that my passport was ‘lost’ is simply incorrect.”

    For a contact-tracing system, lost for five days is lost. The question is, how were they lost? Somewhere in PHE’s data pipeline, someone had used the wrong Excel file format, XLS rather than the more recent XLSX. And XLS spreadsheets simply don’t have that many rows.

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