Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 29, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 29, 2021


How Emily Sisson Got Her Track Legs Back for the Olympics

PodiumRunner, Jonathan Beverly from

Emily Sisson and her coach share the training, key workouts, and race strategies that got her ready for her dominant win at the Olympic Trials 10,000m and headed to Tokyo strong and confident.

There’s No Prospect Like Evan Mobley

The Ringer, Mirin Fader from

The USC 7-footer has a chance to be a generational player in the NBA, thanks to his unique talents and an equally one-of-a-kind upbringing

Training is year-round for NFL athletes

Spectrum News 1 (California), Kristen Lago from

… “I would say, the good ones, you’re thinking about it all year-round,” said Rams safety Nick Scott. “Most guys at this level are thinking about it all year-round.”

Scott, like countless other NFL athletes across the U.S., has been busy gearing up for the 2021 season.

All 32 NFL programs have already reported for training camp — widely seen as the first step in a long journey to the Super Bowl. And while training camp is the first hallmark event of that journey, players have been putting in much more work behind the scenes.

In a year where professional football is returning in full post-pandemic, training and off-the-field prep are perhaps more important now than ever before.

Bucs practice ‘load management’ with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, other vets

Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud from

After three days of practice in the searing heat and humidity, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and several other veteran players took Wednesday off.

There is no practice Thursday, meaning that coach Bruce Arians is taking it easy on some of the older stars the Bucs must count on during the regular season.

Brady covered receivers during warmups and shouted encouragement to them in 11-on-11 work.

“I think Tom is very, very comfortable in our locker room and with our coaches and our fans,” Arians said. “I think that personality is showing more and more. I love seeing it. I told him driving in the other day, put your coaching hat on today, this is a coaching day for you. When he can sit back and watch, he sees a lot of things that he didn’t see playing and he can coach those other guys up. So it’s a win/win situation.”

Olympic Heat: Canadian athletes doing their best to cope with scorching temperatures

CTV News, The Canadian Press, Joshua Clipperton from

Carling Zeeman had just finished her race on the first day of rowing at the Tokyo Olympics.

After taking time to cool off in Japan’s searing summer temperatures — all while sporting one of the ice vests that have already become staples for many Canadian athletes at the Games — she approached reporters to break down the performance.

Before the first question came her way, however, the Cambridge, Ont., native politely asked for the conversation to be moved under an umbrella and into some precious shade.

Clemson football: Xavier Thomas poised for breakout 2021

The State newspaper (SC), Alexis Cubit from

… Clemson held its photo shoot for the Tigers two weeks ago, which built excitement for the season. Hall happened to see Thomas in full uniform and was so overcome with emotion that he hugged the senior, who tweeted out on June 25 that he’s back down to 265 pounds. That puts him five pounds lighter than his listed weight on his football bio.

“I was so excited to see him, to see how his body has transformed,” Hall said, adding that Thomas has been locked in and focused all summer long.

It’s not just his body, but his maturity has also transformed. Hall has seen Thomas grow from his experiences. Still, the larger-than-life expectations from 2018 are there and Thomas is more than ready to live up to them.

English football authorities release heading guidance for training for all levels from 2021/22, recommending “maximum of 10 higher force headers in any training week”. “Higher force” means “headers following a long pass (more than 35m) or from crosses…

Twitter, Henry Winter from

Bullingham @FA
says heading measures “developed following studies with coaches/medics and represent a cautious approach while we learn more. Important to remember the overwhelming medical evidence is that football and other sports have positive impacts on mental/physical health”.

How AI, big data, and other technologies are helping athletes (and viewers) make the most of the Olympics SciLogs, Andrei Mihai from

After a hefty delay and a stormy start, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have finally kicked off. A record-breaking 11,091 athletes are competing in the games, hoping to fulfill their dreams and make the most of their hard work.

This year, along with trainers, organizers, and other staff, the athletes are also joined by something else: technology.

Force Plates: KPI’s New Weapon of Development

Kinetic Performance Institute from

… When we started with the force plates we did not use them at all for anything but gathering data. Our goal was to get to 6,000 jumps and then start looking for trends. We got to 6,000 jumps and we were able to establish a mean for the different metrics we were using. The important part of the mean we established is that it was of our population. We have different groups setup in our software between ages, skill level, and between softball/baseball. The reason this is so important is because we gather data and program based on what is happening in our facility, not what is happening in other places or populations. This allows us to have incredible perspective on the individual athlete at KPI and show them where they are at in comparison to their peers at the facility.

The next step for us was to start using the force plate data on the strength side. We identified the areas that we were going to value and that measured different reactions within the central nervous system. We then evaluated each athlete and analyzed their most deficient metric and how far away they were from the mean within their groups. We took that information and we built strength programs around that personalized information and so far the results on health and strength have been amazing. We will release a full report on the progress after our summer program ends.

How Digital Testing Helps adidas to Create the Best for the Athlete

Adidas, Game Plan A blog, Hans Scheurer from

… Like in chess, with each new performance product we develop – such as a marathon running shoe – we have unlimited directions from which to choose. In an industry where innovation is king, we need to decide which technology, material or geometry will be the best to create the highest performing product for our athletes – and we need to test them. For our fastest and most innovative running shoes like the adizero adios Pro, we explored the best combination of stiffening elements and responsive foams by testing the bending stiffness at every section and the cushioning values in the rear and forefoot. Each decision directly impacted the end result.

The challenge we have is that our development cycles are tight. Trying out all possible combinations with physical samples would blow our timelines, manufacturing costs and go against our sustainability goals. Thinking our options through mentally? Our brains can’t possibly perform such complex equations.

So, how can we visualize the best possible product in the same way as a grandmaster in an effective and efficient way?

Continuous monitoring of deep-tissue haemodynamics with stretchable ultrasonic phased arrays

Nature Biomedical Engineering journal from

Stretchable wearable devices for the continuous monitoring of physiological signals from deep tissues are constrained by the depth of signal penetration and by difficulties in resolving signals from specific tissues. Here, we report the development and testing of a prototype skin-conformal ultrasonic phased array for the monitoring of haemodynamic signals from tissues up to 14 cm beneath the skin. The device allows for active focusing and steering of ultrasound beams over a range of incident angles so as to target regions of interest. In healthy volunteers, we show that the phased array can be used to monitor Doppler spectra from cardiac tissues, record central blood flow waveforms and estimate cerebral blood supply in real time. Stretchable and conformal skin-worn ultrasonic phased arrays may open up opportunities for wearable diagnostics.

A blood test for your body clock? It’s on the horizon

University of Colorado, CU Boulder Today from

… New CU Boulder research, published in the Journal of Biological Rhythms, suggests that day could come in the not-too-distant future. The study found it’s possible to determine the timing of a person’s internal circadian or biological clock by analyzing a combination of molecules in a single blood draw.

“If we can understand each individual person’s circadian clock, we can potentially prescribe the optimal time of day for them to be eating or exercising or taking medication,” said senior author Christopher Depner, who conducted the study while an assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder. “From a personalized medicine perspective, it could be groundbreaking.”

How FC Barcelona turned an alternative club culture into sporting genius

New Statesman, Ed Smith from

Culture, according to Raymond Williams, is “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language”. In the 40 years since his judgement, culture has expanded into yet more opaque territory. Management gurus and sports coaches, even those with the best intentions, haven’t made the term any easier to define. The more we talk about “team culture” the harder it is to capture.

Culture is the subliminal theme of Simon Kuper’s new book Barça: The Inside Story of the World’s Greatest Football Club. Barcelona’s best performances during the era of Lionel Messi, their star player, probably amount to the technical, tactical and aesthetic high point of football’s history. Writing that list of descriptors, the term “moral” hovered in my mind. But can there be a superior or elevating way of kicking a ball into a net?

NBA Teams Love Young Lottery Picks. These 3 ‘Old’ Players Might Change Their Minds.

FiveThirtyEight, Santul Nerkar from

A typical NBA draft prospect’s scouting report is likely to include a few common attributes listed as strengths: “athletic,” “long wingspan,” “playmaker.” One characteristic that rarely appears as a strength? “Old.”

It’s no secret that over the years, NBA teams have selected fewer and fewer players who spent four years at a U.S. college, prioritizing upside and raw potential over experience. If we define “old” as college players who were drafted at age 22 or older and “young” as college players younger than 22, NBA teams have moved away from drafting older players in the lottery en masse.

There’s a wild story about the women’s gymnastics at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, which I think is very relevant to what we’re hearing about Simone Biles, and the wider point of how the top level of elite sport is just as much mental as it is physical.

Twitter, John Burn-Murdoch from

In the women’s all-round final in 2000, the organisers set the vault at the wrong height. Two inches too low. This was a pretty huge deal. … Clear gold-medal favourite, Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina (comfortably won qualifying) landed on her knees. … everything she knew about her ability has gone out the window. She’s gone from knowing she will win, to maybe no medal.

A knock to athletic confidence can be as damaging as a torn muscle. You go out there and do what you’ve done a million times before, but you’re not the athlete you were 10 minutes earlier, and you can no longer do what you could. The damage is not visible, but it’s no less real.

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