Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 2, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 2, 2021


How An Olympic Climber Uses Color Breathing To Get In The Zone

FiveThirtyEight, Michael Tabb and Meghan McDonough from

Sport climbers have a lot to worry about during competition: the difficulty of the climb, the risk of falling, the distractions from spectators and the speed of their opponent. But Olympic climber Alannah Yip has found a way to work through her anxiety using a mindfulness technique called “color breathing.” This practice helps her get into flow, a psychological state where everything feels easy and you lose your sense of self-consciousness.

USWNT: Soccer’s Jessica McDonald embraces role as NWSL’s veteran mom

USA Today Sports, Emily Leiker from

… Several of McDonald’s former USWNT teammates have become moms since their World Cup win. Forward Alex Morgan gave birth to her daughter, Charlie Elena Carrasco, in May 2020. Defender Ali Krieger and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who married in December 2019, adopted their daughter Sloane Phillips in February 2021.

McDonald has even more colleagues in the NWSL who are mothers.

“It’s really neat to have them approach me and ask me questions, seeing how I dealt with certain situations, or if it’s okay to ask for this or that and whatever you need in order to succeed as a parent,” McDonald said. “I’m just here to uplift all the moms out there, especially if you have any questions for me.”

Dina Asher-Smith’s extraordinary tale of desperate dash for Olympic fitness

The Guardian, Barney Ronay from

Tokyo blues. Dina Asher-Smith did pretty well, all things considered, to keep it together for the opening minute and seven seconds of a startlingly raw post-race debrief in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium, and fresh from elimination in the semi-final of the 100 metres.

The past five weeks have, it turns out, been an extraordinary story of cloak and dagger rehab for the fastest British woman ever to take to the track. On 26 June Asher-Smith felt a pop in her hamstring en route to winning the Team GB trials in Manchester in a time of 10.97sec. As she told the gathered journalists in that Tokyo hanger, “You were all looking at the clock, you didn’t know what the story was.”

What followed was a hair-raising tale, hidden until now behind a veneer of public positivity, of misdiagnosed ruptures, abandoned KFC binges, pleading at the airport terminal, crutches in the hotel lobby, the holistic healing hands of Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, and from there a month of dread, doubt and hope.

I am extremely excited to share the full text link for my first dissertation manuscript, out now in Journal of Biomechanics (@JBiomech )!

Twitter, Alexandra F. DeJong Lempke from

In this study, we identified that runners with exercise-related lower leg pain had more variable contact time compared to healthy runners during outdoor running using @runscribe
sensors (2/3)

We recommend based on our objective findings that clinicians should aim to reduce contact time by ~8-ms (5% reduction) for recreational runners for outdoor gait-training interventions. @JBiomech

Defining Physiology’s Upper Limits and – Again – Winning the Tour de France

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, News from

For the second year in a row, Iñigo San Millán, an assistant professor in the CU School of Medicine, coached Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar to the top of the podium in the Tour de France. Pogačar dominated the 2021 Tour after winning the world’s ultimate stage race as a rookie in 2020. Millán leads a CU Anschutz research team, experts in athletes’ baseline metabolic profiles and how these physiologies change during competition, that is helping guide some of the world’s elite athletes to their best performances. Their understanding of athletes’ metabolic underpinnings has implications for improved treatments of disease.

Rams’ Reggie Scott is more than a ‘trainer’

California News Times, Press Telegram from

Reggie Scott, vice president of sports medicine and performance at Rams, has, as he says, a wider responsibility than in the past when the team had a “trainer with a roll of tape and a water bottle.” His name appears every time a coach or player talks about injury recovery, COVID-19 issues, and more. Scott, 42, from Dover, Delaware, who holds a degree from West Virginia and the University of California, California, is president of the Association of Professional Soccer Athletic Trainers. As the 12 seasons approached in Rams and he was managing about 20 people, Scott spoke with Rams beatwriter Kevin Modesty on the patio of the team’s training camp hotel in Newport Beach.

Muscles are important, but stiff tendons are the secret ingredient for high-speed performance

The Conversation, Anthony Blazevich from

The fastest sprinter is the world right now is Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who won Olympic gold in the men’s 100-metre sprint with a time of 9.80 seconds. You might be surprised to learn that most of the explosive power displayed by Jacobs and other elite athletes doesn’t come from their muscles, or even from their minds – it comes from somewhere else.

Muscles are important, but the real secret is using training and technique to store and reuse elastic energy in the best way possible – and that means making the most of your tendons. By understanding how this power is produced, we can help people walk, run and jump into older age and how to walk again after injury or illness.

Muscles are remarkably powerful. The average human calf muscle weighs less than 1 kilogram, but can lift a load of 500kg. In some cases, our calf muscles have even been shown to handle loads approaching a tonne (1,000kg)!

But muscles have a major performance issue: they can’t produce much force when they’re shortening at high speed. In fact, when we move at our fastest, muscles can’t theoretically shorten fast enough to help us at all – so how is it that we can move so quickly?

What Olympic athletes can teach us about regulating our emotions and staying dedicated

The Conversation, Thomas Hannan from

Olympians are often seen as the epitome of human performance, with incredible physical and mental strength. And with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games well underway, it’s hard to not be impressed by the sheer talent and determination of athletes competing from all over the world.

For many of us non-Olympians, the thought of possessing such capabilities is but a dream. But research in sport psychology suggests there are indeed some skills we can learn from the experts, as long as we’re willing to put in the work ourselves.

Athletes Greatly Benefit from Participation in Sports at the College and Secondary Level

National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper; James J. Heckman & Colleen P. Loughlin from

The recent Supreme Court decision NCAA vs Alston (June 2021) has heightened interest in the benefits and costs of participation in sports for student athletes. Anecdotes about the exploitation of student athletes were cited in the opinion. This paper uses panel data for two different cohorts that follow students from high school through college and into their post-school pursuits to examine the generality of these anecdotes. On average, student athletes’ benefit- often substantially so—in terms of graduation, post-collegiate employment, and earnings. Benefits in terms of social mobility for disadvantaged and minority students are substantial, contrary to the anecdotes in play in the media and in the courts.

Researchers at Stanford Use Tech to Boost Human Athletic Performance

CBS SF Bay Area from

Stanford scientists are using technology to unlock the secrets of human performance and overcome the body’s weaknesses. Kiet Do reports.

It’s more clear than ever that unvaccinated players are at risk of getting cut

NBC Sports, ProFootballTalk, MIke Florio from

Even before the July 22 memo from the NFL that raised the possibility of forfeits due to outbreaks among unvaccinated players and staff, the risks of choosing not to be vaccinated for NFL players were clear. The July 22 memo served only to underscore the reality that teams have an incentive to include unvaccinated players among the 37 players on each team who find themselves without employment when the rosters drop on August 31 from 90 to 53.

It should now be crystal clear that, despite the rule that unvaccinated players can’t be released due to their vaccine status, it will be a factor in the final shaping of a roster.

Olympics: Tokyo heat weather makes Games hard for athletes

Los Angeles Times, David Wharton from

It wasn’t just the unrelenting sun. Or the sluggish air, wet and still and settling close to the ground.

By midday the canoe slalom course at the Summer Olympics, a man-made rapids beside Tokyo Bay, had been transformed into something that left racers sweating and exhausted after barely a minute, as if its churning waters had been brought to a boil.

“It’s like a bath,” Matej Benus of Slovakia said. “It’s like paddling in bathwater.”

These Games figured to be among the hottest in Olympic history, and other than a few days when a tropical cyclone blew through, they have not disappointed. Beach volleyball has felt like a sauna, and tennis courts have turned into frying pans, with one player carted away in a wheelchair and another reportedly asking the umpire: “If I die, are you going to be responsible?”

Learn More About The StatsBomb IQ API

StatsBomb from

One of the major benefits of using StatsBomb data is the ease at which it can fit into existing systems and infrastructures within data and analysis departments.

Our two main products are the raw event data and our analytics platform, StatsBomb IQ. The event data allows for research, analysis, and modelling on a large-scale basis, whilst IQ packages the data into a quickly digestible and visual format. One of the most valuable features of the product is the IQ API.

The IQ API makes it easier to work with StatsBomb metrics in an automated fashion. All the data that can be viewed in IQ – either in the Team/Player stats tables or in IQ Scout – can be pulled directly into the user’s software without the need to download a CSV and import it first. Crucially, it saves analysts time and forms a part of an efficient workflow: everything that IQ was designed to be.

Closer Shots and Younger Stars: How European Soccer Is Slowly Getting Smarter

Substack, No Grass in the Clouds newsletter, Ryan O'Hanlon from

Earlier this week, Mark Taylor, an analyst who’s worked with a number of Premier League clubs, confirmed the continuation of a trend: bad shots are disappearing.

The third rail: Why #analytics isn’t as valued as we’d like it to be? One possible explanation us – we’re not as good at this very hard problem as we think we are.

Twitter, KDnuggest from

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