Posts

Two methods to break down complex sports

In many ways, track and field coaches have it easy. When I am coaching a hammer thrower, for example, I have just one athlete to worry about, one movement to train for, and one technique to master. Athletes in open-skilled sports, on the other hand, have a much more difficult puzzle to put together. How do coaches decide what to focus on in training and programming in such a situation? Read more

A statistical look at the 2018 indoor season

A few weeks ago we published Bob Gourley’s final national indoor performance lists of the 2018 season. Several of the marks on the list have historic impact too. Over the weekend we updated our records page to reflect marks from the recent indoor season, and several highlights stood out. Read more

Signal or noise?

The ability to be able to recognize patterns has played a crucial role in the evolution of humans. In order to be able to pass on our DNA, we need to be able to breed, which means that we need to keep ourselves healthy enough (and alive enough) to do. Read more

Correlations, causations, and multi-sport athletes

You’ve likely heard of the importance of athletes being exposed to a variety of different sports in order to increase their chances of success in their main sport. It’s widely reported that high level athletes tend to a have a multi-sport background, with 71% of NCAA Division 1 American Football players, and 90% of Division 1 runners being multi-sport athletes. A big news story in 2017 was that 30 of the 32 NFL first round draft picks were multiple sport athletes in high school. It appears that the correlation here is clear; being a multi-sport athlete in your youth increases your chances of success. But does it? Read more

Correlations don’t prove causation, but we can still learn from them

If you ever take a statistics course, one of the first things you will learn is that correlation does not imply causation. It is one of the main tenants of science and if you wonder why that is the case, just think through some examples like the perfect correlation between ice cream sales and shark attacks per month, or other great examples from the Spurious Correlations website. Simply put, just because two things coincide, doesn’t mean that one caused the other and, even if there is a causal link, which direction it is heading. Read more

Peaking and periodization: are we doing things wrong?

If you watched the recent World Championships it was hard not to notice the performance levels were down. The competition was exciting, but the winning marks were nothing to write home about. Take the shot put, for example. After a year of amazing performances and talk of the world record, only two of 32 athletes threw a season’s best. Read more

Youth hammer records fall in 2017

Over the past few weeks we have covered some of the highlights of the 2017 high school hammer throw season. We have compiled our final rankings, looked at the statistical depth of results, and the geographic distribution of top throwers. In this final installment, we look at the new records and top all-time performances from the season. Read more

2017 Youth Hammer Throw State Rankings

As we finish up our look back at the 2017 season it is time to look at how the event is spread across the country. As we do every year, we like like to take a look at the sport through a geographic lens to show which states are on the rise and where the sport is spreading. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – October 2017

Welcome to another issue of Sports Science Monthly. This month, we start with an article looking at a hot topic: mindfulness training. Mindfulness has been a buzzword in daily life, from bio-hacking gurus, and in the realm of sports performance. We’ll take a look to see if the science backs up the claims. Read more

Which Countries Performed the Best in London?

Everyone knows that athletics is a global sport, but this year’s World Championships showed that once again. The IAAF has 215 member federations and 66 countries produced a top 8 finish in London. That includes multiple countries from each continent. But among those countries there were some clear winners and losers. Read more