Posts

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

The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Sport

Baseball is a simple game; you compete against another team to see who can get the most players around a diamond-shaped playing surface. This means that your team really has two objectives. The first is to get players around the diamond; this means not getting out, either through strikes or being caught. The second is to stop the other team from getting players round the diamond; this means pitching at them well enough so that they can’t hit the ball sufficiently to score a run. To aid these tasks, baseball has traditionally had a number of statistics it can call upon, including batting average (the number of hits you get for each “at-bats”, or hitting attempt), runs scored, and runs allowed. Within the later, you get some pitching statistics, including pitching speed. Common wisdom has it that the faster you pitch, the less time the batter has to figure out where the ball is going to go, and so the less chance he has of hitting it. Read more

Ranking the Best Throwing Nations

At the end of the day medals are important, but they can be a misleading metric of which countries are powerhouses in the world of throwing. Just a few athletes can lead you to the top of the medal tables, but a true throwing nation is about more than the strength of a few athletes. Therefore, with the help of Nick Garcia, we have once again taken a look at two different metrics to rank the top throwing nations in the world: points totals and number of finalists. The points table is a basic weighted calculation of the top eight finishers in each event. Nick has scored the Olympics as if it were an American high school or university championship: give the top eight places 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points respectively. The number of finalists is just a basic count of how many athletes each country placed in the top 12 to make it past the qualification round. Read more

Ranking the Top High School Hammer Throw States

As we finish up our look back at the 2016 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

The Flaw of Averages

How many of you use averages in order to inform your decisions? I know I do; as an athlete I focused on finding out what the average performance was at major championships to achieve certain placings, so that I could use that information in order to create my own individual goals. As a sports scientist, I use averages a lot – typically I tend to compare the average improvement in one group with the average improvement of another. But is the average actually a useful metric, or is it overused? Read more

The 2016 Indoor Season in Numbers

Bob Gourley’s final national performance lists for the 2016 indoor season were released a few weeks ago. As we did last year, it is helpful to take a statistical look at the sport as it continues to grow nationwide. Read more