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Sports Science Monthly – October 2021

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. Continuing on from this site’s analysis of the Tokyo Olympics, our first research summary looks at sprint pacing strategies and distribution of effort across the rounds of championship. We then continue to look at new research on creating a high performance environment, mental health in elite coaches, the effectiveness of mentors, and much more.

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August/September 2021 in review: Olympic debrief

The site theme in August and September was debriefing the Olympics. Our team of contributors put together 7 new articles and 5 podcasts looking at difference aspects of the performances, coaching, lessons learned, and more. Find links to all of the new resources below.

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Analyzing the Olympic 100-meter sprints

As always, the whole world was focused on athletics this summer at the Tokyo Olympics took place. Within the athletics program, the men’s and women’s 100 meters were the in the spotlight. Behind the historic performances is a treasure trove of data that helps look in more detail at the event, learn about it, and identify the latest trends in sprinting. Below are some insights on overall performance levels, how well maximum velocity and acceleration correlate, top speed, speed loss, race modeling, and more.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 257: Mailbag

It’s time to open the listener mailbag again. As the track season comes to and end and the fall sports season starts up, we answer some questions on scoring trends in track and field, general preparation, plyometrics, med balls, and share some memories of Yuriy Sedykh.

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Global trends in track and field: who’s hot and who’s not

While everyone focuses on the medal table during the Olympics, what I find even more interesting is the placing table. The placing table allocates points for each finalist: 8 points for first, 1 for eighth. Medals can often be a matter of luck, but by looking at a country’s depth you get a real idea of trends in the sport. Below are some insights gathered from analyzing the results from Tokyo, as well as placings for the last six Olympics.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 256: Throwing trends (with Don Babbitt)

The dust has settled following Tokyo, giving us time to analyze the most recent trends in our sport. It’s not just a question of who is hot and who is not, but how current throwers are adapting and changing technique to reach new levels. On this week’s podcast coach Don Babbitt joins us to look at the technical trends in the throws that emerged in Tokyo.

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Analyzing the Olympic pole vault competitions

Not only did this year’s Olympic Games mark the high point of the year for pole vaulters, it also presented a new era in the sport. Two first-time Olympians won gold, showing adversity of against the tough conditions, as well as two seasons training and competing under a pandemic. Below I take an in depth look at both the men’s and women’s competition, as well as some thoughts on what sets apart the sport’s biggest star: Mondo Duplantis.

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A call to standardize throwing surfaces

All sports have rules. Rules are there to standardize competition, making it both more safe and fair for the competitors. Rules define the playing area, implement, procedures, and more. Rules can go overboard, but the idea is that the rules make sure the winner determined by physical and tactical components, rather than luck. In the throwing events various rules define the size and weight of the implement, where it must be thrown, the design of the cage, and the structure of the competition. However one there is one big gap in the rules: the throwing surface.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 255: Olympic throws debrief (with Shaun Pickering)

The Olympics just wrapped up. All the uncertainty leading into the games was left fans unsure of what was to come. But once the throwing started, historic performances arrived daily. On this week’s episode guest Shaun Pickering joins us to break down the performances in each of the throwing events, look at what made the Tokyo Olympics different, and draw out some key lessons for coaches and athletes from the 2020 Olympics.

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Tokyo 2020: the roller coaster Olympics

I wrote this sitting on the plane returning from Tokyo. The last two years have been a roller coaster for athletes s they were not sure if no when the Olympics would even take place. Even once it was clear that the Olympics would go forward, my opinion has been like a roller coaster, changing nearly every day as I saw a new aspect of this unique Games.

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