Sports Science


Phil Mickelson tees off at Gleneagles. Credit: EPA

By Tony Westbury, Edinburgh Napier University

Medinah Country Club, Chicago, Ryder Cup 2012. There were six short feet between Martin Kaymer and the 18th hole. This was the moment. No other player, no spectator, none of the many millions watching on television would have dared breathe. The seconds stretched as the German composed himself for his final shot.


Australian Football League. Credit: Deirdre/Flickr

By Steve Ellen, Monash University

It’s Grand Final season – it might seem that nothing else matters about now.

Writing about the psychology of football is like writing about the psychology of love. A fool’s business. Nothing (so far) has quite made sense of how 100,000 people turn up to shout and scream, cry and gasp, and pin their fortunes on a bunch of athletes running around crashing into each other at the limits of human endurance.

It’s just good honest fun. Well, mostly honest.

Fan passion

A new study by researchers found that the majority of players were able to return to play after having knee surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

But age matters. athletes who had ACL surgery when they were in high school or younger were much more likely to suffer repeat ACL reinjuries than athletes who experienced their first ACL injury during collegiate play.


In 2010, McGill Redmen receiver Charles-Antoine Sinotte suffered a concussion during his last home game. "It was like nothing I had experienced before," recalls Sinotte. "I felt like I was out of my body."

Although he received medical attention and missed the rest of the game, he admits he downplayed his symptoms in order to play in the next game – his last before leaving McGill. 



Kell Brook and two of the Sheffield Hallam University team. Credit: Sheffield Hallam University.

By Alan Ruddock, Sheffield Hallam University

Amid all the flashing lights, it was a moment of sheer exhilaration when the winner was finally announced: “By a majority decision, the new IBF welterweight champion on the world – Kell Brook.”

The world's fastest sprinters have unique gait features that account for some of their ability to achieve fast speeds, according to two new studies which indicate that the secret to elite sprinting speeds lies in the distinct limb dynamics sprinters use to elevate ground forces upon foot-ground impact.

The new findings address a major performance question that has remained unanswered for more than a decade.


Do women and men ride differently? If so, would a horse know in a blind human rider test?

For centuries, horses were a tool of wealthy elites during war and so riding was largely restricted to males. By contrast, today nearly 80 percent of riders are women. Modern-day equestrian sports is one of very few fields where men and women compete directly against one another at all levels, from beginners in gymkhanas to national champions in the Olympic Games.  Even chess insists women are different than men while equestrians do not.

A new study investigated the value of the Pre-Exhaustion (PreEx) training method and found that that the various arrangements of different exercise protocols is of less relevance than simply performing resistance training exercises with a high intensity of effort within any protocol. 


Was Spanish hurdler María José Martínez-Patiño a male or female athlete? If science can't answer such a basic biological question as that, how can it determine if Lance Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs? Yet the answer is sometimes cloudy. 

Males and females compete in different categories because men are biologically different. If men competed against women in many events, the participation of women would be scant because men would hold win all of the events and hold most of the records.  Martínez-Patiño
was a successful hurdler in the Spanish nationals but a persistent rumor - invoked again and again by female competitors - turned out to be true; Martínez-Patiño


In the NFL. there is a salary cap and while money in contracts can be guaranteed, the contract itself is not. For people outside the US this makes no sense but basically every contract has a bonus, which is guaranteed, and then an annual salary, which is not. A team can waive a player and the money of the bonus counts 'against the cap' while the annual salary is prorated.