Sports Science

If you are not an experienced baseball player, a ball coming at you 40 ar 40 miles per hour is fast. You are almost certain to swing too late and then, when you realize that is fast, you will swing too early. You are almost as certain to miss.

So how can players hit a 95 M.P.H. fastball?  Given that it can be inside or outside of the strike zone, high or low, and also is rarely straight, it can be difficult even for them.

Researchers say they have pinpointed how the brain tracks such fast-moving objects and that can help understand how humans predict the trajectory of moving objects when it can take one-tenth of a second for the brain to process what the eye sees. 


Bullying and violence are the latest cultural magnet for administrators in schools around the country, but the solution may not be paid commercials, more books or talks in the gym - it may be as simple as embracing team sports again.

At the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., researchers discussed their analysis of data from the 2011 North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey to see if athletic participation was associated with violence-related behaviors, including fighting, carrying a weapon and being bullied. A representative sample of 1,820 high school students in the state completed the survey, which also asked adolescents whether they played any school-sponsored team sports (e.g., football) or individual sports (e.g. track).


Synthetic surfaces, popularly called Astroturf since the Houston Astrodome made it famous, were introduced in the 1960s to reduce strain on the playing surface and thus reduce field maintenance.

But it was linked to an increase in injuries, one example in football parlance being "turf toe". 

Third generation artificial surfaces behave more like grass and soil but continue to be associated with injuries to the foot, ankle, toe, knee and even concussions. Characteristics of the play surface directly affect how much energy is absorbed by the athlete upon impact and that means shoes are important.


Blanket stereotypes are bad but they often come into existence for a reason; the problem becomes when everyone is labeled with the same brush. There is a common belief that some schools, high school and college, are giving athletes an easier time because they have physical skills but not academic ones, for example, and so all athletes become considered "dumb jocks".

Are college athletes victims of stereotype threat the way sociologists contend women and minorities in science classes are?


Engineers at the University of Sheffield have been doing some science of rugby - measuring the dynamic friction between the material of the ball and the skin on the fingertips and palm, and the mitts that some players choose to wear under different weather conditions to find the best way to limit the risk of a player fumbling the ball.


French women are less likely to spend any time on any physical activities - not sports, exercise or even household chores, compared to women in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the UK, according to a new survey.

The multi-national survey on sport and exercise habits also reveals that more than 50 percent of French women did not play competitive sport or spend any time on intensive workouts such as running or cycling in a given week. As the French women's football team prepare for this summer's UEFA Women's EURO in Sweden (that's soccer to you Yanks), the countdown to the championships offers an opportunity for women to kick start heart-healthy physical activities and set themselves the goal of being more active.


When a marathon runner approaches the finish line of race but suddenly collapses, it's reasonable to assume it is because of a muscle issue. It might also be a braking mechanism in the brain which swings into effect and makes us people tired to continue. What may be occurring is what is referred to as 'central fatigue'.


America leads the world in science and Nobel prizes but we may never compete in men's soccer. The reason may be because men are too smart to hit things with their heads. A paper on the effects of young women who hit things with their heads is why.

The ongoing effects of a boxer hitting you in the head (bad) or Ronda Rousey arm-barring you into unconsciousness (kind of awesome - once, anyway) would seem obvious but a new paper says even less forceful actions, like 'heading' a soccer ball, can lead to changes in performance on certain cognitive tasks. It may be the American academia is out to kill sports. With science saying hockey and football are also bad for brains, and psychologists claiming competition hurts psyches, our future looks bleak.


A new paper says a hockey player's birthday strongly biases how professional teams assess his talent. 

The authors found that, on average, National Hockey League (NHL) draftees born between July and December are much more likely than those born in the first three months of the year to have successful careers. In particular, 34 percent of draftees were born in the last six months of the year, but these individuals played 42 percent of the games and scored 44 percent of the points accumulated by those in the study. By contrast, those born in the first three months of the year constituted 36 percent of draftees but only played 28 percent of the games and only scored 25 percent of the points.


If you liked FoxTrax, that glowing hockey puck shooting around the ice during NHL games, you will love what engineers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Tokyo have done: they put a camera inside a football.

The camera is embedded in the side of a rubber-sheathed plastic foam football can record video while the ball is in flight. Want a ball's-eye view of the playing field? Now you have it. But because a football can spin at 600 rpm, the raw video is an unwatchable blur so the researchers also developed a computer algorithm that converts the raw video into a stable, wide-angle view.