Category Archives for Smart & Swift

The Hustle reports on new weight room toys at LSU

LSU and some MIT grads think data (might) win championships

The Louisiana State Tigers football program makes a strong case for the old “best offense is a good defense” adage. 

But LSU, which finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25, also seems to have proved that data plays a role as well. 

Geaux nerds

Last January, a startup called Perch -- founded by 3 MIT jocks-cum-entrepreneurs -- started sending unsolicited emails to a number of athletics programs asking them to pilot a device created to collect data through velocity-based training. LSU was the first to say “Heeeeey.”

Velocity-based training is a technique that measures bar speed with respect to total weight and reps. This regimen improves power and explosiveness, which is vital to taking down linemen and breaking tackles.

Perch’s device works by aiming a camera -- similar to an Xbox Kinect -- on top of a weight rack and tracking a player’s movements. Data uploaded to the cloud gives coaches and trainers -- and players, who love to one-up one another -- real-time feedback on performance. 

Also… go team

Three weeks after Perch installed units at LSU’s indoor football facility, Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron said he noticed differences. 

“I think our guys are stronger and quicker and faster,” he told the WSJ. He also noted fewer injuries compared with prior years. 

Since the LSU pilot, Perch has installed units at Duke University and will do so for NFL, NHL, and MLS teams as well as additional college football programs next year.

Exceptional podcast: This week’s “Only A Game” from NPR

Good listening

I didn't know the back story of the lefty, ex-baseball player, Governor Gavin. 

My wife is a big fan of LeBron James too. She talked with him in Beijing in August 2008 while at the Olympics in a neighborhood setting. The podcast goes into the news about LeBron's statements about the NBA and its China dealings too. Humm.

Biggest point to be made about these statements of China, Hong Kong and the NBA include the fact that those in China can't even see Twitter. Twitter.com is a blocked URL from all of China. So,the tweet from the Houston GM was never seen by citizens inside of China.

Show notes: OCTOBER 18, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom, Black Sox Scandal, LeBron Faces Criticism

Gavin Newsom says he would not be the governor of California if not for college sports. So why did he decide to sign a law that challenges the entire NCAA system? Also this week on Only A Game, LeBron James is facing criticism for his response to Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey's tweet. 

Thorny issue of women and girls sports and the inclusion of trans athletes

Noel Plum's video insights

The debate over women's sport and the complex and thorny issues of what place trans-women and those with intersex conditions have within sport has been heating in some circles. Comments by celebrated athletes such as Martina Navratilova, Sharron Davies, Dame Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe have shown considerable push.

In this video, Noel covers some recent events and tries to explain the present problem, thought to be completely unsolvable. The present labels of "men's" and "women's" sports events look need an alternative model moving into the future. Expect to see many efforts in the future on how to work to and to discuss various models.

Video hopes to deal with objections.

Abandon the model of dividing sport into "men's" and "women's" categories by

  • Re-label the "women's" category explicitly as the "female" category. 
  • Disband the "men's" category. 
  • Create an "open" category for anyone: male, female, man, woman or non-gender binary.

Bill Price posted on Facebook and calls this a meta issue

The topic is sure to affect all in sports, regardless of the level and age groups. He contends that the solutions presented so far by the IOC, NCAA, USA Swimming, and the IAAF (to name just a few) don't address the real scope of the problem. He posted that coaches "need to develop a deeper understanding of why this issue is causing such a ruckus, and why some are concerned about the future of sport."

Plenty of discussions swirl about on the YouTube page as well.

Other Links to research:
  • Caster Semenya takes gender rule challenge to sports court 
  • LGBT group severs links with Navratilova over transgender comments
  • Sharron Davies: Former British swimmer says transgender athletes should not compete in women's sport
  • Sports stars weigh in on row over transgender athletes
  • Why calls for athletes to compete as a homogenized group should be resisted
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