Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Growth Of Rory McIlroy’s Brain

via Axon Sports

At the young age of 22, Rory McIlroy is one of the top players on the PGA tour, while mere mortal golfers wish they could play half as well as the young Irishman. Well, chances are Rory’s brain actually has more gray matter than the average weekend duffer. Researchers at the University of Zurich have found that expert golfers have a higher volume of the gray-colored, closely packed neuron cell bodies that are known to be involved with muscle control. The good news is that, like Rory, golfers who start young and commit to years of practice can also grow their brains while their handicaps shrink. Executing a good golf swing …

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March Madness Fans Have Selective Memories

via Axon Sports

Depending on who you talk to, there are different definitions of something called, “The Shot” in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  To North Carolina fans, its Michael Jordan’s game winning jumper in the 1982 final, while to Hoosier fans, its Keith Smart’s 16-foot swish with under 10 seconds to go in 1988. But Christian Laettner’s last second turnaround game winner in the 1991 regional final over Kentucky is forever etched into the memories of Duke fans. Do those same rabid supporters remember the crucial missed shots from their heroes over the years?  Neuroscience researchers at Duke University wanted to find out so they tested the memories of some …

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Can Home Court Advantage Turn Into Home Court Choke?

via Axon Sports

Ask any NBA player or coach where they would prefer to play a high stakes game, home or away, and the vast majority will choose being in the friendly confines of their home arena.  Overall, the win-loss records of most teams would support that, but they would do even better if they taught their home fans a lesson in performance psychology.   When it comes to sports skills, research has shown that we’re better off to just do it rather than consciously thinking about the mechanics of each sub-component of the move.  Waiting for a pitch, standing over a putt or stepping up to the free throw line gives our brains …

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MIT Sloan Sports Conference Mixes Jocks And Brains

via Axon Sports

For most of us growing up, there were two distinct groups of students in our high schools, the Jocks and the Brains.  While they pretended not to like each other, there was an unspoken mutual respect.  Just as the Jocks wished they could learn concepts and do homework as quickly as the Brains, the Brains dreamed of athletic glory.   This weekend in Boston, they are reunited at the equitably named MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.  In its sixth year, the SSAC has grown from 175 people, mostly students, to this year’s sold out event where over 2,200 attendees will gather at the Hynes Convention Center.  Combining new research, data and …

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