You Dont Know What Tony Romos Got Till Hes Gone

September 30, 2019

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Rex Grossman508212.9 David Woodley504712.3 Tom Brady5121+23.3 Boomer Esiason1045512.7 Peyton Manning722321.7 Tony Romo802916.7 UPDATE (Nov. 26, 10:30 p.m.): Tony Romo reinjured his collarbone on Thursday in a game against the Carolina Panthers. ESPN reported that he will be out for the rest of the season.By beating the Miami Dolphins Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys preserved their undefeated record this season with quarterback Tony Romo under center. That’s the good news for Cowboys fans; the bad news is that Romo has only played three games. Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden were both winless when filling in at QB while Romo was out with a broken clavicle. At 3-7, the Cowboys have little chance of making the playoffs unless they go on a serious tear against what isn’t an easy schedule down the stretch.If nothing else, the Cowboys’ season has reinforced just how completely essential Romo is. His absence has made it clear that he belongs in any discussion of the league’s top signal-callers.Romo ranks among the top QBs in the NFL over his career, whether you use data from the box score1He ranks fifth in adjusted net yards per attempt since taking over as a starter in 2006. or more advanced, play-by-play metrics.2He ranks eighth in QBR. But Romo also has a reputation, starting early in his career and growing with each passing year since the Cowboys’ last Super Bowl win, for not being “a winner.”While it’s possible Romo is a stat-stuffer whose great individual numbers overstate his true worth, there are other ways to detect a player’s value. For instance, here at FiveThirtyEight we’re oddly thankful when players miss time because it gives us a chance to quantify their influence on the performance of their teams. And few quarterbacks in NFL history have been associated with a better with-or-without-you (WOWY) ledger than Romo.To help measure this WOWY effect, I used Elo ratings, FiveThirtyEight’s pet power rating system. Elo gives us a snapshot of how good each team was expected to be at any given moment, as well as how much a team’s strength estimate changes over time. By looking at those changes in conjunction with who the team’s primary QB was during that game3Meaning the QB who attempted the most passes in a given game., we can construct WOWY scores that measure how much having a given passer under center helps the team.For instance, after Romo’s Cowboys beat Philadelphia in Week 2 (the game in which Romo was lost to injury), they achieved a 1618 Elo rating. Seven games later, when he took the field again on Sunday, Dallas’s rating had dropped to 1463, meaning it lost about 22 points of Elo per game in his absence. By comparison, the Cowboys gained about 19 points of rating per game when Romo does play, so his WOWY this season is +41: the team gains 41 more points of Elo per game when he plays than when he doesn’t.Gaining 41 points of WOWY is incredibly impressive by itself. In seasons where a QB both played and missed at least three games, only Dan Fouts’ 1978 season ranks higher since 19704The year of the AFL-NFL merger.. But it’s nothing new for Romo, who has consistently been good for the Cowboys. Over his career, his WOWY score of +16.7 ranks third among qualified5Minimum 50 games as a team’s primary passer in a career, and 20 games missed. passers since 1970: Drew Brees872513.7 GAMES John Elway1513613.9 Joey Harrington552512.4 QUARTERBACKWITHWITHOUTWOWY ∆ ELO Joe Ferguson947712.2 That Rex Grossman and Joey Harrington are anywhere near Tom Brady and Peyton Manning on that table shows that this isn’t a completely foolproof method. (For one thing, WOWY can’t factor in the quality of a QB’s backups, beyond what Elo is able to detect from changes in a team’s performance.) But it does suggest that, in terms of making his team more likely to win games, Romo has done an impressive job with the supporting cast the Cowboys have given him. Like Brady6Don’t let the 11-5 record against a weak schedule fool you; the Cassel-led 2008 Pats were significantly worse than they were in 2007 or would be in 2009. and Manning, Romo is associated with elevating his teams’ chances of winning games in addition to gaudy stats.That probably won’t be enough to change anyone’s mind in one of those endless arguments about Romo, but it does quantify what we’ve seen so far this season: The Cowboys are a very good team with Romo — and are totally lost without him.Check out our NFL predictions for odds on every game. read more


Is James Harden As Good As He Says He Is

September 29, 2019

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Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Feb. 21, 2017), we revisit how the Kings got fleeced in the DeMarcus Cousins trade with FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner. Next, we call up bracketologist Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation to break down the stakes in men’s college basketball as March Madness approaches. Finally, is James Harden as good as he says he is? We investigate.Links to what we discussed this week: FiveThirtyEight Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed The New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman reports on the details of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.ESPN Stats & Information takes a look at the numbers behind the trade.Kyle Wagner wrote about whether the trade made sense for the Kings.Chris Dobbertean’s latest analysis of the NCAA men’s field.The NCAA is looking at changing the way it chooses teams for March Madness, writes FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine.In a profile in TIME, James Harden makes the claim that he’s the NBA’s most valuable player.Significant Digit: 110, the number of points that Grinnell College scored against Illinois College last Saturday. Grinnell employs the Grinnell System, the hallmarks of which include shooting a lot of threes, subbing entire lineups in and out at once, and employing a full-court press. read more


The Thunders Slow Starters Couldnt Keep Up With the Clippers

September 28, 2019

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In Monday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks made his first substitutions eight minutes into the game. Nick Collison and Caron Butler came in for Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka with the Thunder down four points.This wasn’t the first time the Thunder’s starting lineup had been outscored in its first stint of a game — it was the 48th this season (including the playoffs). The first few minutes of a game are a relatively small sample, of course, but it’s a telling trend: The Thunder’s starters have put them behind in 53.3 percent of the team’s games. And yet the Thunder have won 70 percent of all games so far.Monday night, though, they didn’t. Everything tightens in the playoffs; small weaknesses become magnified and exploited. The narrowest of margins in the beginning can become the deciding factor between victory and defeat. For the Thunder, figuring out how to start building a lead right from the opening tip could be the difference in extending a playoff run.All season, the Thunder have struggled with their starters. In part because of injuries, the Thunder used nine different starting lineups by the time the playoffs rolled around. Those nine different starting lineups had a raw plus/minus of -10 in the 589 minutes they played before the first substitute came in, which is an average point differential of -0.8 per 48 minutes. That number doesn’t seem overwhelmingly negative until we compare it to the Thunder’s season-long differential of +6.3 per 48 minutes using all lineups.In other words, the Thunder’s ability to recover from slow starts is a reflection of their immense talent. Their starting lineups play an average of just over six minutes a game, and in that time the -0.8 per 48-minute point differential works out to just hundredths of a point per game. Their win percentage is almost identical regardless of whether their starters build a lead or dig a hole, 74 percent to 67 percent.But there is an enormous difference in the Thunder’s margin of victory between those two scenarios. In games where the starters build a lead to begin the game, the Thunder have won by an average of 10.86 points. In games where the starters have left the team behind, the Thunder have won, but by an average of just 1.77 points. The Thunder are good enough to eventually overwhelm almost any opponent, but the lead, or lack thereof, that they create for themselves at the beginning of a game carries enormous weight in determining the final margin of victory. It’s something to keep in mind as the Thunder’s starters take the court on Wednesday for Game 2.A methodological note for those interested: The lineup data for this post came from the gameflow charts at popcornmachine.net. I took the game results, final-point margins and number of starting lineups from Basketball-Reference. The per-48-minute differential for all lineups came from NBA.com. I’m kind of a stats polygamist when it comes to sources. read more


Griffey In His Prime Was The Second Coming Of Willie Mays

September 28, 2019

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But let’s say we give in and run the same exercise without giving extra weight to the most thrilling years of Griffey’s career. In that case, we find Roger Maris, whose single-season home-run record Griffey flirted with in 1994 before labor strife brought the season to an abrupt halt. This is a telling comparison. Over their respective careers, Mays and Maris boasted nearly identical marks in power, contact and plate patience, but they differed greatly in the most dynamic areas of the game: speed and defense.Likewise, late-career Griffey retained much of his familiar hitting profile, but he became unrecognizable in the field and on the basepaths. After stealing 167 bases in the first 11 years of his career, Griffey swiped only 17 over his final 11 seasons. He also joined the likes of Adam Dunn and Manny Ramirez as one of baseball’s least valuable fielders over his final major-league decade, an outcome that seemed unthinkable when Junior was pulling fly balls off the wall at a dead sprint and doing his “I got it” routine across the Great Lakes. The effect is so extreme that if we invert the prime-weighting scheme from above, instead giving excess weight to a player’s worst seasons, Griffey suddenly profiles like a lumbering slugger in the mold of Kevin Mitchell or Prince Fielder — a far cry from the sprightliness of his ’90s heyday.But here’s the thing: While Kevin Mitchell and Prince Fielder were and are, uh, hefty, they’re also pretty good players. Among non-pitchers since 19133The earliest season, continuous from 2015, for which FanGraphs tracks strikeout rate for batters. with 3,000 or more career trips to the plate, each ranks in the top third in WAR on a per-plate appearance basis. His skills may have been undermined by constant injuries, an ill-fated contract and geriatric napping, but even in winter, one of Griffey’s closest comps was a 31-year-old six-time All-Star.There are many faces to Griffey’s stardom. He might have been baseball’s last truly mainstream superstar, which takes on even more meaning in a sport with an ever-dwindling base of African-American players. The iconography of Griffey — the fun-loving, video game-endorsing, steroid-free natural athlete — always meant his case for the Hall rested on more than mere numbers. But as we all celebrate Griffey’s career this week, it’s worth remembering that Griffey’s numbers are no mere thing, and his statistical legacy isn’t so fragile as to topple over at the first gust of scrutiny. Even during his worst days, Griffey remained an All-Star-caliber player; during his best, he really was the second coming of Willie Mays.Read More: Mike Piazza Was More Than A Big BatBaseball’s Hall Of Fame Is Stuck In The ’60s One hundred percent of public ballots have Ken Griffey Jr. going into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which should surprise exactly no one. The only suspense Junior’s election year was ever going to see was the question of how close he comes to unanimity, and whether or not the Baseball Writers’ Association of America conscripts an ordained bishop and a team of surveyors to find and consecrate center field at the site of the old Kingdome.It’s been a while since a position player of Griffey’s caliber went into Hall of Fame Day so certain of induction — Rickey Henderson in 2009 was probably the last — and a lot of the ink that’s been spilled over Griffey focuses on the more ethereal qualities that made him the face of a generation (a generation starving for Hall of Fame consideration, I might add): his style; his athleticism; that grin; that effortless, fluid, magisterial swing.If hall voters could vote in a GIF, I swear to God this thing would have a plaque by the second ballot.Statistically, though, Griffey isn’t talked about in exactly the same way as most players. His artistry was so unimpeachable, his heights so dizzying, and his fall so precipitous, it seemed, that talking about the full measure of his career in the persnickety, CPA-hued style of the modern baseball apparatus not only feels like stapling together two completely different players — The Kid and a mere, fallible mortal — but also carries a certain inevitable, Nearer, My God, to Thee sadness about the career he might have had.This is a mistake. The mystique of Ken Griffey Jr. doesn’t diminish any when held up to the lamp. If anything, panning reality out of myth only seems to grow the myth.Consider: If we break down Griffey’s skills1Adjusted for park effects. relative to the major league average — giving excess weight to his best wins above replacement seasons, to better capture what he was like in his prime — and look for players with similar profiles in their best years,2Generating similarity scores by summing the squared differences of any two players’ percentile ranks in five skill categories — contact rate, isolated power, walk rate, running ability (which includes speed score and baserunning runs) and defensive WAR — and weighting the differences according to each category’s influence on overall WAR. the prime version of Griffey was the closest thing the majors have ever seen to the great Willie Mays. Mays had a slightly better eye at the plate, made more contact and was a better runner. Otherwise, peak Griffey was the spitting image of the Say Hey Kid’s best years: a profanely powerful hitter and elite defensive outfielder with great speed and patience, and solid contact skills.(Griffey’s second-most similar prime-to-prime player was his former Mariners teammate Alex Rodriguez — no slouch in his best years, either.) read more


Badgers draw blueprint for beating Buckeyes

September 28, 2019

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With Wisconsin handing the Ohio State men’s basketball team its first loss of the 2010–11 season, the Badgers showed the rest of the nation that the Buckeyes are, in fact, beatable. The Badgers knew the only way they could defeat the Buckeyes was to be resilient, and limit OSU’s 3-point and free-throw attempts — and they accomplished all three. Wisconsin never backed down while facing the nation’s No. 1 team. After entering halftime with a two-point lead, the Buckeyes managed to extend their advantage to as many as 15 points in the second half. The Badgers didn’t back down, however, answering the Buckeyes with a 15-0 run to tie the game, and a 10-0 run down the stretch. “We started missing shots and they started making shots,” OSU coach Thad Matta said after the game. “You got to give Wisconsin a ton of credit. They got rolling there and they were banging shots from deep, and they were going in.” The Badgers’ 15-0 run was sparked by the resilience of point guard Jordan Taylor, who unlike previous Big Ten point guards such as Illinois’ Demetri McCamey and Penn State’s Talor Battle, found success against the defense of OSU freshman point guard Aaron Craft. Taylor scored 27 points in the game, 21 of which came in the second half. At one point, Matta switched Craft — who has earned a reputation of being one of the top defensive stoppers in the conference — off of Taylor in favor of OSU fifth-year senior forward David Lighty. “He got rolling,” Matta said of Taylor’s performance. “He hit some challenged, tough shots.” Wisconsin benefited from accurate 3-point shooting, making 12 of its 24 shots from beyond the arc. “A lot of them were contested. A lot of them were off movement, off ball screens, you know, pull up threes and things like that,” Lighty said. “All you can do is hope they miss and run at them.” The Badgers also limited the number of 3-point shots taken by the Buckeyes, with OSU connecting on three of its nine 3-point shot attempts the entire game. One successful attempt was a desperation heave by OSU freshman forward Jared Sullinger, making the score 70-67 with four seconds left. The Buckeyes took 20 3-point attempts in their Feb. 6 win against Minnesota, 15 in their Feb. 3 win against Michigan and 19 in their Jan. 25 win against Purdue. It wasn’t only beyond the arc that the Badgers limited the Buckeyes. Sullinger, the Buckeyes’ leading scorer on the season with 451 total points and an average of 18 points per game, took 12 shots and just four free-throw attempts the entire game — the fewest free throws he’s attempted since OSU’s Jan. 19 win against Iowa, in which he attempted three. Not all is lost for the Buckeyes, though, who despite Taylor’s and Wisconsin’s performance from beyond the arc, found themselves in the position to potentially eke out a close victory at the end of the game. “They had to play perfect for that stretch there to get us, and they did,” Matta said. “They deserve the credit for that.” read more


Commentary Say what Coach Fickell needs to mind his mouth

September 28, 2019

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We’re all aware of Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee’s propensity for regrettable one-liner remarks, but first-year OSU head football coach Luke Fickell unleashed a howler of his own during a Tuesday press conference. “We hope we get better,” Fickell said during his first visit with the media since the Buckeyes’ 24-6 loss at Miami. Is that so, coach? You “hope” your team gets better? President Gee couldn’t have said it better himself. Fickell’s remark strikes me as troubling because any coach on any football team, especially a first-year coach attempting to uphold 122 years of Buckeyes football tradition, needs to be proactive in improving their team, not hoping. What the Buckeyes need right now is a clear plan and discernible end in mind, especially with regard to the team’s dilemma at the quarterback position. Fickell said that while the media may tend to focus on quarterback play, he focuses on every facet of his team. “It’s focused on the quarterbacks, but we’ve got to do a better job all-in-all,” he said. “Whether it’s offensively or defensively… we’ve got to find a way to get our best 11 on the field.” Whew. That’s more like it from the Buckeyes’ head coach. He’s talking about improving the team and finding the pieces to the puzzle that will help the team succeed. But wait! Fickell produced another gaff as his press conference ended while explaining why he didn’t use a timeout during a fourth-quarter Miami drive that lasted 8:48 and bled the game clock down to less than one minute. “It ultimately didn’t end up hurting us,” Fickell said. What do you mean it didn’t hurt the team, coach? You didn’t utilize your timeouts, a valuable tool at your disposal, which, aside from stopping the clock earlier in Miami’s drive, could have served the Buckeyes in several ways. At the very least, you could have given your defense a breather since that particular Hurricanes’ drive lasted for the better part of ten minutes. Only a select group of people gets to see the team at every practice and team function, so I, along with all of Buckeye Nation, must give Fickell the benefit of the doubt when it comes to helping the Buckeyes improve. Fickell needs to do a little better than hoping his team will improve, as well as kidding himself that his team wouldn’t have benefitted from the use of a timeout at some point in the fourth quarter against Miami. With that attitude, Fickell could be hoping for a new job at another program in the near future. read more


Ohio State mens lacrosse looking to simplify things against Marquette

September 28, 2019

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Senior goalkeeper Greg Dutton watches from the goal during a game against Robert Morris Feb. 1 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. OSU won, 11-7.Credit: Ryan Robey / For The LanternThe Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (0-2) is looking to turn things around.Following back-to-back overtime losses to start the season, the team is set to return to Columbus Saturday to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles.Coming away from Jacksonville, Fla., after falling to Massachusetts, 12-11, in overtime as part of the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic, OSU coach Nick Myers said there is no time to hit the reset button.“Two tough losses, no doubt,” Myers said. “Coming up short is tough, but we are really just focused on the next task at hand which is Marquette on Saturday.”Marquette (1-1), which is in its second year as a Division I program, is coming off arguably its biggest win to date after knocking off Hofstra, 11-9, on the road in Hempstead, N.Y.OSU senior defenseman Joe Meurer said the Buckeyes have to focus on improving their communication in order to limit Marquette’s chances this weekend.“Obviously giving up 12 goals (in the loss to UMass) is not a staple of our defense, so we need to improve there,” Meurer said. “It’s just continuing to develop a chemistry on the defensive end and knowing when to slide.”One area that has been a concern early in the season for OSU — which also fell to Johns Hopkins, 10-9, Feb. 9 in triple overtime — has been its special teams, as they are 0-9 with the man-up advantage through two games. The early season struggles come after scoring 46 percent of the time in the same situation last season, good for fourth in the nation.“We have to simplify things,” Myers said. “We have gotten a number of different looks from different teams … it’s just settling into some basic different sets that we have, identifying areas that we think we can capitalize off of, and having an answer when we see different looks.”Another aspect that should be key for the Buckeyes throughout the rest of the season is evening up their faceoff percentage.Losing one of the best faceoff players in the country last season in Trey Wilkes (13th in the country at 58 percent), OSU has struggled to find a permanent replacement, going 13-51 against Johns Hopkins and UMass.“We are 25 percent at the X right now which isn’t stellar at all,” senior defenseman Dominic Imbordino said. “We definitely want to get that number up and get our offense the ball more, but right now we are trying to find an identity there and I think it’s going to turn around soon.”This is slated to be the second all-time meeting between the Buckeyes and the Golden Eagles as they met last year in Marquette’s first ever game as a Division I school, with OSU walking away with the 18-8 victory.Game time for the Buckeyes and the Golden Eagles is set for Saturday at noon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. read more


Ohio State mens basketball signs 4 new recruits

September 28, 2019

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With its season-opener looming, the Ohio State men’s basketball team got a boost for the future Wednesday afternoon.The Buckeyes are scheduled to tip off their 2014-15 season on Friday against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, but in the meantime, coach Thad Matta had four new players sign national letters of intent on signing day.The class consists of a pair of Texas natives, one Georgia product and one player from Dayton.Guard Austin Grandstaff from Rockwell, Texas, forward Mickey Mitchell of Plano, Texas, center Daniel Giddens from Marietta, Ga., and Dayton Dunbar High School guard A.J. Harris all signed their letters of intent Wednesday, committing their collegiate future to Matta and the Buckeyes.The four signings come a year after Matta brought on the same number of freshman ahead of this season.According to ESPN, all four of the newest Buckeye basketball commits are four-star rated players. Grandstaff received the highest rating with an 87 out of 100 on ESPN’s recruiting website. He, Giddens and Harris are all part of the ESPN 100.Giddens has played with the USA Basketball U16 National Team and averaged a double-double during his junior season at Wheeler High School. Harris was second team All-Ohio last season when he averaged 14.5 points and 6.1 assists. Grandstaff scored 27.1 points per game last season while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.Mitchell initially made a verbal commitment to OSU before backing out, and then recommiting earlier this year. His older brother — Mike — was a member of the OSU football team last season as a linebacker before deciding to leave the school. On Wednesday, Matta said he was “elated” to have Mitchell sign on with the Buckeyes.According to ESPN, the four players make up the No. 8 recruiting class nationally, and the best class in the Big Ten.While they’ll have to wait until next season to see the new class in action, Matta and the Buckeyes are scheduled to tip off against UMass-Lowell at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center on Friday. read more


Football Hooker looking to overcome injury before 2017 NFL season

September 28, 2019

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Former OSU safety Malik Hooker speaks during the 2017 NFL Combine in Indianapolis on March 5. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — The Malik Hooker success story at Ohio State was nearly complete. The former three-star recruit, replacing 2016 second-round NFL Draft pick Vonn Bell, took full advantage of his opportunity, intercepting seven passes and returning three for touchdowns in the 2016 season. His performance propelled the safety up NFL team draft boards.But on Nov. 26, during the Buckeyes’ 30-27 overtime win against Michigan, he injured himself, requiring hip labrum and sports hernia surgeries. Despite his rising draft stock, Hooker never considered skipping the Fiesta Bowl.“That was never a thought,” Hooker said at the Indiana Convention Center on Sunday during the NFL combine. “Just because I put too much work in with those guys. It would be like I’m letting them down.”He said the injury hurt, but joked about taking six ibuprofen tablets prior to his team’s bowl game. “As the game went on, it was something that I wasn’t paying attention to. I was just going out there trying to compete and get the win for the team,” Hooker said.Hooker had surgery on Jan. 16 and looks to return for rookie minicamp in July. He did not need to have the procedure done but opted to since he felt he would be fully recovered for rookie minicamp. “I just felt like, in order for me to go out there and compete with the best of the best in the National Football League, I felt like it was what was necessary because I wasn’t 100 percent or nowhere near it. I was probably about 78 percent,” Hooker said.Due to his recent surgery, teams were unable to check on Hooker’s leg. They focused on his upper body instead, according to the safety.Though he said he played through the injuries without much worry, NFL teams might proceed with a much more cautious approach. In ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft, Hooker is projected at the seventh overall pick. Last year’s seventh pick, San Francisco 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner, earned a contract guaranteeing him over $18 million.Hooker believes NFL teams should overlook his injury and focus on his play at OSU.“I wouldn’t really pay no mind into that,” Hooker said. “Just simply because the film says what it says.”Hooker isn’t alone at the combine. He, along with seven former teammates including defensive backs Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, are in Indianapolis. But unlike Lattimore and Conley, he will not take part in on-field drills and workouts.With the triumvirate of former starting OSU defensive backs heading to the NFL, three starting spots in the Buckeyes defensive backfield open. Hooker believes the replacements will be special once again next season.“It’s the culture of the program. We build, we reload,” Hooker said.The combine wraps up on Monday as defensive backs, sans Hooker, work out on the field. The 2017 NFL Draft will begin on April 27 in Chicago. read more


Put nice smelling soap in changing rooms to encourage girls into sport

September 25, 2019

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first_img“Now I am afraid it has got much younger. I think we are seeing earlier maturation, so we are realising girls are dropping out of activities at age eight and nine.”Baroness Campbell, who began her career as a school PE teacher at girls’ school in Manchester, told The Telegraph that girls are bombarded with images of celebrities on social media, which is “affecting how they see themselves, it’s affecting their view that sport is not for them”.“We’ve got a lot to think through if we want to keep girls involved: the kit they wear, what showers they use,” she said. “Even simple things like is there a decent smelling soap in the toilets? Boys don’t give a toss about any of that, but girls do.“Quite often in primary school you change in the classroom. If you’re a self conscious girl and all the boys are in the classroom, there are some issues there.” Georgina Twigg, Crista Cullen, Susannah Townsend, Hollie Webb and Laura Unsworth pose after they were awarded MBEs Baroness Sue Campbell head of women’s football at the FACredit:UPPA/Photoshot Last August, the Government set out its Childhood Obesity Plan, which found that there has been a steady decrease in the percentage of girls aged eight to ten who exercise the recommended 60 minutes per day,  from 22 per cent in 2008 to 16 per cent in 2012.Public Health England commissioned the Youth Sport Trust and Loughborough University to research ways to increase physical activity in girls aged eight to ten.The Youth Sport Trust, a charity which Baroness Campbell helped to set up and now chairs, ran a pilot project from March to September last year.They found that there is a “steeper average decline” in physical activity of girls than their male peers at primary school. This September the Youth Sport Trust will roll out their new strategy for promoting PE at primary schools across the country, which focuses giving girls more choice about what kind of sports they do.They also recommend that girls are taught sports separately to boys, with the emphasis on “fun and enjoyment” rather than competition. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Olympic hockey gold medallists Georgina Twigg, Crista Cullen, Susannah Townsend, Hollie Webb and Laura Unsworth pose after they were awarded MBEs during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham PalaceCredit:Getty Images Baroness Campbell said that sports lessons must not be confined to netball and hockey – which only appeal to a “small proportion” of girls –  but should include more “feminine” options like dance, Zumba and trampolining.“We’ve got a huge job to do to. We’ve got to learn to ask girls what they want,” she said. “We’ve got to continue to provide those [traditional sports] but they are competitive and not all girls want to be competitive”. She said primary schools should offer a wider curriculum of sport, adding: “Dance would be a classic example, trampolining , Zumba, it’s often things that in their mind relate to being feminine”. center_img Put nice smelling soap in changing rooms to encourage girls to play sport, a Football Association chief has said, as she reveals that girls as young as eight are now dropping out of sports lessons because they fear exercise is not feminine.Baroness Sue Campbell, who is head of women’s football at the FA, said that the steep decline in physical activity in primary school girls is a major concern for policy makers.“We used to believe that most girls stayed in sport until about age 14 or 15 and then dropped out because they didn’t want to look muscley,” said Baroness Campbell, the former chair of UK Sport who oversaw Team GB’s success at the London and Beijing Olympics. ‘Decent smelling soap in the toilets’, can help encourage girl pupils to play sport, said Baroness Sue CampbellCredit:Alamy 'Decent smelling soap in the toilets', can help encourage girl pupils to play sport, said Baroness Sue Campbell Baroness Campbell said that another major challenge with young girls is emotional illness.“There is more self-harming than we have ever had before. If you ask any headteachers, this will tell you that this starts in primary school, mong nine and ten-year-olds,” she said.“We’ve got obesity and we’ve got this growing emotional stuff  and my view is that physical activity is a counter balance for both physical fitness and emotional wellness”. Baroness Sue Campbell,last_img read more