The Advantages of the Bigger Brain in Sports

We recently explored the athletic head. What about the rest of us?

A bigger skull means a lower likelihood of stroke. The bigger the skull, the lower the chance of it reaching its pressure limit.

Better mental endurance. Thinking for longer periods of time.

More sleep required. More time will be needed to cool off this entropy. Even if the brain has the same theoretical temperature, the larger volume will take longer to cool off.

More precision in pressure. I always think of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. If bigger brains play with more precision over time, it seems like atmosphere, time, and other conditions would not effect the large brains as much.

Better at repeatable movements over a long period of time. While the small brains fire more quickly, they also have less precision and endurance. I would look at the massive racial disparities in golf and tennis

I think we have to assume that economics alone do not explain this disparity. We have to assume that if there was a massive pool of untapped talent hiding in low-income communities, someone would’ve found it by now.  

 


 

Let’s look at home field advantage again with this in mind. The black-dominated sports have the biggest home field advantages. And the white-dominated sports have much less of an advantage at home. In that article, we said that it was the nature of the sport that was the difference in the home field advantage. I think there is more to the story.

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So why is home field advantage so strong in the NBA?. Because speed and explosiveness come at a premium. It doesn’t matter if you have someone who literally has never missed a three-pointer in his life, if he can’t move and get the shot up quickly, he can’t play in the NBA. So if speed and explosiveness come at a premium, the fastest and most explosive people will likely be better at it. If I have a team of track stars and you have a team of shooters, we’ll win because we can run past the defense and shoot a higher percentage. We’d also have better close-out defense, and get more rebounds. So instead of having the absolute best shooters on the planet in the NBA, we have the best athletes that can shoot. 

Why is hockey so different? Why is its home field advantage so much less than basketball? Because explosiveness is undervalued. Apollo Ono could be on the ice but never make a huge difference. The rink is shorter, so there are fewer breakaways, and nobody leaves the ice. So jumping doesn’t matter.  Precision is important, but explosiveness is not premium. 

So the nature of the sport determines the type of athlete that is most valued. That value determines the type of brain that can perform best under the conditions of the sport. Those criteria determine which races dominate different sports. And those races determine the relative difference of home field advantage.

Sources:

  1. http://harvardsportsanalysis.org/2014/07/a-different-measure-of-diversity-in-pro-sports/
  2. https://infogram.com/2012-racial-breakdown-of-major-us-professional-sports-1g8djp9o0xykpyw
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Precision_sports
  4. http://blackyouthproject.com/black-people-dont-playlike-hockey/
  5. https://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/where-are-all-black-golfers-nearly-two-decades-after-tiger-woods-arrival-golf-still-st
  6. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pg5njm/does-tennis-have-a-race-problem