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Characterising initial sprint acceleration strategies using a whole-body kinematics approach

James J Wild Orcid Logo, Ian N. Bezodis Orcid Logo, Jamie S. North Orcid Logo, Neil Bezodis Orcid Logo

Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume: 40, Issue: 2, Pages: 203 - 214

Swansea University Author: Neil Bezodis Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Sprint acceleration is an important motor skill in team sports, thus consideration of techniques adopted during the initial steps of acceleration is of interest. Different technique strategies can be adopted due to multiple interacting components, but the reasons for, and performance implications of...

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Published in: Journal of Sports Sciences
ISSN: 0264-0414 1466-447X
Published: Informa UK Limited 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58364
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Abstract: Sprint acceleration is an important motor skill in team sports, thus consideration of techniques adopted during the initial steps of acceleration is of interest. Different technique strategies can be adopted due to multiple interacting components, but the reasons for, and performance implications of, these differences are unclear. 29 professional rugby union backs completed three maximal 30 m sprints, from which spatiotemporal variables and linear and angular kinematics during the first four steps were obtained. Leg strength qualities were also obtained from a series of strength tests for 25 participants, and 13 participants completed the sprint protocol on four separate occasions to assess the reliability of the observed technique strategies. Using hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis, four clear participant groups were identified according to their normalised spatiotemporal variables. Whilst significant differences in several lower limb sprint kinematic and strength qualities existed between groups, there were no significant between-group differences in acceleration performance, suggesting inter-athlete technique degeneracy in the context of performance. As the intra-individual whole-body kinematic strategies were stable (mean CV = 1.9% to 6.7%), the novel approach developed and applied in this study provides an effective solution for monitoring changes in acceleration technique strategies in response to technical or physical interventions.
Keywords: Degeneracy; ecological dynamics; performance; rugby union; sprinting; technique
College: College of Engineering
Issue: 2
Start Page: 203
End Page: 214