The Performance Analysis of Race Distribution for Elite Male 400m Hurdlers
St Paul, Daniel
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The finals of the male 400m hurdles events, at the 2012 London Olympics, 2012 London Diamond League, 2011 World Championships in Daegu and 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, were observed for analysis. A computerised notation system was used to examine performance indicators such as touchdown times, 200m splits, stride patterns and flight times, in order to understand the race distribution of present day, elite male 400m hurdlers. This study revealed that present day elite male 400m hurdlers tend to run a considerably quicker 1st 200m compared to their 2nd 200m. This resulted in greater 200m differentials, which disagreed with most previous literature that stated lower 200m differentials correlate to better overall performance. Furthermore, flight times were found to have a weak positive correlation to overall performance times, whereas, extended flight times were found to have a weak negative correlation. This study suggested that it was due to the importance of stride pattern and rhythm that these results were found. Race distribution was explored through a predictive model developed by this study. Dense, naturalistic and visual representations of athletes race distributions were conveyed in a form intuitive for coaches and athletes. It was found that athletes race distributions each had a certain characteristic, which were found to be very important for coaches to understand. It is suggested by this study that coaches continue to develop and use this form of analysis as a tool for coaching, enabling more detailed and thorough race strategies to be produced. For future research, it would be more valuable to analyse a greater number of elite male subjects with higher quality footage in order to create a wider and more accurate range of results of which more solid results could be found and compared.
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