'The Influence of the 'Play the ball' in Semi-Professional Rugby League'
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of this study was to explore the effect the speed of the 'play of the ball' had on match play using the measurable performance indicator of 'metres gained'. This was achieved by using a specifically created computerised analysis system that was able to observe team performance combined with a manual question list to help validate the study used in junction with a video questionnaire to analyse perception on 'play of the ball' speed. The match analysis and video question list was conducted using (n=15) South Wales Scorpions games from the 'Championship 1' using Nacsport computer software. The question list was created online using MYTPE. The intra-observer reliability showed the mean reliability level was very high with 0.02 accuracy. The research established the winning team has a mean advantage of (0.09s) per play of the ball and a mean (127m) per game advantage. The 10 largest gains across both sides in metres, came from a mean (4.6s) play of the ball time compared to the standard mean (5.5s). A correlation was shown between more metres gained the faster the play of the ball is. As the attacking set progressed the play the ball times decreased and metres gained increased. The video question list to understand players perception of the speed of the play the ball showed that (5s) was seen as acceptable play of the ball speed supporting the average play of the ball time seen in the match analysis of (5.5s). The question list showed large agreement that the current theory of coaching practices are the same or similar across the performance continuum and supported the research. Further research should focus on field position and type of carry to explore the effect of the speed of the play of the ball further.
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