How does ball carrying method effect sprint speed and the underlying mechanisms of sprint technique in Rugby Union players?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects ball carrying method has on sprint speed and the underlying mechanisms in sprinting technique with Rugby Union player. It is hypothesised that running with the ball in two hands elicits more frequent, shorter steps giving a lower velocity compared to running without a ball. It is also predicted that participants trunk will be more upright when running without a ball in hand compared to when the ball is in two hands. Four university level male rugby union players performed nine sprints in total under three different conditions over 30 m. The second 15 m of the sprint was recorded using four CODA scanners to collect data from markers placed on the participants at four joint centre locations. It was found that the participants trunk was more upright without a rugby ball in hand, 80.16 2.53⁰, compared to when the ball was in one hand, 78.15 3.01⁰, and two hands, 77.58 2.90⁰. Step length without a ball, 1.93 m 0.11, was very similar to when the ball was in two hands, 1.93 0.09 m. Step frequency without a ball was, 5.03 0.17 Hz, which was only 0.02 Hz less than with the ball in two hands, 5.05 0.08 Hz. Individual differences between participants could have also accounted for changes in data e.g. experience, playing position, height, weight etc. It is concluded that ball carrying method didn’t significantly affect step length however step frequency was found to be the main determinant in attaining maximal velocity. Sport specific sprint training should incorporate a rugby ball so that adaptations in sprinting technique can be made to reduce the slowing effects increasing rugby specific speed.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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