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Amy Waters, Elissa Phillips, Derek Panchuk and Andrew Dawson

In high performance sport it is common for sport biomechanists to play a role in modifying an athlete’s technique. Sport biomechanists and coaches view sprinting performance through distinct lenses based on their unique experience, they bring a diverse range of knowledge together to improve performance. The purpose of this paper is to establish and compare the experiential knowledge of elite sprint running technique of the two groups. Fifty-six sprint coaches and 12 applied sport biomechanists were surveyed to determine ideas on what ideal sprinting technique looked like and eight coaches and sport biomechanists participated in semi-structured interviews to further explore these ideas. Several themes were supported in the biomechanist and coach responses as well as empirical literature, however there were some differences, including opposing priorities of the arm action and stance phase positioning that were not supported in the literature. These differences revealed areas where the biomechanist can best assist coaches and where coaches can suggest avenues for future research. Working together through the coach-biomechanist relationship that exists in high performance sport can benefit all involved and gaps in knowledge can be overcome to ensure that athletes receive the very best support to improve their performance.

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Amy R. Lewis, William S.P. Robertson, Elissa J. Phillips, Paul N. Grimshaw and Marc Portus

For the wheelchair racing population, it is uncertain whether musculoskeletal models using the maximum isometric force-generating capacity of nonathletic, able-bodied individuals are appropriate, as few anthropometric parameters for wheelchair athletes are reported in the literature. In this study, a sensitivity analysis was performed in OpenSim, whereby the maximum isometric force-generating capacity of muscles was adjusted in 25% increments to literature-defined values between scaling factors of 0.25x and 4.0x for 2 elite athletes, at 3 speeds representative of race conditions. Convergence of the solution was used to assess the results. Artificially weakening a model presented unrealistic values, while artificially strengthening a model excessively (4.0x) demonstrated physiologically invalid muscle force values. The ideal scaling factors were 1.5x and 1.75x for each of the athletes, respectively, as was assessed through convergence of the solution. This was similar to the relative difference in limb masses between dual-energy X-Ray absorptiometry data and anthropometric data in the literature (1.49x and 1.70x), suggesting that dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry may be used to estimate the required scaling factors. The reliability of simulations for elite wheelchair racing athletes can be improved by appropriately increasing the maximum isometric force-generating capacity of muscles.

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Kym J. Williams, Dale W. Chapman, Elissa J. Phillips and Nick Ball

Purpose: To establish the influence of athlete-dependent characteristics on the generation and timing of system and individual joint powers during a countermovement jump (CMJ). Methods: Male national representative athletes from volleyball (n = 7), basketball (n = 6), and rugby (n = 7) performed a set of 3 CMJs at relative barbell loads of 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40% of absolute back-squat strength. Ground-reaction forces and joint kinematics were captured using a 16-camera motion-capture system integrated with 2 in-ground force plates. Limb lengths and cross-sectional areas were defined using 3-dimensional photonic scans. A repeated-measures analysis of variance determined the interaction between system and joint load–power profiles, whereas a multiregression analysis defined the explained variance of athlete-dependent characteristics on the load that maximized system power. Results: System and isolated hip, knee, and ankle peak powers were maximized across a spectrum of loads between and within sports; power values were not significantly different across loads. A positive shift in the timing of hip and ankle peak powers corresponded to a significant (P < .05) positive shift in the timing of system peak power to occur closer to toe-off. An optimal 3-input combination of athlete-dependent characteristics accounted for 68% (P < .001) of the explained variance in the load that maximized system peak power. Conclusion: The load maximizing system power is athlete-dependent, with a mixture of training and heredity-related characteristics influencing CMJ load–power profiles. The authors recommend that a combination of relative loads be individually prescribed to maximize the generation and translation of system CMJ power.