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Herbert Wagner, Michael Buchecker, Serge P. von Duvillard and Erich Müller

Purpose:

The aims of the present study were: (1) to compare the differences in the ball release speed and throwing accuracy between the ABOVE and SIDE throw; (2) to analyze kinematic differences of these two throwing techniques; and (3) to give practical applications to team handball coaches and players.

Methods:

Ball release speed, throwing accuracy, and kinematics were measured via the Vicon MX 13 (Vicon Peak, Oxford, UK) from 12 male elite right-handed team handball players.

Results:

Results of our study suggest that the two throwing techniques differ significantly (P < .0073) in the angles and/or angular velocities of the trunk (flexion, left tilt and rotation) and shoulder (flexion and abduction) of the throwing arm that result in a significantly different ball release speed (1.4 ± 0.8 m/s; P < .001) and that throwing accuracy was not significantly different.

Conclusion:

Our results indicated that the different position of the hand at ball release of the ABOVE and SIDE throws is primarily caused by different trunk flexion and tilt angles that lead to differences in ball release speed but not in throwing accuracy, and that the participants try to move their throwing arm similarly in both throwing techniques.

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Michael Buchecker, Stefan Wegenkittl, Thomas Stöggl and Erich Müller

This study evaluated the amount, and particularly, the structure of variability in postural control accompanying an unstable shoe (US) application. Mediolateral and anterior–posterior center of pressure signals plus electromyographic profiles of the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius medialis were recorded in 29 asymptomatic men while wearing both US and flat shoes. Statistical analysis included common measures of dispersion as well as sample entropy and largest Lyapunov exponent estimates. Data were compared by two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance. Corresponding main effects of footwear revealed that, in contrast to the flat shoes condition, the US intervention consistently increased center of pressure and electromyographic net fluctuations and rendered the overall system less complex, as reflected by the lower sample entropy and higher Lyapunov exponent values observed throughout. Accordingly, employing US in stance should be functional concerning motor development; however, the greater sensitivity of US users to external perturbations must not be overlooked and warrants further investigation.

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Gerold Sattlecker, Michael Buchecker, Christoph Gressenbauer, Erich Müller and Stefan J. Lindinger

Purpose:

To identify biomechanical predictors that distinguish between high- and low-score athletes in biathlon shooting and to determine the relationships among these variables in field testing.

Methods:

Twenty-two biathletes (8 female, 14 male) from the World Cup, the European Cup, and a federal youth squad each fired 3 clips of 5 shots in prone and standing shooting positions without physical load, followed by 2 respective series in both disciplines during a simulated 12.5-km pursuit race on roller skis. Biomechanical variables describing triggering, rifle force in the back shoulder, and body and rifle sway were calculated over the last 0.5 second before firing. For computed linear discriminant analyses, subjects were divided into high- and low-level performers based on mean scores for each condition separately. In addition, correlations among all biomechanical factors were calculated.

Results:

Regarding prone shooting, shoulder force in the rest condition and vertical rifle sway in the race simulation were shown to be main discriminators. Several body- and rifle-sway variables were found to be predictors in standing rest shooting. Body sway across the shooting line discriminated the groups in the standing race situation tendentially. Thus, the main performance predictors changed due to fatigue. Correlations between triggering and rifle sway, shoulder force and rifle sway, and body sway and rifle sway were discovered.

Conclusions:

Referring to the current results, athletes are recommended to focus on vertical rifle sway in prone position and on body sway across the shooting line during standing shooting when fatigued.