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Michael J.A. Speranza, Tim J. Gabbett, David A. Greene, Rich D. Johnston and Andrew D. Townshend

The tackle is one of the most crucial elements in the collision sports of rugby league and rugby union. 1 , 2 Tackling proficiency, the ability to dominate the tackle contest, and the tolerance of physical impacts are fundamental to success in these sports. 1 It has been shown that winning teams

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Michael J.A. Speranza, Tim J. Gabbett, David A. Greene, Rich D. Johnston, Andrew D. Townshend and Brett O’Farrell

The ability to execute proficient and effective tackles is a critical skill for success in collision sports such as rugby league or rugby union. 1 , 2 Recent studies have suggested that proficient tackle ability may play a role in the prevention of injury and concussions. 3 , 4 Furthermore, it is

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Michael J.A. Speranza, Tim J. Gabbett, Rich D. Johnston and Jeremy M. Sheppard

Purpose:

This study examined the relationships between tackling ability, playing position, muscle strength and power qualities, and match-play tackling performance in semiprofessional rugby league players.

Methods:

Sixteen semiprofessional rugby league players (mean ± SD age 23.8 ± 1.9 y) underwent tests for muscle strength and power. Tackling ability of the players was tested using video analysis of a standardized 1-on-1 tackling drill. After controlling for playing position, players were divided into “good tackler” or “poor tackler” groups based on the median split of the results of the 1-on-1 tackling drill. A total of 4547 tackles were analyzed from video recordings of 23 matches played throughout the season.

Results:

Maximal squat was significantly associated with tackling ability (r S = .71, P < .05) and with the proportion of dominant tackles (r S = .63, P < .01). Forwards performed more tackles (P = .013, ES = 1.49), with a lower proportion of missed tackles (P = .03, ES = 1.38) than backs. Good tacklers were involved in a larger proportion of dominant tackles and smaller proportion of missed tackles than poor tacklers.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that lower-body strength contributes to more effective tackling performance during both a standardized tackling assessment and match play. Furthermore, players with good tackling ability in a proficiency test were involved in a higher proportion of dominant tackles and missed a smaller proportion of tackles during match play. These results provide further evidence of the practical utility of an off-field tackling assessment in supplying information predictive of tackling performance in competition.

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Toni Liechty, Fleesha Willfong and Katherine Sveinson

The purpose of this study was to explore the embodied nature of empowerment among women who play tackle football. Data collection involved semistructured interviews with 15 female football players in Western Canada. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically. Three themes emerged from the data suggesting that playing football was empowering as women experienced: a) feelings of strength related to the physicality of the game; b) a sense of breaking boundaries as they participated despite challenges; and c) a sense of belonging to the team which led to positive outcomes such as increased confidence and selfacceptance. The findings of this study highlight the embodied nature of empowerment that comes through participation in sport and characteristics of contact team sport that can facilitate empowerment for women.

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John V. Stokes and James K. Luiselli

Functional analysis (FA) is an experimental methodology for identifying the behavior-reinforcing effects of social and non-social consequences. The data produced from a FA are used to select intervention procedures. In this case study, we conducted a FA with a male high school football athlete by manipulating social contingencies within practice tackling drills. The FA suggested that the highest percentage of correct tackling occurred when the participant was able to “escape” interaction with the coach following drills. After demonstrating that the participant had a low percentage of correct tackling during a baseline (preintervention) phase, the coach provided him delayed written performance feedback after practice. This intervention was associated with a higher percentage of correct tackling. The participant also tackled proficiently during a postintervention in-game assessment. The advantages of conducting a FA when intervening with athletes are discussed.

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Cloe Cummins and Rhonda Orr

Objective:

To investigate the impact forces of collision events during both attack and defense in elite rugby league match play and to compare the collision profiles between playing positions.

Participants:

26 elite rugby league players.

Methods:

Player collisions were recorded using an integrated accelerometer in global positioning system units (SPI-Pro X, GPSports). Impact forces of collisions in attack (hit-ups) and defense (tackles) were analyzed from 359 files from outside backs (n = 78), adjustables (n = 97), wide-running forwards (n = 136), and hit-up forwards (n = 48) over 1 National Rugby League season.

Results:

Hit-up forwards were involved in 0.8 collisions/min, significantly more than all other positional groups (wide-running forwards P = .050, adjustables P = .042, and outside backs P = .000). Outside backs experienced 25% fewer collisions per minute than hit-up forwards. Hit-up forwards experienced a collision within the 2 highest classifications of force (≥10 g) every 2.5 min of match play compared with 1 every 5 and 9 min for adjustables and outside backs, respectively. Hit-up forwards performed 0.5 tackles per minute of match play, 5 times that of outside backs (ES = 1.90; 95% CI [0.26,3.16]), and 0.2 hit-ups per minute of match play, twice as many as adjustables.

Conclusions:

During a rugby league match, players are exposed to a significant number of collision events. Positional differences exist, with hit-up and wide-running forwards experiencing greater collision events than adjustables and outside backs. Although these results may be unique to the individual team’s defensive- and attacking-play strategies, they are indicative of the significant collision profiles in professional rugby league.

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Willie “Bobby” Hosea and Oscar L. Edwards

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Jamie Highton, Thomas Mullen, Jonathan Norris, Chelsea Oxendale and Craig Twist

This aim of this study was to examine the validity of energy expenditure derived from microtechnology when measured during a repeated-effort rugby protocol. Sixteen male rugby players completed a repeated-effort protocol comprising 3 sets of 6 collisions during which movement activity and energy expenditure (EEGPS) were measured using microtechnology. In addition, energy expenditure was estimated from open-circuit spirometry (EEVO2). While related (r = .63, 90%CI .08–.89), there was a systematic underestimation of energy expenditure during the protocol (–5.94 ± 0.67 kcal/min) for EEGPS (7.2 ± 1.0 kcal/min) compared with EEVO2 (13.2 ± 2.3 kcal/min). High-speed-running distance (r = .50, 95%CI –.66 to .84) was related to EEVO2, while PlayerLoad was not (r = .37, 95%CI –.81 to .68). While metabolic power might provide a different measure of external load than other typically used microtechnology metrics (eg, high-speed running, PlayerLoad), it underestimates energy expenditure during intermittent team sports that involve collisions.

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Bobbi A. Knapp

People commonly think of only men playing football. Football, however, has also been played by women for many years. Using a feminist interactionist framework, this study examines why women begin to play the game. The research questions that guided this study were: (1) what factors influence women’s decisions to play football? and (2) how do women begin to develop their identities as football players? Data were collected using participant observation over a two-year period and 10 semi-structured interviews. Some of the reasons participants stated for starting to play football were for their love of the sport, a desire to be a part of history, or the physicality of the sport. The women’s abilities and personal characteristics, significant others, and veteran players were crucial in the development of their identities as players. The information obtained could be used to bring more women into the sport.

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Blake D. McLean, Cloe Cummins, Greta Conlan, Grant Duthie and Aaron J. Coutts

these measures are useful for quantifying gross locomotor activities, other technical movements, such as tackling, changes of direction, and getting up and down from the ground, occur with limited player displacement and may not be quantified by GPS technology, although these actions may also be