Mechanical determinants of sprinting performance in elite women’s Rugby Sevens

Mechanical running proficiency, as reliably measured by radar and software tools and described by application of horizontal forces, correlates strongly to accelerative sprinting performance in elite women’s rugby sevens athletes. Recent research has validated horizontal force-velocity-power profiling methods and identified key mechanical variables correlated to sprinting performance, which was demonstrated consistently in an elite female rugby sevens cohort. Sprinting is a key action in team sports such as Rugby Sevens, a new Olympic sport. Recent research has shown at length the importance of technical or mechanical proficiency for sprinting performance. Simple methods of profiling mechanical characteristics of athletes have been developed utilizing three sprints reaching maximal velocities and demonstrated in a number of elite cohorts. These methods were applied with 16 athletes (age = 23 ± 7 years; height = 1.73 ± 0.82 m; body mass = 69.9 ± 7.2 kg) from the New Zealand Women’s Rugby Sevens team. Mechanical proficiency in the form of horizontal-to-vertical force application ratio (RF) showed strong Pearson’s correlations (r=-0.60 p=0.001, r=-0.61 p=0.002) between 10 m and 40 m sprinting performances, respectively. Further r values (r=>-0.71) were observed for relationships between peak relative horizontal power expression and sprinting performances. This study expands, via a newly observed population, the body of knowledge contending the relationship between mechanical proficiency and sprinting performance and supports the usage of profiling methods to individualizing training for speed and power. Profiling can identify among a cohort whom is “force dominant” and “velocity dominant” as well as simply which athletes are more and less proficient at applying forces efficiently to propel themselves in sprinting actions.
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Subjects: rugby female sprint movement movement velocity speed high performance sport elite sport speed strength performance strength
Notations: sport games
Tagging: Rugby Sevens
Published in: Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Published: 2018
Volume: 26
Issue: 5
Pages: 16-19
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced