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Ball Launch Characteristics for Elite Rugby Union Players

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The Engineering of Sport 6

Abstract

The role played by a team’s kicker in determining the outcome of a rugby union match is becoming increasingly important. However, unlike in other sports, there is no existing data regarding the kicking and passing abilities of elite rugby players. The objective of this study was to determine the launch characteristics of a place kick, drop kick, spiral kick (kick to touch) and spin pass. Testing was carried out at senior English League rugby union clubs, and data from 14 elite kickers were evaluated including current international players. The subjects were asked to perform the different kicks on a specially marked rugby ball at a distance of 60 m from the posts. Each skill was performed until they had achieved five ‘good’ strikes or passes. A high speed camera (NAC 500), operating at 500 frames per second was used to record the ball velocity, spin and launch angle. The data presented shows that players are able to achieve velocities of 38.1 m/s whilst imparting 405 rpm to a rugby ball (drop kick). The maximum spin rates seen in the other types of kick are considerably lower. The study of the spin pass has shown that whilst players impart considerably lower levels of velocity to the ball (18.3 m/s), they are capable of achieving spin rates similar to those seen for a place and spiral kick.

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© 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Holmes, C., Jones, R., Harland, A., Petzing, J. (2006). Ball Launch Characteristics for Elite Rugby Union Players. In: Moritz, E.F., Haake, S. (eds) The Engineering of Sport 6. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-46050-5_38

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-46050-5_38

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-31773-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-46050-5

  • eBook Packages: EngineeringEngineering (R0)

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