CAUSAL MECHANISMS FOR IMPROVED PERFORMANCE OR INJURY REDUCTION: AN ESSENTIAL PART OF SPORTS BIOMECHANICS RESEARCH

  • B. Elliott

Abstract

The need to attract grants to support research efforts, has caused many sport biomechanists to change direction and commence projects in exercise rehabilitation, gait and clinical biomechanics. The opportunity to publish sports biomechanics research in international journals is also diminishing, and many university administrations do not consider "coaching journals" as representing a quality publication. We must therefore ensure that our research efforts have relevance. Three-dimensional descriptive studies are always a good start point in the analysis of movements that have not received research attention. Similarly optirnisation / simulation projects "that address a suitable hypothesis" are also important. However, two of our primary roles must be to reduce the incidence of injury through identification of "offending" movements (prospective studies) and improve athlete performance by providing coaches with an appreciation of movement techniques that assist performance. In this paper I will review the following examples of how sports biomechanics research can identify causal mechanisms to peak performance and injury reduction. 1. THE IDENTIFICATION OF KEY MOVEMENT PARAMETERS IN THE TENNIS SERVE a. Leg-drive (Elliott et al., 1986) b. Upper arm internal rotation (Elliott et al., 1995; Van Gheluwe and Hebbelinck, 1986; Van Gheluwe et al., 1987). 2. THE IDENTIFICATION THROUGH PROSPECTIVE STUDIES OF MOVEMENT CHARACTERISTICS THAT LEAD TO INJURY. a. Lumbar injuries to fast bowlers in cricket (Bumett et al., 1996; Elliott et al., 1992; Foster et al., 1989) b. Stress fractures to track and field athletes (Bennell et al., 1994; Brukner et al., 1995). REFERENCES Bennell, K., Malcolm, S., Thomas, S., McCrory, P., Brukner, P., Wark, J. A prospective study investigating risk factor for stress fractures in female track and field athletes, Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Sports Medicine Australia, Brisbane, Abstract, 1994. Brukner, P., Bennell, K., Malcolm, S., Thomas, S., Ebeling, P. & Wark, J. A prospective study investigating risk factors for stress fractures in male track and field athletes, Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Sport Medicine Australia, Hobart, Abstract, 1995. Burnett, A., Khangure, M., Elliott, B., Foster, D. & Hardcastle, P. Thoracolumbar disc degeneration in young fast bowlers in cricket : a follow-up study, Clinical Biomechanics, 1 l(6) : 305-310, 1996. Elliott, B., Marsh, T. & Blanksby. B. A three-dimensional cinematographic analysis of the tennis serve, International Journal of Sports Biomechanics, 2(4) : 260 - 27 1, 1986. Elliott, B., Hardcastle, P., Burnett, A., & Foster, D. The influence of fast bowling and physical factors on radiological features in high performance young fast bowlers, Sports Training Medicine and Rehabilitation, 3 : 113-130, 1992. Elliott, B., Marshall, R. & Noffal, G. Contributions of upper limb segment rotations during the power serve in tennis, Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 1 l(4) : 433 - 442, 1995. Foster, D., John, D., Elliott, B., Ackland, T. & Fitch, K. Back injuries to fast bowlers in cricket: A prospective study, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 23(3) : 150 - 154, 1989. Van Gheluwe, B., de Ruysscher, I. & Craenhals, J. Pronation and endorotation of the racket arm in a tennis serve, In B. Jonsson (Ed), Biomechanics X-B pp. 667-672. Champaign, 11: Human Kinetics, 1987. Van Gheluwe, B. & Hebbelinck, M. Muscle actions and ground reaction forces in tennis, International Journal of Sport Biomechanics, 2 : 88 - 99, 1986.