A Multidisciplinary Analysis of Handballing in Australian Rules Football

Parrington, Lucy (2014) A Multidisciplinary Analysis of Handballing in Australian Rules Football. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Skilled sports performance demands technical and perceptual-cognitive expertise. A true understanding of any one skill requires an examination of both factors. This thesis aimed to determine the biomechanical and perceptual-motor underpinnings of the Australian football handball through the use of performance analysis, biomechanics and motor learning. A novel performance analysis system assessed 12 in-game technical, decision-making and environmental factors of handball executions. Each factor was coded in detail using between two and six category levels. The application of this system revealed that efficiency was higher when players were square, passing forward and in a knees-bent or running stance, and lower when players were under higher pressure, had fewer passing options available, were positioned in the offensive zone, and after indirectly receiving the ball. Performance analysis directed the choice of skill execution and biomechanical parameters for the subsequent three studies. The next stage of this thesis used three-dimensional biomechanics to analyse handballing technique for speed and accuracy with preferred and non-preferred hands. Factors identified as influential for performance included shoulder and elbow joint motion and hand path. The preferred-arm movement pattern involved greater use of the trunk and arm. Canonical correlation evaluated the combined factors of speed and accuracy identifying a parameter of importance (elbow range), which was not evident when speed and accuracy were analysed independently. Building on the biomechanical knowledge, the thesis then proceeded to understanding the perceptual-motor components of the skill, using two studies. This was achieved with a novel 360° stimulus-response task, which manipulated task complexity using both auditory and visual stimuli. Overall, the two studies showed kinematic and response time differences between stimulus modalities and between levels of cognitive complexity. A highlight of this thesis is the use of three sports-science disciplines, which included performance analysis, biomechanics and motor learning. The work provides contributions to each discipline, and illustrates the value of a multidisciplinary approach. Specifically, the design of this programme of study and its phased use of disciplines provides a framework for future work that similarly attempts to deliver a comprehensive evaluation of skill. The outcome of this approach is the high quality of applicable information for testing and training of the skill.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/25919
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords Australian football, movement, kinematics, cognition, perception, motor execution, skilled performance, Australia
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