The Biomechanics of Dragon Boat Paddling

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Gomory, Joseph (2018) The Biomechanics of Dragon Boat Paddling. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

In dragon boat racing, boat speed is generated by paddle propulsion produced by human movement. However at the fundamental level it is the interaction of the paddle with water that produces the forces generating boat speed. Literature on the biomechanics of paddle propulsion is sparse and is concerned predominantly with human movement and not with the fundamentals of paddling. This thesis examines the biomechanics of dragon boat paddling from the perspective of the paddle. Kinetic and kinematic paddle data were collected sequentially for each test participant from two dragon boat crews via 30 s maximum effort paddling tests. A custom built strain-gauged paddle sampled the paddling forces at 200 Hz whilst a stationary video camera (Sony HDR-HC7) recorded a single representative racing paced paddling stroke at 200 Hz. A light flash recorded by the video camera and its trigger signal recorded by the force data collection system ensured synchronisation. Excel spreadsheets converted the data into kinetic and kinematic paddle parameters for each study. Study one operationalised a qualitative coaching model for teaching paddlers a good dragon boat paddling stroke and produced strong support for the coaching model via a statistical comparison of more skilled paddlers with paddlers less skilled. More skilled paddlers produced significant superior results for paddle reach at water contact, rate of force development on water entry, maximum paddle force, drive impulse and drive impulse rate, force rate reduction at paddle exit and paddle impulse during recovery. Study two investigated the kinetic, kinematic and temporal paddle parameters that differentiate a more successful dragon boat racing crew from a less successful crew. The more successful racing crew produced significant superior results for rate of force development during water entry, average drive force, average peak to drive force ratio, rate of force reduction at paddle exit, paddle reach at water contact, paddle angle at maximum force, average paddle angular velocity in water, paddle displacement on the water surface, the stroke length, and the time duration of the catch and the paddling stroke. Study three examined the kinetic and temporal paddle parameters that differentiate more skilled paddlers from the less skilled. More skilled paddlers produced significant superior results for the rate of force development during paddle entry, maximum paddle force, paddle force at vertical position, average force during the catch and drive phases of the paddling stroke, average peak to drive force ratio, rate of force reduction at paddle exit, drive impulse, drive impulse rate, stroke impulse during recovery. And the time duration of the catch and drive phases of the addling stroke. Study four, the final study, established the kinematic paddle parameters that differentiate more skilled paddlers from paddlers less skilled. The more skilled paddlers produced significant superior results for paddle reach at water contact, average paddle angular velocity in water, paddle displacement on the water surface and paddle angle at water exit. Together these four studies provide a biomechanical foundation for the sport of dragon boat racing. Coaches and paddlers can use the findings of this thesis to improve paddling technique, paddling skill and racing performance.

Additional Information

Master of Applied Science

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/39512
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords dragon boat racing; biomechanics; paddling; paddle propulsion; coaching model
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