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Title: Optimum projection angle for attaining maximum distance in a rugby place kick
Authors: Linthorne, NP
Stokes, TG
Keywords: Biomechanics;kinematics;projectile
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Asist Group
Citation: Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2014, 13 (1), pp. 211 - 216 (6)
Abstract: This study investigated the effect of projection angle on the distance attained in a rugby place kick. A male rugby player performed 49 maximum-effort kicks using projection angles of between 20 and 50°. The kicks were recorded by a video camera at 50 Hz and a 2-D biomechanical analysis was conducted to obtain measures of the projection velocity and projection angle of the ball. The player’s optimum projection angle was calculated by substituting a mathematical expression for the relationship between projection velocity and projection angle into the equations for the aerodynamic flight of a rugby ball. We found that the player’s calculated optimum projection angle (30.6°, 95% confidence limits ±1.9°) was in close agreement with his preferred projection angle (mean value 30.8°, 95% confidence limits ±2.1°). The player’s calculated optimum projection angle was also similar to projection angles previously reported for skilled rugby players. The optimum projection angle in a rugby place kick is considerably less than 45° because the projection velocity that a player can produce decreases substantially as projection angle is increased. Aerodynamic forces and the requirement to clear the crossbar have little effect on the optimum projection angle.
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