L.N. Lee, M. Welinski, B. McBroom, B. Mufarreh, A.D. Gidley

Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

Moderate angle cutting maneuvers (between 45º and 90º) are a common and essential performance skill for success in multidirectional sports (Havens et al, 2017). Research often addresses the injury risks of cutting (e.g. Shin, et al., 2011; Beaulieu, et al, 2009) but very few studies have attempted to quantify the performance of the cut itself (e.g. Andrews, 1922; Queen, et al, 2007). PURPOSE: To identify any anthropometric, kinematic, and/or kinetic markers of a high-performance cut. METHODS: Ten college-aged male athletes (A) (mass 73.97 ± 8.77kg, height 1.81 ± 0.07m) and ten non-athletes (NA) (mass 87.37 ± 13.93kg, height 1.85 ± 0.04m) completed five moderate angle cutting trials with a speed constraint of 4.03 m/s - 4.44 m/s through a 3m in to and 3 m out of a 60˚ change in direction set-up. Ground reaction forces (GRF) were collected with a force plate at the apex of the cut, and 2 cameras (210fps) were used for kinematic analysis (Kinovea®). Fifty variables, including anthropometrics, measures of power, and kinematic, kinetic and temporal variables related to the cuts were measured and compared between the two groups using independent T-tests (α=.05). RESULTS: Of the 50 variables tested, only 6 variables, including percent time in the braking and propulsion phase, GRF Y loading rate (kN/s), right leg squat jump takeoff velocity (m/s), Q-angle (deg), and body mass (kg) were significantly different between the two groups. A spent significantly less time in the propulsion phase (52.0% ± 0.02%, p=.007) compared to NA (55.4% ± 0.03%). The propulsion phase was determined as the percentage of the contact phase the knee was extending (e.g. Green, et al, 2012). Additionally, A produced significantly greater instantaneous values of X GRF, Y GRF, and Z GRF during the propulsion phase (p<.05). CONCLUSION: Greater GRFs coupled with a shorter propulsion phase by A accounted for the lack of differences in the propulsion impulse between the two groups. Therefore, both groups accomplished the task with a similar exit velocity, but A made the move into the new direction in a shorter amount of time. We believe this skill is an important component of performance in multidirectional sports. Changing direction in a shorter time improves an athlete’s ability to evade an opponent, by decreasing the time an opponent has to react to a new direction.

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