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Chow, Jia Yi
Profiling a sporting movement often involves the use of time-discrete parameters to determine relation to performance outcome, expertise and/or injury risk in the classical biomechanical approach. It is also increasingly evident that movement coordination results from a dynamic relationship between the individual, task and environment, based on the ecological dynamics framework. This means time-continuous parameters are also important information sources to better understand and profile a sporting movement.
Ten-pin bowling is a self-paced abstract target sport that involves swinging <16pound ball in a 4-5 step approach. Every developmental bowler goes through a transition to a heavier ball. However, little is known about the sport, especially in the transition when the weight of the ball is manipulated (i.e. change in task constraints). Moreover, every bowl changes the environment as the lane oiling pattern shifts. Therefore, this study aimed to (i) profile the ten-pin bowling movement from the biomechanical approach by identifying the relevant time-discrete variables that correlate to performance outcomes, (ii) profile the movement from the motor control approach by investigating the movement pattern consistency of every participant through time-continuous angular joint kinematics, and (iii) investigate the differences in performance outcomes and movement execution with two approaches when the ball weight increased as a change in task constraint.
Eight pre-transited bowlers bowled 10 trials each in two ball weight conditions: normal and heavy. Full body joint kinematics were recorded and processed via a 3D motion capture system. Scores were recorded per shot and bowlers answered a questionnaire regarding bowling with the heavier ball. The movement was divided into three phases: downswing, backswing and forwardswing, defined by events based on the ball swing: start, bottom and top of swing, and ball release. Correlation analysis was run on all time-discrete kinematics variables in relation to performance outcomes: score and ball release speed, separately for each ball weight to achieve the first aim. Cluster analysis was performed globally on all trials and intra-individually on seven time-continuous upper body kinematic variables to achieve the second and third aims. Paired sample t-test on performance outcomes and time-discrete variables was conducted to achieve the third aim.
Correlation results showed that (i) there was no correlation between ball release speed and score (p > 0.05) , (ii) ball release speed and score were correlated to different variables whereby (iii) ball release speed was correlated to postures that reflect better stability and balance in the upper body especially from forwardswing phase for both ball weights, while (iv) score was correlated with upper limb joints angular positions that could have controlled the ball path especially at ball release. The cluster analysis derived eight clusters defined by each participant which reflected the inter-individuality of ten-pin bowling movement. Even within each individual, there were two – three clusters not differentiated by performance outcomes, which suggest potential multiple solutions to the same movement goals. The paired t-test results showed (i) no performance outcome differences between the two ball weights (p > 0.05) but (ii) nine, mostly lower limb variables that differed between the two. The intra-individual cluster analysis showed (i) timing and ranges of motion differences that (ii) occurred mostly in the downswing and backswing phases but these changes (iii) differed from one individual to another based on the action-capabilities of the individual.
Findings from this study clearly exemplify the relevance of an integrated approach in profiling a self-paced abstract target sport. A better understanding of the postures that correlated with ball release speed and score, as well as the time-discrete and time-continuous variables that distinguished the two ball weights were found. More importantly, ten-pin bowling is a sport where individual variations were observed. Hence, future research could adopt methods with a more intra-individual approach to examine the relationships to performance and injury risks. In this way, a more evidence-based approach to coach ten-pin bowling can be formed.
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