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Sports researcher investigating ways to improve swing skills

Canterbury sports researcher investigating ways to improve swing skills in sport

March 27, 2014

A University of Canterbury (UC) sports researcher and world croquet champion has been investigating ways for sports people to improve their skills and avoid injury.

Dr Jenny Clarke, who won the inaugural women’s world croquet title in 2012, has been seeking to measure how much pressure goes on a player’s wrist when they swing a mallet.

``We have seen where a player’s wrist bends during the backswing on a stroke and also seen how much their mallet twists during that stroke.

``Excessive wrist flexing leads to a more crooked swing. I presented my initial findings to the Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand conference. There is a significant correlation between wrist flexing and a crooked swing.

``This is also a significant finding for the sport as excessive wrist motion can lead to overuse injuries and discomfort, so it supports coaching methodologies to reduce wrist involvement in the swing.

``I next want to look at measuring hip and shoulder rotation during a golf swing. We should get some interesting results considering speed and timing of engagement of the different parts of the body.

``We are also wanting to validate the use of a games-based training system to assess movement ability and rehabilitation of stroke patients using a 3D system to track motion.

``The beauty of this system is that we can find out how fast any body part is moving, in what direction, with what timing with ability to look at joint angles and forces applied.’’

Dr Clarke is supporting UC’s Bachelor of Sport Coaching distant study degree, which is looking at human anatomy and physiology. She is tracking student engagement around New Zealand and providing support for online and face-to-face students.

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