Three-dimensional analysis of a lofted instep kick by male and female footballers

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Publication details

Smith, T & Gilleard, W 2016, 'Three-dimensional analysis of a lofted instep kick by male and female footballers', European Journal of Sport Science, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 57-64.

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There is a paucity of data describing the lofted instep kick and little information on the kinematic differences between male and female footballers. This study provides a preliminary investigation into the differences in motion patterns between the sexes. A four-camera motion analysis system videoed 13 amateur footballers (7 female and 6 male) attempting a standardised task that represented a lofted instep kick of approximately 35 m. Footballers performed 20 kicks, with the three trials categorised closest to the standardised distance retained for statistical analysis. Three-dimensional motion patterns for kicks of 35 m illustrated that female footballers produced greater fluctuation in movement patterns for pelvic, hip joint and thoracolumbar spine motion in the frontal plane; thorax and hip joint transverse rotation; and ankle dorsiflexion/plantarflexion motion. Peak hip extension (P = 0.018), impact hip abduction (P= 0.032), impact ankle plantar flexion (P = 0.030) and resultant ball velocity (P = 0.004) differed significantly between sexes. Principle component analysis highlighted associations between kinematic variables related to ball velocity and sex including a reduced hip abduction and increased internal rotation approaching impact, and greater peak knee flexion, respectively. In summary, increased variation in direction of segment motion, increased backswing and formation of a tension arc by females compared to males, may be related to anthropometric, strength and muscle activation differences. Specifically, this exploratory study indicates future research would benefit from exploring trunk, pelvis and hip kinematics and kinetics, and whether training the trunk, pelvis and hip musculature assists female footballers.

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