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Bilateral clearance punt kicking in rugby union: effects of hand used for ball delivery


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Clearance kicking for distance is a pre-requisite skill in first-grade Rugby Union, but is seldom performed equally well on both sides. To assess kicking performance in a game-like manner, kick direction to the left or right was signalled to an approaching player in a reactive agility test, so that an active choice regarding the kicking foot was required. Ten kicks were recorded from each of ten right-footed first-grade players, who punted for distance, on the run, toward the left or right far corner flags as signalled. Kicks with the nonpreferred foot travelled significantly less distance than kicks with the preferred foot (36m vs 42m) with significantly more trajectory variation. Ball delivery to the preferred right foot came from the ipsilateral right hand on 84% of kicks, however 70 % of delivery for the non-preferred left foot was by the contralateral right hand or both hands together. The resulting shorter clearance punt kick distance and lower directional accuracy on the nonpreferred left side may be due to suboptimal kicking biomechanics caused by the involvement of the preferred right hand in ball delivery. Training methods are needed that can improve use of the ipsilateral hand to guide the ball onto the non-preferred foot.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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