Nearly 50% of the passes in rugby union involve the ball being delivered from the ground. Players are required to show equal skill when passing to either their dominant or non-dominant sides. Surprising, despite the importance of this key skill, scientific literature on the rugby pass from the ground is limited. Accordingly, the aims of the study were first to identify the kinematic determinants of pass velocity, and secondly to examine whether these determinants change when participants passed to their dominant or non-dominant sides. Standard infrared motion capture procedures (250 Hz) were used to assess upper body kinematics in 13 semi-professional rugby union players passing at a target (8 m away). Testing involved six passes from both dominant and non-dominant sides, with pass accuracy recorded using a 5 point scale. Trials to the preferred side recorded significantly higher pass velocities (12.34 ±2.10 m/s) and accuracy scores (4.0 ± 0.5) than those from the non-preferred side (10.95 ±1.71 m/s, P=0.02; 3.2 ± 0.7, P= 0.001). Movement variability analysis (NoRMS) of shoulder and elbow flexion/extension kinematics indicated both greater overall movement variability and greater standard deviation values at ball release for passes to the non-dominant side. Maximum leading shoulder flexion velocities (r=.45 and r=.48) and maximum trailing shoulder adduction velocities were correlated significantly(r=.41 and r=.46) with ball velocity for passes to both sides, whilst other significant correlates differed between sides. Findings suggest that despite displaying a level of passing proficiency, participants presented with a bias when passing towards their dominant side.
8th World Congress on Science and Football (WCSF), Copenhagen, Denmark 20-23 May 2015
8th World Congress on Science and Football Program and Abstracts Book / pp.87