High-tech soccer research scores
Engineering student Jonathon Neville has scored a top international honour for studying the motions of throwing a soccer ball to set up goal-scoring opportunities.
Jonathon won the prestigious 2009 Sports Engineering Student Project Competition, run by the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA).
A keen soccer player, he said throwing the ball from the sideline of the soccer field could be a critical opportunity for teams to score goals.
“Throwing can be critical to the game, but this powerful movement has not been studied widely,” Jonathon said.
“Throwing can be a lot more accurate than kicking a ball and a player can set the team up for a goal scoring opportunity by throwing the ball well, sometimes for a distance of more than 30 to 40 metres.
“Using real-time electronic sensors to record and monitor the throwing motions in a 3D motion capture environment, my research identified the critical motions of the soccer throw, including the player’s approach speed and how the player’s stomach and arm rotations contribute to the throw.”
Jonathon said the study would help coaches assess the throwing action and improve players’ techniques.
Current regulations stipulate both feet need to be firmly on the ground, hands should start from behind the head, and the ball should be released over the head.
The final-year Griffith student conducted this study earlier this year while working at the University’s Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications as part of the Industry Affiliates Program (IAP), which allows students to obtain valuable experience working in their chosen industry.
Jonathon gained an interest in sports engineering research after undertaking this project and now plans to do a PhD at Griffith with the Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications.
“I never thought about a research career, but this experience has helped me to make useful contacts in my field and it has opened up exciting research opportunities,” he said.
The Sports Engineering Student Project Competition was open to graduates from undergraduate degree programs at any higher education institution in the world, who have undertaken an individual project on a sports engineering topic.
The ISEA aims to act as a forum to discuss technical issues relating to sport.