1. Fusion of Technological Objectivity into the Underlying Anarchy of Elite Snowboarding – Insights from the Australian National Snowboard Coach.

Harding JW, James DA. Fusion of Technological Objectivity into the Underlying Anarchy of Elite Snowboarding – Insights from the Australian National Snowboard Coach. Sports Technology 2008; 1 (6), 239 – 248.

This interview was focussed upon gaining practice community insight into the potential of micro-technology and subsequent automated objectivity to assist coaches and competition judges with performance assessment during elite half-pipe snowboarding. The sport of half-pipe snowboarding has however traditionally assessed performance during training, free riding and competition by purely subjective measures and until recently has had very little to do with sport science and the focus of objectifying performance parameters associated with rigorous scientific inquiry. The authors have previously shown there is a strong relationship between objective key performance variables such as air-time and degree of rotation (assessed using video based analysis) and an athletes’ subjectively judged score during elite half-pipe snowboarding competitions. Video based analysis however requires labour intensive manual post processing of data and is associated with a large time delay in information feedback. As such it is theorised to have limited potential for the feedback of objective information to snowboard athletes, coaches, and judges. The authors have therefore worked alongside numerous collaborators from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA), Griffith University (GU) and Catapult Innovations to develop a system of automated objectivity based on tri-axial accelerometers and tri-axial rate gyroscopes that can calculate air-time and degree of rotation during half-pipe snowboard runs. The concept was originally focussed on enhancing current training protocols but has also shown potential to support judges in assessing athletic performance during elite half-pipe snowboard competition. Although there is a potential benefit to using systems of automated objectivity within the sport of snowboarding there are also potential drawbacks associated with objectifying a sport that prides itself on providing a platform that allows freedom of expression and the capacity to showcase athletic individuality. It is believed that the integration of any form of objectivity into a sport such as half-pipe snowboarding should be conducted whilst allowing key practice community members control over the overall direction. This 45-minute interview was conducted by Jason Harding (AIS sport scientist) with Ben Wordsworth (the Australian national snowboard coach currently affiliated with the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia) in between surfs at Manly Beach NSW Australia on Wednesday 1st October 2008. READ THE INTERVIEW 

2. The Ben Mates Interview.

Harding JW. (2010). Images: Fawcett, A., Weyerhaeuser, M., Laurila, C. (2010). The Ben Mates Interview. Published 10th February.

When February 2010 rolls around, Ben Mates will be the first Australian male half-pipe snowboarder to have qualified for two Winter Olympic Games. And this time round he did it on his own terms and with his own green. Put that in ya crack pipe and smoke it. He has spent the past four years free of any restrictions, focusing on hunting down the Olympic standard 22ft pipes and elite-level competition that would provide him the means to qualify for Vancouver 2010. In doing so the south coast local has succeeded whilst flipping the bird at the sports establishment that seemingly did not want anything to do with him. There is no doubt Mates is antiauthoritarian. A ‘fuck em if they can’t take a joke’ kind of guy. It is a refreshing attitude. Anarchist Athlete founder Jason Harding caught up with Ben via email just before he drops in and throws down at the 2010 O-Show. Words Jason Harding. Images Andrew Fawcett, Mike Weyerhaeuser, C laurila. JH: So Ben, you just qualified for your second consecutive Winter Olympic Games. The first Australian male halfpipe rider to ever pull that off. How fucken cool is that. I hear you are at some private resort training at the moment. Sounds like a bit of a pamper package to me, complete with massages, manicures, the works. Where is your head at right now and how is your preparation heading into the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? BM: Yeah I’m pretty stoked to have managed to qualify for my second Winter Olympics, It’s something I worked really hard for and I always knew I could do it. I am currently Training at Otsego Resort in Michigan USA, it is a private ski hill so the hill is fairly uncrowded which has made for some great training. The resort has provided everything we need with a 22 foot pipe, 22ft spine into a huge air bag to practice our tricks. They also have great food and have provided us with some fun activities to keep us occupied when we are off the hill like skeet shooting, ice fishing and plenty of rides on ski doo’s. It’s been great riding with the other Aussies Nate and Holly and the coach Andrew Burton has definitely helped my riding over the past week. I’m feeling pretty good heading into Vancouver. READ THE INTERVIEW

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  1. Pingback: Anarchist Athlete » Snowboard Coaching Interview Out Now!

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