SOCIOLOGY

These three published articles will provide you with the most recent information regarding the sociological impact of integrating performance assessment technology into the elite-level half-pipe snowboarding community. Use the links provided to read the full papers and you can also download the PDF versions of these three papers from the PDF Download Page.

img_12371. Automated Inertial Feedback For Half-Pipe Snowboard Competition And The Community Perception

Harding JW, Toohey K, Martin DT, Mackintosh CG, Lindh AM, James DA. (2007) Automated Inertial Feedback For Half-Pipe Snowboard Competition And The Community Perception. In The Impact of Technology on Sport II, Fuss F. K., Subic A., Ujihashi S. Taylor & Francis London., 20, 845 – 850.

No scientific research has yet targeted the athletic performance aspects or subjective judging protocols associated with elite half-pipe snowboard competition.  Recently however, sport scientists from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) initiated a video based analysis of key performance variables (KPVs) associated with elite half-pipe snowboard competition. The development of a preliminary automated feedback system based upon Micro-electrochemical Systems (MEMS) sensors such as tri-axial accelerometers and tri-axial rate gyroscopes, designed to calculate objective information on these sport specific KPVs was initiated in parallel.  Although preliminary, the results may provide practical benefit for elite half-pipe snowboard training and current subjective judging protocols. In light of theorised implications, this paper investigated the perception and possible social impact of these concepts on the practice community. Data was collected via semi-structured, open ended interviews with nine subjects (six athletes, two coaches, and one judge) currently involved in elite half-pipe snowboard competition. This study revealed 6 dimensions and 20 sub-dimensions relating to the practice community’s perceptions of 3 major themes that emerged during interviews. The themes included: 1) State of the current subjective judging system, 2) Automated feedback and objective judging system, and 3) Future direction of the sport. There was dominant negative perception of a proposed automated judging concept based solely on objective information unless the system integrates with the current subjective judging protocol and continues to allow athletic freedom of expression and the capacity for athletes to showcase individual style and flair in elite competition. The results of this study provide the practice community an initial public forum to describe its perceptions to future automated judging concepts, nominating them to be the primary determinants of change, technological or otherwise, within their sporting discipline.  Read Full Paper … 

sam-murhpy-frontside-air-landscape-web4.  Technology and Half-Pipe Snowboard Competition – Insight From Elite-Level Judges

Harding JW, Toohey K, Martin DT, Hahn AG, James DA. (2008) Technology and Half-Pipe Snowboard Competition – Insight From Elite-Level Judges. In The Engineering of Sport 7, Estivalet, M., Brisson, P. Springer-Verlag France., Vol. 2, 467 – 476.

Automated objective information specific to half-pipe snowboarding has now been made available with micro-technology and signal processing techniques. In consultation with the practice community this has been introduced into training and competition in Australia. It is understood that any integration of technology into elite sport can effect change beyond the original purpose and can often generate unintended consequences. We have therefore evaluated the perceptions of key members of the elite half-pipe snowboard community in regards to how emerging technology could interface with the sport. Data were collected via semi-structured, open ended interviews with 16 international, elite-level half-pipe snowboard competition judges. This study revealed 8 dimensions and 42 sub-dimensions related to the community’s perceptions to 5 major themes that emerged during interviews. The major themes included: 1. Snowboarding’s Underlying Cultural Ethos 2. Snowboarding’s Underlying Self-Annihilating Teleology 3. Technological Objectivity 4. Concept Management 5. Coveted Future Directions. There was dominant perception that an underlying self-annihilating teleology could exist within competitive half-pipe snowboarding. This was believed however to pose a distant threat on judging protocols to reliably assess performance. Judges sampled in this study were largely in favour of using automated objectivity to enhance the judging process however, with a number of caveats. Most importantly that objective information is to be used as a judging aid and not for automatic generation of scores. This would address the most prevalent concern that integrating any automated objectivity into snowboarding could potentially remove freedom of expression and the opportunity to showcase athletic individuality – traits valued by the practice community. Our data highlight that successful implementation of emerging technologies in sport will be not be based on the type of technology developed but instead by the integration process which must feature a large element of control imparted to the key players within the sport.  Read Full Paper …

img_87986.  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 Full Paper …

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  1. Pingback: Snowboard Community Opinion Articles Out Now! :: Anarchist Athlete

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