Harding et al (2009b)

TITLE: Fusion of Technological Objectivity into the Underlying Anarchy of Elite Snowboarding - Insights from the Australian National Snowboard Coach. 

REFERENCE: Harding JW, James DA. (2009) Fusion of Technological Objectivity into the Underlying Anarchy of Elite Snowboarding - Insights from the Australian National Snowboard Coach. Sports Technology; 1 (6), 239 – 248.

ABSTRACT: 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.  Download Full Paper …

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