Dr Stuart McErlain-Naylor is a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Biomechanics and Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Suffolk, UK.
His research interests include kinetic and kinematic analysis of sporting techniques (mostly ball striking sports), analysis of post-impact accelerations, and the mechanics of flywheel resistance exercise.
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PhD in Sports Biomechanics, 2018
Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, 2020
University of Suffolk
BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences, 2013
Flywheel (isoinertial) eccentric overload exercise induced post-activation performance enhancement
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A logarithmic curve fitting methodology for the calculation of badminton racket-shuttlecock impact locations from three-dimensional motion capture data was presented and validated. Median absolute differences between calculated and measured impact locations were 3.6 [IQR: 4.4] and 3.5 [IQR: 3.5] mm mediolaterally and longitudinally on the racket face, respectively. Three-dimensional kinematic data of racket and shuttlecock were recorded for 2386 smashes performed by 65 international badminton players, with racket-shuttlecock impact location assessed against instantaneous post-impact shuttlecock speed and direction. Mediolateral and longitudinal impact locations explained 26.2% (quadratic regression; 95% credible interval: 23.1%, 29.2%; BF10 = 1.3 × 10131, extreme; p < 0.001) of the variation in participant-specific shuttlecock speed. A meaningful (BF10 = ∞, extreme; p < 0.001) linear relationship was observed between mediolateral impact location and shuttlecock horizontal direction relative to a line normal to the racket face at impact. Impact locations within one standard deviation of the pooled mean impact location predict reductions in post-impact shuttlecock speeds of up to 5.3% of the player’s maximal speed and deviations in the horizontal direction of up to 2.9° relative to a line normal to the racket face. These results highlight the margin for error available to elite badminton players during the smash.
The forehand jump smash is an essential attacking stroke within a badminton player’s repertoire. A key determinate of the stroke’s effectiveness is post-impact shuttlecock speed, and therefore awareness of critical technique factors that impact upon speed is important to players/coaches. Three-dimensional kinematic data of player, racket and shuttlecock were recorded for 18 experienced players performing maximal effort forehand jump smashes. Joint angles and X-factor (transverse plane pelvis-thorax separation) were calculated at key instants: preparation, end of retraction, racket lowest point, turning point and shuttlecock contact. Peak shoulder, elbow, and wrist joint centre linear velocities, phase durations and jump height were also calculated. Correlational analyses were performed with post-impact shuttlecock speed, revealing significant correlations to peak wrist joint centre linear velocity (r = 0.767), acceleration phase duration (r = −0.543), shoulder internal/external rotation angle at shuttlecock contact (r = 0.508) and X-factor at the end of retraction (r = −0.484). Multiple linear regression analysis revealed 43.7% of the variance in shuttlecock speed could be explained by acceleration phase duration and X-factor at the end of retraction, where shorter acceleration phase durations and more negative X-factor at end of retraction caused greater shuttlecock speeds. These results suggest that motions of the proximal segments (shoulder and pelvis–thorax separation) are critical to developing greater distal linear velocities, which subsequently lead to greater post-impact shuttlecock speed.
The ability of a batsman to clear the boundary is a major contributor to success in modern cricket. The aim of this study was to identify technique parameters characterising those batsmen able to generate greater bat speeds, ball launch speeds, and carry distances during a range hitting task in cricket. Kinematic data were collected for 20 batsmen ranging from international to club standard, and a series of ball launch, bat-ball impact, and technique parameters were calculated for each trial. A stepwise multiple linear regression analysis found impact location on the bat face in the medio-lateral and longitudinal directions and bat speed at impact to explain 68% of the observed variation in instantaneous post-impact ball speed. A further regression analysis found the X-factor (separation between the pelvis and thorax segments in the transverse plane) at the commencement of the downswing, lead elbow extension, and wrist uncocking during the downswing to explain 78% of the observed variation in maximum bat speed during the downswing. These findings indicate that players and coaches should focus on generating central impacts with the highest possible bat speed. Training and conditioning programmes should be developed to improve the important kinematic parameters shown to generate greater bat speeds, particularly focussing on increased pelvis to upper thorax separation in the transverse plane.
This study aimed to investigate the contributions of kinetic and kinematic parameters to inter-individual variation in countermovement jump (CMJ) performance. Two-dimensional kinematic data and ground reaction forces during a CMJ were recorded for 18 males of varying jumping experience. Ten kinetic and eight kinematic parameters were determined for each performance, describing peak lower-limb joint torques and powers, concentric knee extension rate of torque development and CMJ technique. Participants also completed a series of isometric knee extensions to measure the rate of torque development and peak torque. CMJ height ranged from 0.38 to 0.73 m (mean 0.55 ± 0.09 m). CMJ peak knee power, peak ankle power and take-off shoulder angle explained 74% of this observed variation. CMJ kinematic (58%) and CMJ kinetic (57%) parameters explained a much larger proportion of the jump height variation than the isometric parameters (18%), suggesting that coachable technique factors and the joint kinetics during the jump are important determinants of CMJ performance. Technique, specifically greater ankle plantar-flexion and shoulder flexion at take-off (together explaining 58% of the CMJ height variation), likely influences the extent to which maximal muscle capabilities can be utilised during the jump.
The aim of this study was to investigate student experiences of publishing undergraduate research in biomechanics. A total of twenty-nine former students with experience of publishing peer-reviewed undergraduate biomechanics research completed an online survey regarding their perceived benefits, level of involvement, and experiences in aspects of the research process. On average, students perceived their experiences to be ‘largely helpful’ or greater in all aspects. Areas were identified corresponding to: the greatest perceived benefits (e.g. understanding of the research process); the least perceived benefits (e.g. statistical analysis skills); the greatest student involvement (e.g. reading relevant literature); and the least student involvement (e.g. developing hypotheses and/or methods). A thematic analysis of open question responses identified themes relating to: future career; skills; scientific process; intra / interpersonal factors; and pedagogy. Common intended learning outcomes may be achieved through involvement in the research process independently of the level of staff involvement. Staff should be encouraged to involve students in publishable biomechanics research projects where this is possible without compromising research standards and should explore ways of recreating the publishing process internally for all students.
Recent work has challenged the practice of extracting and analysing discrete summary metrics from continuous biomechanical data. This paper presents a practical comparison of candidate data analysis techniques including frequentist and Bayesian discrete analysis, frequentist and Bayesian statistical parametric mapping, and vector coding. Example 1 compares knee and hip flexion / extension angles during flywheel and barbell squats. Example 2 compares pelvis and thorax transverse rotations during badminton jump smashes by an international and a regional player. All example data and scripts are open-source. Statistical parametric mapping enables comparison of continuous biomechanical variables at time points other than discrete local optima. Combining this approach with vector coding provides information regarding differences in proximal-distal joint coordination throughout a movement. These continuous open-source methodologies can increase the validity and intuitive practical application of biomechanical conclusions.
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of delivery method on upper-body kinematics in cricketers playing a front foot drive and a back foot pull shot. Fourteen male cricketers were played both shots against a bowler, bowling machine, and Sidearm TM ball thrower. The availability of pre-release visual cues appears to affect upper-body kinematics during the pull shot but not the drive other than at the back shoulder. The Sidearm TM may represent a compromise between bowler and bowling machine when training the pull shot but coaches should consider differences in upper-body proximal-distal joint dominance.
The aim of this study was to investigate student experiences of publishing undergraduate research in biomechanics. Twenty-nine people with experience of publishing peer-reviewed undergraduate biomechanics research completed an online survey regarding their perceived benefits and level of involvement in aspects of the research process. On average, students perceived their experiences to be ‘largely helpful’ or greater in all aspects. Areas were identified corresponding to the greatest (e.g. understanding of the research process: median extremely helpful) and least (e.g. statistical analysis skills: largely helpful) perceived benefits and the greatest (e.g. reading relevant literature: I did most of the work) and least (e.g. developing hypotheses and/or methods: myself and my supervisor/others did a roughly equal share of the work) student involvement. No significant effects of level of involvement on related perceived benefits were reported (0.319 ≤ χ2 ≤ 9.000). Common intended learning outcomes may be achieved through involvement in the research process independently of the level of staff involvement. Such teaching strategies are especially effective in achieving broad non-technical objectives.
Speed and accuracy of the badminton smash are critical components for successful performance. Fifty-two participants data were collected using a Vicon 3D Motion capture system (400 Hz) at the BWF Glasgow World Championships (2017). The purpose of this study was to identify and compare spatial speed-accuracy trade-off (SATO) relationships amongst international badminton players performing the forehand smash, under two conditions: maximal speed (MS) in the direction of a target; and maximal speed aiming to hit the centre of a target (TAR). Exploratory and confirmatory cluster analyses revealed three groupings: Fitts’ inverse relationship (FIR), no relationship (NR) and alternate inverse relationship (AIR). Findings indicate that for international badminton players 80–99% of maximum speed is the threshold for achieving the highest levels of spatial accuracy.