Fusion of technological objectivity into the underlying anarchy of elite snowboarding: insight from the Australian national snowboard coach

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Title Fusion of technological objectivity into the underlying anarchy of elite snowboarding: insight from the Australian national snowboard coach
Author Harding, Jason; James, Daniel Arthur
Journal Name Sports Technology
Year Published 2008
Place of publication Asia
Publisher John Wiley and Sons Asia Pte Ltd
Abstract This interview was focused upon gaining practice community insight into the potential of microtechnology 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. We previously demonstrated 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 labor-intensive, manual post-processing of data and is associated with a large time delay in information feedback. As such, it is theorized 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; Canberra, ACT, Australia), the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA; Melbourne, VIC, Australia), Griffith University (GU; Brisbane, QLD, Australia), and Catapult Innovations (CI; Melbourne, VIC, Australia) 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 focused 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, while allowing key practice community members control over the overall direction. This 45-min 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, New South Wales, Australia on Wednesday, 1 October 2008. Ben Wordsworth is the Australian national snowboard coach and currently works for the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia. Picking up snowboarding at the age of 16, he went on to become a sponsored competitive snowboarder, winning numerous national half-pipe and boarder-cross snowboard titles until he retired from regular competition at the age of 21 to focus on coaching. His coaching career began in the US ski resort of Mammoth Mountain where he was a club snowboard coach for 4 years. During his fourth year of coaching in Mammoth Mountain, Ben received a phone call from Geoff Lipshut (chief executive officer of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia). The phone call came shortly after the 2002 Winter Olympics that were held in Salt Lake City. Geoff was focused on initiating an Australian national half-pipe snowboard program geared toward success at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The phone call saw Ben move on to become the first Australian national snowboard coach and he has filled that role for the past 5 years; coaching snowboard disciplines, such as half-pipe, boarder-cross, and parallel giant slalom. Ben took a total of nine snowboard athletes to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games as part of the Australian national team, and is now focused on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver
Peer Reviewed No
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jst.67
Volume 1
Page from 239
Page to 248
ISSN DOI: 10.1002/JST.67
Date Accessioned 2011-02-07
Language en_AU
Research Centre Griffith Institute For Tourism
Faculty Griffith Business School
Subject Human Movement and Sports Science
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/38423
Publication Type Non Refereed Journal Articles
Publication Type Code c2

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