Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2011) 10, 553 - 558

Research article
Kinematic Analysis of Line-Out Throwing in Elite International Rugby Union
Mark G.L. Sayers
Author Information
School of Health and Sport Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Australia
Publish Date
Received: 18-04-2011
Accepted: 21-07-2011
Published (online): 01-09-2011
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The rugby union line-out is a key aspect of game play and involves players from both teams contesting for the ball after it has been thrown in from the side line. Successful lines-out throws require the ball to be delivered accurately to the hands of a jumping and/or lifted team mate (approximately 3-3.5 m off the ground) over distances of between 5- 18 m. Previous research has suggested considerable inter and intra-individual differences in the throwing techniques of international level players. Accordingly, this project investigated the interrelationships between accuracy and the line-out throwing characteristics of three elite international rugby players, and then analyzed whether these changed for throws over increasing length. Three-dimensional (3D) data were developed from video footage (50 Hz) of three elite international subjects for 30 throws over three distances (6 m, 10 m, and 15 m). Results showed notable differences between subjects in many variables at each of the key throw phases. However, several variables such as the degree of trunk flexion at the end of the backswing and at ball release, coupled with elbow flexion angle at ball release remained constant as throw length increased. All subjects exhibited high levels of consistency in movement patterns across all throw lengths. Findings indicated that these high performance line-out throwers shared several common characteristics that will provide useful guides in the development of training programs.

Key words: Biomechanics, movement analysis, rugby union, accuracy, throwing

           Key Points
  • A key aspect of this research was the assessment of throwing accuracy using a functional throwing task that mimicked normal performance.
  • Although individual differences in throwing technique occurred, several technical aspects of the throw were common to each of these elite international players.
  • Subjects tended to be extremely consistent in the way they positioned the ball at the end of the backswing, and had very consistent elbow (flexion) and shoulder (flexion and abduction) angles at both the end of the backswing and at ball release.
  • In addition, throwers kept the trunk close to upright during the throw with minimal trunk flexion or extension regardless of throw distance.
  • To throw for longer distances participants tended to increase the involvement of the legs.
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