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 (2012) 11, 444 - 451

Research article
Kinematics of the Typical Beach Flags Start for Young Adult Sprinters
Robert G. Lockie , William M. Vickery, Xanne A.K. Janse de Jonge
Author Information
Exercise and Sport Science, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia

Robert G. Lockie
✉ School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, PO Box 127, Ourimbah, NSW, 2258, Australia
Publish Date
Received: 13-02-2012
Accepted: 25-05-2012
Published (online): 01-09-2012
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This study profiled beach flags start kinematics for experienced young adult sprinters. Five males and three females (age = 20.8 ± 2.1 years; height = 1.70 ± 0.06 meters [m]; mass = 63.9 ± 6.0 kilograms) completed four sprints using their competition start technique. A high-speed camera, positioned laterally, filmed the start. Data included: start time; hand clearance time; posterior movement from the start line; feet spacing during the start; elbow, hip, knee, trunk lean, and trajectory angles at take-off; and first step length. Timing gates recorded 0-2, 0-5, and 0-20 m time. Spearman’s correlations identified variables relating (p ≤ 0.05) to faster start and sprint times. The beach flags start involved sprinters moving 0.18 ± 0.05 m posterior to the start line by flexing both legs underneath the body before turning. Following the turn, the feet were positioned 0.47 ± 0.07 apart. This distance negatively correlated with start (ρ = -0.647), 0-2 (ρ = -0.683), and 0-5 m (ρ = -0.766) time. Beach flags start kinematics at take-off resembled research analyzing track starts and acceleration. The elbow extension angle (137.62 ± 13.45°) of the opposite arm to the drive leg correlated with 0-2 (ρ = -0.762), 0-5 (ρ = -0.810), and 0-20 m (ρ = -0.810) time. Greater arm extension likely assisted with stability during the start, leading to enhanced sprint performance. The drive leg knee extension angle (146.36 ± 2.26°) correlated with start time (ρ = -0.677), indicating a contribution to a faster start completion. A longer first step following the start related to faster 0-5 m time (ρ = -0.690). Sprinters quicker over 0-2 and 0-5 m were also quicker over 20 m (ρ = 0.881-0.952). Beach flags sprinters must ensure their start is completed quickly, such that they can attain a high speed throughout the race.

Key words: Biomechanics, surf lifesaving, sprint start, acceleration, beach sprinting.

           Key Points
  • There are specific movement patterns adopted by beach flags sprinters during the start. Sprinters will move posterior to the start time prior to turning. Following the turn, sprinters must position their feet such that force output is optimized and low body position at take-off can be attained.
  • The body position at take-off from the beach flags start is similar to that of established technique parameters for track sprinters leaving starting blocks, and field sport athletes during acceleration. A greater range of motion at the arms can aid with stability during the turn and at take-off from the start. Greater knee extension of the drive leg at take-off can assist with reducing the duration of the start.
  • The beach flags start must allow for a quick generation of speed through the initial stages of the sprint, as this can benefit the later stages. A longer first step following the start can help facilitate speed over the initial acceleration period. Beach flags sprinters must also attempt to maintain their speed throughout the entirety of the race.
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