3D Biomechanics of Rugby Tackle Techniques to Inform Future Rugby Research Practice: a Systematic Review
Sports Medicine - Open
Background The tackle is the most common in-play event in rugby union and rugby league (the rugby codes). It is also associated with the greatest propensity for injury and thus accounts for the most injuries in the sport. It is therefore of critical importance to accurately quantify how tackle technique alters injury risk using gold-standard methodology of three-dimensional motion (3D) capture. Objective To examine the 3D motion capture methodology of rugby-style tackle techniques to provide
... ommendations to inform practice for future rugby code research and advance the knowledge of this field. Study Design Systematic review. Methods Articles published in English language, up to May 2020, were retrieved via nine online databases. All cross-sectional, correlational, observational, and cohort study designs using 3D motion capture of tackle techniques in rugby code players met inclusion criteria for this review. A qualitative synthesis using thematic analysis was pre-specified to identify five key themes. Results Seven articles met eligibility criteria. Participant demographic information (theme one) involved a total of 92 rugby union players, ranging in skill level and playing experience. Experimental task design information (theme two) included one-on-one, front-on (n=5) or side-on (n=1) contact between a tackler and a ball carrier, or a tackler impacting a tackle bag or bump pad (n=3). 3D data collection (theme three) reported differing sampling frequencies and marker sets. 3D data reduction and analysis (theme four) procedures could be mostly replicated, but the definitions of temporal events, joint modelling and filtering varied between studies. Findings of the studies (theme five) showed that the one-on-one tackle technique can be altered (n=5) when tackle height, leg drive and/or tackle speed is modified. A study reported tackle coaching intervention. Conclusions This is the first review to evaluate 3D motion capture of rugby-style tackle technique research. A research framework was identified: (i) participant demographic information, (ii) experimental task design information, (iii) 3D motion capture data specifications, and (iv) 3D data reduction and analysis. Adherence of future 3D tackling research to these framework principles will provide critical scientific evidence to better inform injury reduction and performance practices in the rugby codes. Trial Registration The review was registered with PROSPERO (registration number CRD42018092312).