“Snap-kicking” in elite Australian football: How foot preference and task difficulty highlight potential benefits from bilateral skill training

Benjamin B. Moore, Nicholas J. O’Dwyer, Roger D. Adams, Stephen Cobley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

“Snap-kicks” in Australian Football (AF) occur when players can potentially score but are facing away from the goal, necessitating a kick across the body or over the opposite shoulder. In games, situations arise for both right- and left-foot snaps, but players often strive to use their preferred rather than non-preferred foot. We consider whether such a strategy is optimal and in this study examine whether foot preference and task difficulty affect snap-accuracy. Accordingly, 27 elite AF players (19 “right-footers”, 8 “left-footers”) were tasked with executing snap-kicks at easy and more difficult (acute) angles using both feet. As expected, accuracy was greater with the preferred (76%) than the non-preferred foot (57%) and greater for easy (78%) than difficult kick angles (56%), however there were no accuracy differences due to player footedness. Surprisingly, given the relative difficulty, snap-kicks from the more difficult angle with the preferred foot could be made with a similar level of accuracy (67%) to kicks with the nonpreferred foot from the easier angle (69%). Results suggest that using the non-preferred foot for snap-kicks at goal in appropriate situations during games could increase scoring affordances, and that training on the non-preferred foot may benefit individual and team performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport
Volume17
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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