added a research item
"The perfect sports wheelchair"
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of seat height, wheelchair mass and grip on mobility performance among wheelchair basketball players and to investigate whether these effects differ between classification levels. METHODS: Elite wheelchair basketball players with a low (n= 11, class 1 or 1.5) or high (n= 10, class 4 or 4.5) classification performed a field-based wheelchair mobility performance (WMP) test. Athletes performed the test six times in their own wheelchair, of which five times with different configurations, a higher or lower seat height, with additional distally or centrally located extra mass, and with gloves. The effects of these configurations on performance times and the interaction with classification were determined. RESULTS: Total performance time on the WMP test was significantly reduced when using a 7.5% lower seat height. Additional mass (7.5%) and glove use did not lead to changes in performance time. Effects were the same for the two classification levels. CONCLUSIONS: The methodology can be used in a wheelchair fitting process to search for the optimal individual configuration to enhance mobility performance. Out of all adjustments possible, this study focused on seat height, mass and grip only. Further research can focus on these possible adjustments to optimize mobility performance in wheelchair basketball.
Athlete impairment level is an important factor in wheelchair mobility performance (WMP) in sports. Classification systems, aimed to compensate impairment level effects on performance, vary between sports. Improved understanding of resemblances and differences in WMP between sports could aid in optimizing the classification methodology. Furthermore, increased performance insight could be applied in training and wheelchair optimization. The wearable sensor-based wheelchair mobility performance monitor (WMPM) was used to measure WMP of wheelchair basketball, rugby and tennis athletes of (inter-)national level during match-play. As hypothesized, wheelchair basketball athletes show the highest average WMP levels and wheelchair rugby the lowest, whereas wheelchair tennis athletes range in between for most outcomes. Based on WMP profiles, wheelchair basketball requires the highest performance intensity, whereas in wheelchair tennis, maneuverability is the key performance factor. In wheelchair rugby, WMP levels show the highest variation comparable to the high variation in athletes' impairment levels. These insights could be used to direct classification and training guidelines, with more emphasis on intensity for wheelchair basketball, focus on maneuverability for wheelchair tennis and impairment-level based training programs for wheelchair rugby. Wearable technology use seems a prerequisite for further development of wheelchair sports, on the sports level (classification) and on individual level (training and wheelchair configuration).
The purpose of the current study was to assess the inter-trial reliability and construct validity (talented juniors vs. international adult players) of four wheelchair tennis field tests using inertial measurement units (IMUs). Twenty-one elite wheelchair tennis players completed four tests, which evaluate the sprinting and manoeuvrability abilities in wheelchair tennis. During all tests 3 IMUs were attached to both wheels and the frame of the athlete's wheelchair. The IMUs enabled analysis of individual test dynamic characteristics, i.e. the linear/rotational velocity and acceleration data, as well as detected pushes. All tests showed high ICCs (0.95-0.99) for the inter-trial reliability for the IMU-based end times and also the construct validity was good, i.e. talented juniors could be discriminated from international adults. Also, velocities and accelerations during the tests could be consistently visualized, meaning that differences in test performance among participants could be designated. Within the experimental context, the field tests could be regarded as reliable and valid. With the use of IMUs it is possible to verify more detailed performance characteristics, visualize the test execution, as well as differentiate between a talented junior and international adult group and within individuals over time.
This study determined the physical and technical demands of elite wheelchair tennis (WT) match-play, how the demands differed between divisions (Men, Women, Quad) and the effect that set result and score margin had on these demands. Seventeen WT players were monitored during a singles competition. Physical measures of performance were analysed using an indoor tracking system and inertial measurement units. Technical measures of performance were examined using video analysis. Physical measures of performance differed by division (Men > Women > Quad) for most parameters. Rallies were longer during Men’s (P = 0.027) and Women’s (P = 0.004) matches compared to Quad’s and fewer shots were hit off 2 bounces in Men’s matches compared to Women’s and Quad’s (P ≤ 0.026). High-speed activity (HSA) increased during losing sets (P = 0.043). Most physical measures of performance increased by moderate to large effects during sets with a small score margin (≤3 games differential). Mean speed and HSA were similar during losing sets, regardless of margin, but decreased (large effects) when winning by a large margin. This study demonstrated the physical and technical demands that elite WT players need to be prepared for and how situational factors can influence these demands.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to provide insight in the effect of wheelchair settings on wheelchair mobility performance. Methods: Twenty elite wheelchair basketball athletes of low (n=10) and high classification (n=10), were tested in a wheelchair basketball directed field test. Athletes performed the test in their own wheelchair, which was modified for five additional conditions regarding seat height (high - low), mass (central - distributed) and grip. The previously developed, inertial sensor based wheelchair mobility performance monitor1 was used to extract wheelchair kinematics in all conditions. Results: Adding mass showed most effect on wheelchair mobility performance, with a reduced average acceleration across all activities. Once distributed, additional mass also reduced maximal rotational speed and rotational acceleration. Elevating seat height had effect on several performance aspects in sprinting and turning, whereas lowering seat height influenced performance minimally. Increased rim grip did not alter performance. No differences in response were evident between low and high classified athletes. Conclusion: The wheelchair mobility performance monitor showed sensitive to detect performance differences due to the small changes in wheelchair configuration made. Distributed additional mass had the most effect on wheelchair mobility performance, whereas additional grip had the least effect of conditions tested. Performance effects appear similar for both low and high classified athletes. Athletes, coaches and wheelchair experts are provided with insight in the performance effect of key wheelchair settings, and they are offered a proven sensitive method to apply in sports practice, in their search for the best wheelchair-athlete combination.
Purpose: To examine effects of different small-sided games (SSG) on physical and technical aspects of performance in wheelchair basketball (WB) players. Design: Observational cohort study. Methods: Fifteen highly trained WB players participated in a single 5v5 (24-sec shot-clock) match and three 3v3 SSGs (18-sec shot-clock) on a: i) full (FC); ii) half (HC) and; iii) modified length court (MOD). During all formats, player's activity profiles were monitored using an indoor tracking system and inertial measurement units. Physiological responses were monitored via heart rate and rating of perceived exertion. Technical performance i.e. ball handling was monitored using video analysis. Repeated measures ANOVA and effect sizes (ES) were calculated to determine the statistical significance and magnitude of any differences between game formats. Results: Players covered less distance and reached lower peak speeds during HC (P ≤ 0.0005; ES ≥ very large) compared to all other formats. Greater distances were covered and more time was spent performing moderate and high speed activity (P ≤ 0.008; ES ≥ moderate) during FC compared to all other formats. Game format had little bearing on physiological responses and the only differences in technical performance observed were in relation to 5v5. Players spent more time in possession, took more shots and performed more rebounds in all 3v3 formats compared to 5v5 (P ≤ 0.028; ES ≥ moderate). Conclusions: Court dimensions affect the activity profiles of WB players during 3v3 SSG, yet had little bearing on technical performance when time pressures (shot-clocks) were constant. These findings have important implications for coaches to understand which SSG format may be most suitable for physically and technically preparing WB players.
Wheelchair mobility performance is an important aspect in most wheelchair court sports, commonly measured with an indoor tracking system or wheelchair bound inertial sensors. Both methods provide key wheelchair mobility performance outcomes regarding speed. In this study, we compared speed profiles of both methods to gain insight into the level of agreement, for recommendations regarding future performance measurement. Data were obtained from 5 male highly trained wheelchair basketball players during match play. Players were equipped simultaneously with a tag on the footplate for the indoor tracking system (∼8 Hz) and inertial sensors on both wheels and frame (199.8 Hz). Being part of a larger study on 3 vs 3 player game formats, data were collected in several matches with varying field sizes, but activity profiles closely resembled regular match play. Both systems provide similar outcomes regarding distance covered and average speed. Due to differences in sampling frequency and sensor location (reference point) on the wheelchair (for speed calculation), minor differences were revealed at low speeds (<2.5 m/s). Since both systems provide complementary features, a hybrid solution as proved feasible in this study, could possibly serve as the new gold standard for mobility performance measurement in wheelchair basketball or wheelchair court sports in general.
Purpose: Classification is a defining factor for competition in wheelchair sports, but it is a delicate and time-consuming process with often questionable validity.(1) New inertial sensor based measurement methods applied in match play and field tests, allow for more precise and objective estimates of the impairment effect on wheelchair mobility performance. It was evaluated if these measures could offer an alternative point of view for classification. Methods: Six standard wheelchair mobility performance outcomes of different classification groups were measured in match play (n=29), as well as best possible performance in a field test (n=47). Results: In match-results a clear relationship between classification and performance level is shown, with increased performance outcomes in each adjacent higher classification group. Three outcomes differed significantly between the low and mid-class groups, and one between the mid and high-class groups. In best performance (field test), a split between the low and mid-class groups shows (5 out of 6 outcomes differed significantly) but hardly any difference between the mid and high-class groups. This observed split was confirmed by cluster analysis, revealing the existence of only two performance based clusters. Conclusion: The use of inertial sensor technology to get objective measures of wheelchair mobility performance, combined with a standardized field-test, brought alternative views for evidence based classification. The results of this approach provided arguments for a reduced number of classes in wheelchair basketball. Future use of inertial sensors in match play and in field testing could enhance evaluation of classification guidelines as well as individual athlete performance.
Objective: This study aimed to investigate which characteristics of athlete, wheelchair and athlete-wheelchair interface are the best predictors of wheelchair basketball mobility performance. Design: Sixty experienced wheelchair basketball players performed a wheelchair mobility performance test to assess their mobility performance. To determine which variables were the best predictors of mobility performance, forward stepwise linear regression analyses were performed on a set of 33 characteristics, including ten athlete, nineteen wheelchair and four athlete-wheelchair interface characteristics. Results: Eight of the characteristics turned out to be significant predictors of wheelchair basketball mobility performance. Classification, experience, maximal isometric force, wheel axis height and hand rim diameter - which both interchangeable with each other and wheel diameter - camber angle, and the vertical distance between shoulder and rear wheel axis - which was interchangeable with seat height - were positively associated with mobility performance. The vertical distance between the front seat and the footrest was negatively associated with mobility performance. Conclusion: With this insight, coaches and biomechanical specialists are provided with statistical findings to determine which characteristics they could focus on best to improve mobility performance. Six out of eight predictors are modifiable and can be optimized to improve mobility performance. These adjustments could be carried out both in training (maximal isometric force) and in wheelchair configurations (e.g. camber angle).
INTRODUCTION: Performance in wheelchair basketball can be divided in; physical performance (athlete capabilities), game performance (athlete basketball skills) and mobility performance (wheelchair-athlete activities). In wheelchair sports, athletes require a wheelchair design that best meets the demands of a specific sports discipline (vanlandewijck, Theisen, & Daly, 2001). Therefore, an increase in wheelchair basketball performance can be achieved by an optimization of the design and configurations of the wheelchair and specific knowledge of mobility performance in game settings. Purpose: In order to get insight in the mobility performance and to optimize wheelchair-athlete interaction, a test will be developed based on wheelchair-athlete activities in competition. METHODS: Using video analysis, wheelchair-athlete activities were examined in 27 Dutch national athletes and 29 international athletes during entire wheelchair basketball matches (de Witte et al., 2015). Inertial sensors were used in 29 players to estimate distances and curvatures observed during games (van der Slikke et al., 2015). Based on these findings and interviews with experts (e.g. coaches and wheelchair basketball athletes), design requirements were determined to measure key-parameters of mobility performance. In addition, variables that can influence mobility performance such as athlete capabilities (e.g. range of motion) and wheelchair settings must be included in the field test. RESULTS: Based on the relative time of the video data, the most common activities were driving forward (45%), rotation (29%) and standing still (19%). The activities must be tested separately as well as combined. Furthermore, the test require a distinction between ball possession and without ball during wheelchair-athlete activities. Analysis of inertial sensor data showed 3 meter driving forward as a common distance, and 12 meter as a maximal distance. The most frequent curvature (radius) of rotational movement is 1.5-2.5 meter. From the interviews, a list of practical requirements is formulated (e.g. floor surface, duration). All the findings and requirements are combined and translated into a field-based mobility test. DISCUSSION: The development of this test is based on a large sample of real wheelchair basketball matches. Therefore, the ecological and content validity is high and these findings can be used as a gold-standard procedure. For the short term, the test will be performed on national and international level to test validity, sensitivity and reliability.
The aim of this study was to develop and describe a wheelchair mobility performance test in wheelchair basketball and to assess its construct validity and reliability. To mimic mobility performance of wheelchair basketball matches in a standardised manner, a test was designed based on observation of wheelchair basketball matches and expert judgement. Forty-six players performed the test to determine its validity and 23 players performed the test twice for reliability. Independent-samples t-tests were used to assess whether the times needed to complete the test were different for classifications, playing standards and sex. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated to quantify reliability of performance times. Males performed better than females (P < 0.001, effect size [ES] = −1.26) and international men performed better than national men (P < 0.001, ES = −1.62). Performance time of low (≤2.5) and high (≥3.0) classification players was borderline not significant with a moderate ES (P = 0.06, ES = 0.58). The reliability was excellent for overall performance time (ICC = 0.95). These results show that the test can be used as a standardised mobility performance test to validly and reliably assess the capacity in mobility performance of elite wheelchair basketball athletes. Furthermore, the described methodology of development is recommended for use in other sports to develop sport-specific tests.
The reliability of inertial measurement unit (IMU) outcomes for measuring wheelchair kinematics was assessed. Twenty participants performed a course reflecting all different kinematic aspects of wheelchair basketball. During the test wheelchair kinematics were measured using a 24 camera 3D motion analysis system (Optitrack) as gold standard and three IMU’s on wheels and frame. Results show good estimates for frame displacement and speed as long as no wheel skidding is involved. Frame rotation in the horizontal plane is best measured using the frame IMU gyro signal. Future algorithm development on this dataset will focus on improving displacement estimates in skidding conditions. The proved reliability of the IMU method, enables prospective research into the validity during real game conditions.
Knowledge of wheelchair kinematics during a match is prerequisite for performance improvement in wheelchair basketball. Unfortunately, no measurement system providing key kinematic outcomes proved to be reliable in competition. In this study, the reliability of estimated wheelchair kinematics based on a three inertial measurement unit (IMU) configuration was assessed in wheelchair basketball match-like conditions. Twenty participants performed a series of tests reflecting different motion aspects of wheelchair basketball. During the tests wheelchair kinematics were simultaneously measured using IMUs on wheels and frame, and a 24-camera optical motion analysis system serving as gold standard. Results showed only small deviations of the IMU method compared to the gold standard, once a newly developed skid correction algorithm was applied. Calculated Root Mean Square Errors (RMSE) showed good estimates for frame displacement (RMSE≤0.05m) and speed (RMSE≤0.1m/s), except for three truly vigorous tests. Estimates of frame rotation in the horizontal plane (RMSE<3°) and rotational speed (RMSE<7°/s) were very accurate. Differences in calculated Instantaneous Rotation Centres (IRC) were small, but somewhat larger in tests performed at high speed (RMSE up to 0.19m). Average test outcomes for linear speed (ICCs>0.90), rotational speed (ICC>0.99) and IRC (ICC> 0.90) showed high correlations between IMU data and gold standard. IMU based estimation of wheelchair kinematics provided reliable results, except for brief moments of wheel skidding in truly vigorous tests. The IMU method is believed to enable prospective research in wheelchair basketball match conditions and contribute to individual support of athletes in everyday sports practice. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Short sprints are important components of most wheelchair court sports, since being faster than the opponent often determines keeping ball possession or not. Sprinting capacity is best measured during a field test, allowing the athlete to freely choose push strategies adapted to their own wheelchair setting, physical ability, classification and speed changes during a sprint. The key test outcome is sprint duration, but there are various ways to accomplish the same sprint time. So can different push strategies be identified in a wheelchair sport and how do they relate to athlete level/classification and wheelchair configuration? These relationships were investigated by field tests of 30 male wheelchair basketball athletes during a 12 meter sprint in their own wheelchair. A recently developed method for ambulatory measurement was used to calculate wheelchair kinematics , providing outcomes on displacement, speed, acceleration and pushes. Additionally maximal isometric push force was recorded and rear seat height was noted. Within the measured athletes, internationals were expected to be faster due to a better physical training status and technique, allowing them to sprint with fewer (but more powerful) pushes. Likewise, athletes of higher classification were expected to be faster due their superior physical capacity, but the effect on the number of pushes used was not that evident. Video analysis was added to validate push detection of the ambulatory measurement system. Mutual correlations and competition level differences of sprint characteristics were calculated. General Linear Models (GLM) were drawn to determine the effect of competition level and classification on sprint time and number of pushes.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.08.022 Free available until december 6th 2016 via: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1TuqD4-6-EZQ5 Abstract Quantitative assessment of an athlete's individual wheelchair mobility performance is one prerequisite needed to evaluate game performance, improve wheelchair settings and optimize training routines. Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) based methods can be used to perform such quantitative assessment, providing a large number of kinematic data. The goal of this research was to reduce that large amount of data to a set of key features best describing wheelchair mobility performance in match play and present them in meaningful way for both scientists and athletes. To test the discriminative power, wheelchair mobility characteristics of athletes with different performance levels were compared. The wheelchair kinematics of 29 (inter-)national level athletes were measured during a match using three inertial sensors mounted on the wheelchair. Principal component analysis was used to reduce 22 kinematic outcomes to a set of six outcomes regarding linear and rotational movement; speed and acceleration; average and best performance. In addition, it was explored whether groups of athletes with known performance differences based on their impairment classification also differed with respect to these key outcomes using univariate general linear models. For all six key outcomes classification showed to be a significant factor (p<0.05). We composed a set of six key kinematic outcomes that accurately describe wheelchair mobility performance in match play. The key kinematic outcomes were displayed in an easy to interpret way, usable for athletes, coaches and scientist. This standardized representation enables comparison of different wheelchair sports regarding wheelchair mobility, but also evaluation at the level of an individual athlete. By this means, the tool could enhance further development of wheelchair sports in general.