An examination of the jump-and-lift factors influencing the time to reach peak catch height during a Rugby Union lineout
The goal of an offensive Rugby Union lineout is to throw the ball in a manner that allows your team to maintain possession. Typically, the player catching the ball jumps and is lifted upwards by two teammates, reaching above the opposing player who is competing for the ball also. Despite various beliefs regarding the importance of the jumper’s mass and attempted jump height, and lifters’ magnitude and point of force application, there is negligible published data on the topic. The squeeze technique is one lifting method commonly employed by New Zealand teams during lineout plays, whereby the jumper initiates the jump quickly and the lifters provide assistance only once the jumper reaches 20–30 cm. While this strategy may reduce cues to the opposition, it might also constrain the jumper and lifters. We developed a model to explore how changes in the jumper’s body mass and attempted jump height, and lifters’ magnitude and point of force application influence the time to reach peak catch height. The magnitude of the lift force impacted the time-to-reach peak catch height the most; followed by the jumper’s (attempted) jump height and body mass; and lastly, the point of lift force application.
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