Automated scoring for elite half-pipe snowboard competition: important sporting development or techno distraction?
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We previously reported a strong relationship between video-based objective data (air time and degree of rotation) and subjectively-judged scores awarded during elite half-pipe snowboard competitions. Advancements in sport-monitoring technologies now provide the capacity to accurately and automatically quantify this objective information. This may assist current subjective coaching and competition judging protocols provided the integration process imparts a large element of control to key players within the sport. We therefore recently hosted an invitational half-pipe snowboard competition (2007 Australian Institute of Sport Micro-Tech Pipe Challenge) designed to evaluate whether the snowboarding community would embrace a competition where results were in part determined by automated objectivity. We explored the practical, logistical, and technical challenges associated with conducting such an event and evaluated the relationship between subjective judging and results predicted from objective information to see if prior research had ecological validity. Ten elite, male half-pipe snowboarders were instrumented with inertial sensors throughout this competition. A prediction equation using previously-established weightings of average air time and average degree of rotation accounted for 74 per cent of the shared variance in subjectively-judged scores awarded during this competition. Although our predictions of overall scores and rankings were good, 26 per cent of the total variance was still unexplained. This should not be considered a weakness of this approach, but a strength, as the subjective components of style and execution should never be removed from the sport. The future of half-pipe snowboarding, however, may be best guided a judging protocol that incorporates both objective and subjective criteria.
Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified