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Biomechanics - How you can train footballers to take the perfect penalty

Our academics collaborated with a leading sports biomechanics firm run by a Chichester alumnus to develop software to train footballers to take the perfect penalty.

The Quintic software, developed by our alumnus Dr Paul Hurrion from Quintic Consultancy, is an immediate coaching tool giving frame-by-frame feedback on the technique to athletes and coaches.

Paul completed his undergraduate degree in 1993, and continued his education at Chichester with his PhD in 1997. Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, he has returned to team up with Dr Kath Shorter and Dr Neal Smith from the Sport and Exercise Sciences team at the University, and together they have applied it to the footballing world.

The new addition to the software investigates the speed and spin of a football during set pieces, and is designed to be used by football clubs to analyse the performance of their players and to improve their technique.

Ex-professional footballer Kevin Gallen visited the University to try the software out, accompanied by cameras from Sky Sports. He was able to demonstrate how the software could be used to affect the chances of scoring a penalty in a test that was broadcast to millions of Sky Sports News viewers.

Dr Neal Smith said: “We have been working with Paul over the past six months to provide validation of the claims the software makes. The demonstration with Kevin showed how the software can be used in a coaching situation, and how it can be applied to dead ball examples, such as penalties and free-kicks.”

The spin software development is the latest in a number of collaborations between the University and Quintic. Using the Vicon system at Chichester, which places reflective markers on athletes and allows their actions to be filmed in 3D, the two organisations have carried out tests around bowling actions on behalf of the International Cricket Council, and tested football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for a Sky Sports documentary to find out what makes him one of the best players in the world.