Factors Affecting Set Shot Goal-kicking Performance in the Australian Football League

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Set shot goal-kicking is recognized as an important skill in Australian Football (AF), accounting for over half of all goals kicked in the Australian Football League (AFL). However, as knowledge surrounding its performance is limited, this study described the frequency, types, and outcomes of set shots in the AFL and investigated the impact of task, personal, and environmental constraints on goal-kicking performance. We analyzed video footage of set shots from all 198 matches of the 2012 season, collecting data for kick distance, kick angle, player position, player experience (i.e., general and specific), kick outcome, and weather status. We found an average of 23.0 (standard deviation [SD] = 4.5) set shots/match, with a mean accuracy of 55.0% (SD = 0.7%). Kicking accuracy decreased with incremental increases in kick distance, with accuracy ranging from 97% (0–15 m) to 36% (≥50 m). Key forwards were more accurate kickers than other players. There was no significant effect of player experience. The number of set shots taken decreased by 13% in wet weather conditions. The primary determinant of elite set shot goal-kicking performance was the interaction of kick distance and angle (task difficulty). This research adds to an understanding of how personal, environmental, and match constraints influence this closed skill performance in AF match play.

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