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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 137-141

Analysis of biological and mechanical related performance parameters of Malaysian senior youth archers

1 Innovative Manufacturing Mechatronics and Sports Lab, Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Pahang, Terengganu, Malaysia
2 Unit of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, National Defense University of Malaysia, Kem Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Malaysia
3 Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Gong Badak Campus, Gong Badak, Terengganu, Malaysia
4 East Coast Environmental Research Institute, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Gong Badak, Terengganu, Malaysia

Date of Web Publication15-Sep-2017

Correspondence Address:
Mainul Haque
Unit of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, National Defense University of Malaysia, Kem Sungai Besi, 57000 Kuala Lumpur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AIHB.AIHB_35_17

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Background: Archery is a close skill sport in which the archer interacts with body and equipment. The interaction between the archer's body and the equipment could influence archery shooting scores. It is vital for an archer to be cognisance with any movements during these interactions process. Objectives: This study investigates the various biomechanical interactions and their association with archery performance. A total of 32 archers drawn from different programmes participated in the study. Materials and Methods: A sum of four shimmer sensors were used to examine, compare and differentiate the postural sway, movement of the bow, muscular activations of the muscle flexor digitorum superficial, muscle extensor digitorum and resting heart rate of the archers. The archers shoot six arrows at a distance of 50 m, and the selected parameters were streamed during the aiming, stance and the releasing phases of the arrows in real time at a sampling rate of 51.2 Hz using an Android phone. Results: Cluster analysis classified the archers into two groups, namely, high-performance archers (HPA) and low-performance archers (LPA). Standard, step-wise backward and step-wise discriminant analysis differentiated the two groups with three and two dependents variables with an acceptable accuracy of 83.38% and 90.63%. Pairwise t-test comparisons revealed that HPA shows higher muscular extensor activations and lower postural sway with greater shooting scores while LPA recorded higher postural sway and corresponding lower shooting scores. Conclusions: Some biological and biomechanical related parameters such as muscle extensor activation and postural sway could determine shooting accuracy in archery sport.

Keywords: Archery, bow movement, heart rate, muscle activations, postural sway

How to cite this article:
Taha Z, Haque M, Musa RM, Abdullah MR, Maliki AH, Mat-Rashid SM, Kosni NA, Adnan A. Analysis of biological and mechanical related performance parameters of Malaysian senior youth archers. Adv Hum Biol 2017;7:137-41

How to cite this URL:
Taha Z, Haque M, Musa RM, Abdullah MR, Maliki AH, Mat-Rashid SM, Kosni NA, Adnan A. Analysis of biological and mechanical related performance parameters of Malaysian senior youth archers. Adv Hum Biol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 15];7:137-41. Available from: https://www.aihbonline.com/text.asp?2017/7/3/137/214893

  Introduction Top

Archery is defined as a sport that involves driving arrows with a bow to the target in the course of shooting.[1] It can also be seen as a relatively still sport that requires strength and endurance of the upper body, specifically the forearm and the shoulder girdle. In the game of archery, competitors contest for points by shooting a set number of arrows within a stipulated time frame. Conventionally, archery has been utilised for chasing and battle. At present, it has turned into a recreational activity as well as a competitive sport at different levels of expertise and gender.[2]

The technical skill of archery is commonly comprehended to contain eight segments: (1) Stance, (2) set, (3) nocking, (4) set up, (5) drawing, (6) full draw, (7) release and (8) follow through. In the event that these are classified as indicated by Meinel's stage structure of action, (1) stance to (3) nocking is the preliminary stage; (4) set up to (7) release is the fundamental stage and (8) follow through is the finishing stage.[3] Past study on archery has especially centred around (6) full draw and (7) release, by concentrating on electromyograms.[3],[4],[5],[6] Previous researchers analysed aiming time and its relationship with archery shooting scores.[7] They described that in spite of the fact that aiming time was longer for low scoring shots than high-scoring shots for some competitors, there was no marked distinction. It ought to be noticed that shooting contained eight progressive segments as specified above and the characteristic elements of stages other than aiming time are yet to be thoroughly inspected.

Archery in Malaysian and its health benefits

The sport of archery is considered with a high esteem in Malaysian perspective. The sport is among the most favoured sport in the country and as such is aimed at preparing the athletes for competition both locally and internationally.[4] In addition to winning medals, there are many benefits to be driven while participating in the sport. Archery offers physical fitness benefits of upper muscle, core muscle strength and stability.[2] In addition to the physical benefits, archery plays a tremendous role in overall wellbeing improvement. Archery can improve mental health. Previous researchers reported that during a competition, archers usually walk as much as 5 miles while executing common tasks at the archery range and moving from one position to another retrieving the arrows shorts.[8] Although, much of the walking is at short intervals, the collective effect of walking throughout a competition could improve cardiovascular health, muscle tone and leg strength. Moreover, mental focus has been shown to be an essential element for success in archery sport; mental focus can have a positive impact on an individual's mental health and wellbeing.[9] This implies that the more focussed an archer is, the easier it could be to concentrate and shoot an arrow to a target precisely. These acquired abilities from participating in archery help the archer to cope with stress as well as the clear mind of worry while away from the archery range, and this helps the archer to remain more focused on daily live tasks.[10] The focus an individual gains from archery may assist to overcoming procrastination and distraction of daily routine.

Purpose of the study

The nature of archery as a static and non-contact sport requires the archer to pay attention and consider the interactions of both the physiological and mechanical variables which either directly or indirectly determine the outcome of performance in the sport. The previous researchers have demonstrated that the ability of the archer to control his or her postural sway, heart rate and activation, as well as relaxation of the relevant muscles, resulted in shooting consistency and consequently lead to higher archery scores.[10],[11],[12],[13] Despite attempts by the researchers to offer insights into the aforementioned indicators, there are still relatively few studies examining the collective interactions of the biological and the mechanical variables as well as the comparative techniques employ by archers in larger observations. The analysis of the collective interactions of the biological and the mechanical variables could present an objective biomechanical information and positioning of joints essential to predict the responses of the muscles involve in the sport and provide an evidence-based data for a useful multi-segmented model of the archers’ biomechanical related functions during the executions of archery techniques. It has been documented that the ability to measure the mechanical and biomechanical functions of the human body during movement could enhance the general knowledge of the body functions and behaviors to facilitate the assessment of fatigue which could consequently reduce overtraining and injury occurrences.[5],[11] Thus, the current study endeavours to compare and differentiate the postural balance, movement of the bow, muscular activations of the muscle flexor digitorum superficial and muscle extensor digitorum as well as the resting heart rate of Malaysian senior youth archers during archery performance.

  Materials and Methods Top

Research participants

A total of 32 archers were recruited to participate in this study. The participants were 24 male and 8 female youth senior archers between the ages range of 13-20 with a mean and standard deviation of 17.0 ± 0.4 drawn from Terengganu Sports Council, Malaysia. The archers are under a development programme for training both at university, and the state level with an archery shooting experience ranges from 3 to 6 years. Normality test was conducted using Shapiro–Wilk, and the archers were found to be homogeneously distributed. The trainers and the managers of the council were notified about the aim of the study. The written endorsement was acquired, and all the archers signed consent forms. All the procedures, protocol and apparatus for this study were permitted by the Research Ethics Board of the Terengganu Sports Institute with a reference number 04-04/T-01/Jid 2.

Experimental protocol

A simulated shooting board was organised at the University Sultan Zainal Abidin (UnisZa), and all the archers were permitted to shoot four arrows for trial to familiarise themselves with the sensors before the actual shooting. The archers shot the arrows over 50m which is considered appropriate across all the archer's age ranges and shooting experience. The selected parameters were observed during the aiming, stance and the releasing phases of the arrows. All the archers were permitted to use their bow and arrow for the shooting.

Data collection procedure

A total of 4 inertial measurement units Shimmer sensors were used in the present experiment to compare and distinguish the postural balance, movement of the bow, muscular activations of the muscle flexor digitorum and extensor digitorum as well as the heart rate of the archers. Before any warm or shooting practice, the resting heart of the archers was determined using the sensors by enabling the heart rate detector from the wrist. To measure the postural sway, an accelerometer was firmly attached to the pelvic region of the archers as suggested by previous researchers to be the appropriate area when a centre of mass is to be determined.[14] To ascertain the movement of the bow, a shimmer sensor was attached to the hand of the archer holding the bow using a glove to hold the accelerometer tightly. Similarly, bipolar electrodes were connected to the sensors and attached to the left muscle extensor digitorum and the right muscle flexor digitorum to obtain electromyography signals during the archery performances. All the data were streamed in real time at a sampling rate of 51.2 Hz using an Android phone and transmitted through Bluetooth for further analysis. The areas of all the sensors attachments in the body and the whole data collection flow charts are shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Example of data collection flow charts during the experiment.

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Archery shooting score test

A simulated shooting competition area was set up, and all the archers’ shoot six arrows (one end) over 50 m. All the archers were given trials of four arrows shot before recording the final six arrows scores.

Data analysis

In this study, hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis (HACA) was applied to isolate the classes of the related performance parameters measured. Discriminant analysis (DA) was employed using the standard, forward stepwise and backward stepwise methods. These methods were used to construct degree of freedoms to evaluate relative performance variations between the two classes defined by HACA. The relative performances of the archers were the accumulated (dependent) variables, whereas the classes constitute the independent variables. In the forward step-wise mode, the variables were counted step by step beginning with the highest important variable until no significant changes were obtained. In the backward stepwise mode, variables were eliminated step by step starting with the less important variable until no significant changes were obtained. In addition, pair sample t- test was used as a follow up to determine the differences between the classes on the measured biomechanical parameters and the archery shooting scores. All the statistical analysis was performed at P ≤ 0.05 alpha level of confidence using XLSTAT 2014 (add-in software addinsoft, NY, USA) and SPSS version 21 for windows (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA).

  Results Top

The descriptive statistics of the variables evaluated is demonstrated in [Table 1]. The number of the participants, the minimum, maximum scores, mean as well as the standard deviation of each parameter is shown. The grouping of the archers in relation to their performance classes determined by HACA is displayed in [Figure 2]. The determination which is based on the similarity level of the relative performance variables evaluated. It can be observed from the figure that two classes are defined by HACA, namely, high-performance archers (HPA) and low-performance group (LPA) which is based on their scores on the evaluated variables and the corresponding observations are given under each cluster. The DA conducted for determining the accuracy of the DA in differentiating the two classes of archers on the measured variables is illustrated in [Table 2]. The classes act as the independent variable, whereas the biomechanical parameters and the archery shooting scores were treated as dependent variables. Standard, backward stepwise and forward stepwise mode methods were selected to perform the DA. The precision of classification using standard, backward stepwise and forward stepwise was excellent 83.38% and 90.63%, respectively, with three dependent and two variables in the methods. Similarly, we found that 20 archers are classified to HPA, and 12 archers are grouped into LPA in all the selected backward stepwise and forward stepwise mode methods.
Table 1: Descriptive statistics of the assessed parameters

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Figure 2: Dendrogram of the two classes assigned by the cluster analysis.

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Table 2: Classification matrix of the discriminant analysis on the two classes

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The inferential statistics of the pairwise comparison performed as a follow-up for the t-test is revealed in [Table 3]. There is a statistically significant difference between the HPA and LPA in three parameters (muscle extensor activation, postural sway and archery shooting scores) P ≤ 0.05. The comparative analysis comparative analysis of the significant performance parameters between the HPA and LPA indicated by standard mode of DA is shown in [Figure 3]. It can be detected that the mean performances of HPA class in archery shooting scores and extensor muscular activation are higher when compared with that of LPA which explained that the HPA possessed greater shooting scores and their muscle extensor is highly activated throughout the aiming and the releasing phases as opposed to LPA. Similarly, the LPA class recorded higher postural sway compared to LPA.
Table 3: Inferential statistics of the pairwise comparison for the t-test

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Figure 3: Comparative analysis of the significant performance parameters between the high performance archers and low performance archers selected from standard mode of discriminant analysis.

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  Discussion Top

The significant findings from this study have revealed that some related biomechanical parameters specifically, muscle extensor activation and postural sway could differentiate HPA and LPAs and could influence shooting accuracy in archery sport [Table 2]. However, the results indicated that factors such as resting heart rate, bow movement and muscle flexor activation could not be a discriminant factors between HPA and LPA among senior youth archers.

The current findings are in concordance with that of the previous research which revealed that during the archery shooting technique, muscle extensors serve as the supportive muscle. Therefore, it is expected to be more activated for the achievement of the higher score because it helps to stabilise the bow.[5],[15] Moreover, some authors stressed further that during archery performance, an archer pushes the bow with stretched arm, which is statically held in the bearing of the target, whereas the other arm applies a dynamic pulling off the bowstring from the earliest starting point of the drawing stage until the discharge is progressively executed.[3],[12] Hence, the contraction of the muscle extensor during the release of the bowstring is essential for accurate and higher scoring in archery. Based on this explanation, it is not surprising that our findings discovered higher muscle extensor activation among HPA archers as opposed to the LPA.

Our findings have revealed that the HPA are attributed to lower postural sway compared to LPA as clearly shown in [Figure 3]. This finding is congruent with the results of the previous researchers who stated that one of the important subcomponents in maintaining shooting accuracy is the aiming stability.[16] Achieving a high level of postural stability through aiming intensifies the aiming stability of an archer. Aiming stability characterised as the central form of aiming guarantees continuous flight direction to the target. This specific circumstance offers effect to the performance result. Moreover, it is reported that the elite archer's pointing locus is much lighter as opposed to the novice archers.[6]

No sufficient evidence from our findings to illustrate that bow movement could be a discriminant factor among the archers during the archery shooting process [Table 3]. The reason for this could be as a result of the fact that the archers under the present study are senior youth who acquired a relatively longer period in archery shooting technique, for this reason, all the archers could be good in handling the movement of their bows. This finding can be supported by the previous researchers who revealed that novice archers have lower control of the movement of their bows when compared to the senior archers.[17] Based on this result, it can be inferred that the movement of the bow among the senior youth archers could not be a significant factor discriminating their performance.

The result from the resting heart rate analysis revealed no significant difference exists between the archers [Table 3]. This result indicated that the resting heart rate of the archers could not differentiate their shooting scores. This finding corresponds to the findings of the previous investigators who reported no significance different on resting heart of experience archers during archery shooting process.[4],[7],[8] Our findings discovered that resting heart rate of the senior youth archers might not be a factor differentiating their shooting scores.

  Conclusions Top

The current study has evaluated biomechanical parameters related to archery particularly; postural sway, bow movement, muscular activation as well as resting heart rate and shooting scores attributed to the sport of archery. The findings have shown that muscle extensor activations and postural sway are the essential related biomechanical parameters that could differentiate HPA and LPAs during archery performance. The results have revealed that HPAs are better in controlling their postural sway and have a greater activation of muscle extensors which implies that they avoid over-gripping the bow. Moreover, the results of the study have further revealed that bow movement, resting heart and muscles flexor activations could not discriminate performance of archery among senior youth archers. The findings from the current investigation could be useful to coaches in re-structuring their training programme through paying attention to the aforementioned performance indicators to serve as a guide for the optimisation of performance for a better delivery of performance in the sport.


The researchers would like to thank the Sports Institute Malaysia for providing the research grant for the study (ISNRG: 8/2014-21/2014). The researchers also wish to acknowledge the coaches and managers of Terengganu Sports Council, Malaysia (MSNT) for their support to the accomplishment of this study.

Financial support and sponsorship

The researchers thank the Sports Institute Malaysia for providing the research grant for the study (ISNRG: 8/2014-21/2014).

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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