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Title: Profiling elite male squash performance using a situation awareness approach enabled by automated tracking technology
Author: Murray, Stafford
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 8903
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2018
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The pioneering research into squash performance by Sanderson and Way (1977) tested the hypothesis that “an individual exhibits a pattern of play which is relatively stable over time and independent of the opponent”. This belief influenced research in this area for many years. Many studies attempted to discover these stable patterns of play e.g. Hughes, 1985; McGarry and Franks, 1996; Hughes, Evans and Wells, 2001; and presented, what were suggested as indicative, playing profiles e.g. Murray and Hughes, 2001; Hughes, Watts, White and Hughes, 2006. This PhD aimed to analyse squash match play at a more detailed level by using movement data to supplement shot information related to shot types, court area etc. Elite male squash matches were filmed using a fixed overhead camera and images processed in software to semi-automatically calculate player movement information as well as allow an operator to manually input shot information. The two data streams were synchronised in Matlab before reliability and accuracy testing. Good levels of reliability were found for all court locations and shot information (agreement > 90%) although when an operator coded a long match without a break some percentage agreements had less than 90% agreement, presumably due to fatigue effects. Error testing, using a series of queries, specific to each data type, following data collection and prior to data analysis, discovered multiple errors in the data which were corrected. The physical demands and rally characteristics of elite-standard men's squash had not been well documented since recent rule changes (scoring and tin height). Rallies were split into four ball-in-play duration categories using the 25th (short), 75th (medium), 95th percentiles (long) and maximum values. The frequencies of shots played from different areas of the court had not changed after the adoption of new rules but there was less time available to return shots. Chapter 5 considered how expert squash players use Situation Awareness (SA) to decide on what shot to play. Shot type, ball location, players’ positions on court and movement parameters were captured 25 times per second for shots that achieved their objective. Six SA clusters were named to relate to the outcome of a shot ranging from a defensive shot played under pressure to create time to an attempted winner played under no pressure with the opponent out of position. The pressure exerted on a squash player is a coupling of the two players’ SA abilities. The same variables used for Chapter 5 were used except all shots (excluding serves and rally ending shots) were used, producing five main SA clusters, where a greater proportion of shots were categorised in the greater pressure clusters and less in the lower pressure ones. Individual matches were presented using cluster profile infographics which demonstrated how individual players played differently in different matches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available