In Search of the Secret of Legg's Long Throw-In; RESEARCH: 3D Image Will Recreate Footballer's Body Action

Article excerpt

Byline: TOMOS LIVINGSTONE

CARDIFF City fans have known about it for years, but if scientists get their way one of their secret weapons might not be a secret for very much longer.

City player and Wales international Andy Legg's long throw-ins have caused havoc in many an opposition defence, and now biological engineers at Cardiff University are trying to discover how he does it.

They hope that their research will allow future players to learn the art of the long throw.

Legg, who once held the world record for the longest throw, has been wired up by researchers at the university to try and discover how his body moves.

The experiments involve placing reflective markers on the body and using infra-red cameras to track the way the limbs move.

The player is then filmed by a series of cameras and the information fed into computers.

A digital, moving 3D image can then be produced to show how the player moves.

Using such a model is a good way to learn the art, says Dr Cathy Holt, who has been leading the research.

She said, "If you have a visual image it's easier to learn. We're hoping it can be used to train other people - it could be quite useful for the sport."

The project began when Dr Holt's colleague Dr Len Noakes - also team doctor at Cardiff City - suggested investigating Legg's extraordinary throw.

"We've been looking at his upper body, the arms in particular, " said Dr Holt.

"However, he seems to be using his lower body too, so we've also been filming the legs."

The key to Legg's talent is still far from clear, however. …