TU Delft helping Dutch wheelchair basketball team to defend European title

News - 01 July 2019 - Communication

The Dutch wheelchair basketball team will soon attempt to defend their European title with help from TU Delft. From Sunday 30 June to Sunday 7 July, the women’s wheelchair basketball European Championships will be held at Topsportcentrum Rotterdam. In collaboration with The Hague University of Applied Sciences, researcher Rienk van der Slikke has developed a wheelchair fitted with sensors. During trainings these sensors track every movement the wheelchair makes. The aim is to use this data to help the Dutch team take their game to the next level.

Paralympic Games 2020
The EC2019 is an important tournament for the female players. The best four teams secure a ticket to the Paralympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, where the Dutch women’s team – the reigning World Champions – hopes to take home the gold medal. In their continuous quest to improve their game, the Dutch team is now working together with TU Delft.  Rienk van der Slikke is helping the team by collecting data about the players during trainings, which he then shares with national coach Gertjan van der Linden in preparation for the next match.

Rienk van der Slikke uses a method developed by TU Delft and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. ‘We can chart all wheelchair movements using just two sensors. These sensors are located on one of the wheels and on the frame. They only weigh 46 g, and they do not hinder the player in any way’, he explains. The sensors measure the speed and acceleration of the players as well as how fast the players turn and how they move on the court.  

Improved performance
This data can be used to ascertain how and how often the players perform certain activities, such as sprinting, braking and turning. ‘This is ultimately designed to help coach Van der Linden prepare matches. He can train the player to improve specific areas and ensure that the sessions are geared to matches against world-class opponents. Tactics can also be adjusted to ensure that the individual qualities of players are utilised more effectively’, says Van der Slikke.

Perfect sports wheelchair
National coach Van der Linden is delighted with the information. ‘Watching the training gives me a certain idea, but this data allows me to examine many more details and also to check if my impression is correct. This will hopefully enable us to further improve our game’. Van der Slikke is pleased that his research is being applied in practice: ‘I have been exploring the interaction between athlete and wheelchair for quite a while now. In time, we want to develop the ‘perfect wheelchair’. I think it’s great that my research can help the Dutch team directly in the run-up to the Paralympic Games!’

More information
Wheelchair measurements during the ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament: https://www.tudelft.nl/2017/tu-delft/tu-delft-meet-bewegingen-rolstoeltennissers-tijdens-abn-amro-world-wheelchair-tennis-tournament/
Rienk van der Slikke’s PhD: https://www.tudelft.nl/2018/tu-delft/delftse-sensoren-meten-topprestaties-in-de-rolstoelsport/ 

Rienk van der Slikke, R.M.A.vanderSlikke@hhs.nl, 06 18989641
Lenny Bakker (TU Delft Press Officer), L.Bakker-1@tudelft.nl, 06 44227176
Tournament organisers: pers@basketballexperience.nl