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Dr Alexandra Atack

Senior Lecturer - Biomechanics and Performance Analysis

Dr Alexandra Atack

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4319


Alexandra is a Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics having joined St Mary’s University in 2011 as a Graduate Assistant. Over this time, she completed a PhD entitled ‘The Biomechanics of Rugby Place Kicking’ and has acted as both the Programme Director for the BSc Sport Science and MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Biomechanics programmes. She led the design and validation of the MSc which started in September 2020, as well as contributing significantly to the revalidation of the BSc in Sport and Exercise Science. Her primary teaching responsibilities are on the Biomechanics and Research Methods modules across these two programmes as well as assisting on the MSc in Strength and Conditioning.




Alexandra’s research interests are centred around the biomechanics of sports techniques, with a particular focus on kicking and striking skills. She has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Society of Biomechanics in Sport (2020-2022) and has shared her research at both International Conferences and in peer-reviewed journals, receiving awards for the work (International Society of Biomechanics in Sport, New Investigator’s Award 2017, Oral Presentation 2nd place).

Her expertise is in 3D motion analysis of sport, combining kinematic and kinetic analyses to fully understand how sporting performance is achieved. Previously she has provided biomechanical support to both England Rugby and Harlequins Academy.

She currently supervises 2 PhD students, has supervised 6 MRes projects and acts as a subject-specialist on a number of other projects. Current research activities include:

  • The use of wearable technology for measuring biomechanical characteristics of running.
  • Addressing the soft feet analogy: an examination of landing kinetics between Parkour and rugby union academy athletes.
  • The effect of maturation and skill development on the biomechanics of rugby kicking in academy rugby union athletes.
  • The effect of fatigue on rugby place kicking technique and performance.
  • Modification of characteristics associated with the noncontact knee injury mechanism in adult recreational netball players: a mixed-methods approach.
  • Validation of accelerometers for load monitoring in ballet dancers.

In the future she wishes to explore the use of simulation modelling to investigate the potential efficacy of training interventions to improve performance, with a view to informing coaching practice. Her research profile can be viewed on ResearchGate.

Grant Funding

International Society of Biomechanics in Sport Internship Grant (€2000, Awarded June 2020). Grand awarded to support a student intern to complete a research project entitled ‘The effect of fatigue on rugby place kicking technique and performance’ for a period of 8 weeks.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Mullally, E. M., Atack, A. C., Glaister, M., & Clark, N. C. (2021). Situations and mechanisms of non-contact knee injury in adult netball: A systematic review. Physical Therapy in Sport.

Atack, A. C., Trewartha, G., & Bezodis, N.E. (2019). A joint kinetic analysis of rugby place kicking technique to understand why kickers achieve different performance outcomes. Journal of Biomechanics.

Atack A., Trewartha G., & Bezodis, N.E. (2019). Assessing rugby place kick performance from initial ball flight kinematics: development, validation and application of a new measure. Sports Biomechanics.

Bezodis, N. E., Atack, A., Wilmott, A. P, Callard, J. E. B., & Trewartha, G. (2019). The kicking foot swing plane in rugby place kicking: differences between accurate and inaccurate kickers. European Journal of Sports Sciences.

Atack, A., Bezodis, N. E., Nunome, H., & Shusei, S. (2019). The biomechanics of rugby place kicking - a narrative review. Journal of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Atack, A. C., Trewartha, G., & Bezodis, N. E. (In Preparation). Physical characteristics and approach towards the ball limit range in rugby place kickers.

Atack, A. C., Trewartha, G., & Bezodis, N. E. (In Preparation). The role of the support leg on the transfer of energy and performance of rugby place kicking.

Book Chapters

Bezodis, N., Atack, A., & Winter, S. (2017). The biomechanics of place kicking in Rugby Union. In H. Nunome, E. Hennig, & N. Smith (Eds.), Football Biomechanics (Chapter 3).

Invited Presentations

Pint of Science (May 2020 - Postponed due to COVID) - How to take the perfect penalty kick.

Sports Biomechanics Lecture Series (April 2020) - Rugby Place Kicking Biomechanics. (Available to view online at

Conference of the World Rugby Science Network (2017) - Understanding differences in place kicking technique: Implications for performance and training. (Available to view online at

Selected Conference Communications

International Society of Biomechanics in Sports Annual Conference (2020) - ‘The effect of representative task design on ground reaction forces produced by adolescent rugby players’.

World Congress of Science and Football (2019) - ‘Support leg mechanics in rugby place kicking’. (Oral presentation)

International Society of Biomechanics in Sports Annual Conference (2017) - ‘The differences in rugby place kick technique between successful and less successful kickers’. (Oral presentation)

International Society of Biomechanics in Sports Annual Conference (2015) - ‘Development and evaluation of a method to quantify rugby place kick performance from initial ball flight data’. (Mini oral presentation)

International Society of Biomechanics in Sports Annual Conference (2014) - ‘A biomechanical analysis of the kicking leg during a rugby place kick’ (Oral presentation)

External Examination

External Examiner for PhD entitled ‘Coordination of place kicking in Rugby Union’ (University of Stellenbosch, 2020).

Internal Examiner for PhD Confirmation Review entitled ‘Biomechanics and motor control during the initial sprint acceleration of professional rugby union players’ (University of Surrey, 2018).


Media enquiries

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