Scientists crack the Wilko code

LONDON: Top scientists believe they have come up with the secret to Jonny Wilkinson's success as a kicker. 

The answer: KP = CSP - (EnC(s+w+r+yn) + PsS(cr+sc+mt+xn) + PhS(cxtxw). 

No wonder Wilkinson, set to play a pivotal role in his team's World Cup semi-final clash against France in Sydney today, has been looking so dumbfounded all week. 

The formula was devised by QinetiQ, a science and technology research organisation based in England after examining videos of the fly-half's phenomenonal kicking ability. 

KP stands for kicking prowess while CSP is for Closed Skill Performance, worked out by calculating Wilkinson's angle of approach to the ball, the speed of his run-up, his foot and ball placement and his kicking leg velocity. 

The Environmental Conditions (EnC) = Playing Surface + Wind + Rain + Other Factors (yn). 

The Psychological State (PsS) = Anxiety Produced by the Crowd + Score + Match Time + Other Factors (xn) 

The Physical/Physiological Status (PhS) = Fatigue as a Factor of Time + Work Load. 

According to the experts, the key to any sporting performance is the ability to control CSP while taking into account external factors - known as Sci-Q. 

“Our best athletes use their Sci-Q to achieve amazing feats and push forward the boundaries of our physical capabilities all the time, while scientists put it to great use in their laboratories,” said Dr Mike Harrison who commissioned the work. 

John Parkinson, Chief Executive of Wilkinson's club Newcastle, said he was delighted by the formula. 

“We whole heartedly applaud the initiative undertaken by QinetiQ to understand what lies behind Jonny's amazing conversion kicks. I hope it will encourage young Britons to be more aware of the importance of science and encourage them to strive for similar accomplishments.” – AFP 

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