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A VU study comparing futsal and soccer skills is the only project to be chosen outside Europe for a prestigious research grant by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
VU researcher Luca Oppici will receive the equivalent of about $22,000 AUD to conduct a study as part of his PhD with the University's Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living ( ISEAL ).
His research is a first-time look at decision-making skills in the fast-paced five-a-side game of indoor futsal compared to the long-range 11-a-side game of soccer, or association football.
Futsal, invented as a training tool for football players in the 1930s, has developed a cult following as a sport in its own right in Latin America and Europe. It’s been credited with kicking off the skills of many of the world’s top footballers including Brazil’s legendary forward Ronaldinho and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
"The fast pace and short-range ground passing techniques of futsal build up skills in quick decision-making and precision in controlling the ball,” he explained.
Luca will evaluate this quick decision-making by studying the ‘gaze behaviour’ – or where players look and for how long – of an elite youth futsal squad in Spain, and comparing it to an elite group of young football players in Australia.
Over the coming months, he will record and collect data through special light-weight goggles with mounted cameras, with final results expected by March 2016.
“At this stage, I’m hypothesising that futsal players will be able to transfer their decision-making and technical skills to a soccer environment, and we can develop strategies to facilitate that transfer process,” he said.
Luca, who first came to Australia with his fiancée from Italy on a working holiday visa, has always played soccer. He said he is enthusiastic about examining it now through an academic perspective.
His PhD co-supervisor, Dr Fabio Serpiello, said Luca’s study was among only six projects selected this year from a record total of 52 applications from around the world for the 2015/16 UEFA Research Grant Programme.
Luca’s grant application was written with the support of his supervisor, Professor Damian Farrow, and his co-supervisors, Dr Derek Panchuk and Dr Serpiello.
His project is supported by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.
Jeff McMullen AM will deliver the annual Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture at CDU this month
Against what he describes as a “critical time in Aboriginal land rights history”, renowned journalist, author and filmmaker Jeff McMullen AM will deliver the 15th annual Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture at Charles Darwin University on Thursday, 6 August.
The lecture will focus on “Custodianship in the 21st Century” and will explore the Indigenous connection to country and pay homage to the wisdom of Vincent Lingiari.
At first a protest against poor wages and disrespectful treatment, the Wave Hill walk-off led by Indigenous elder Vincent Lingiari in 1966, became a landmark event in the struggle for Indigenous land rights.
“Custodianship is one of the foundational concepts of the intellectual knowledge system of all of the First Peoples of this land,” Mr McMullen said.
“As a senior lawman, Vincent Lingiari was drawing on his grandfather’s connection to Gurindji country, reclaiming and asserting this core responsibility.”
Mr McMullen said that the 1960s was a critical time for Aboriginal land rights, and that Australia was at a similar, critical time today.
“Not since the 1960s has so much been at stake for Aboriginal land rights,” he said. “In Canberra, constitutional change to recognise Indigenous Australians is being discussed, and land rights are fundamental to this.”
With a career spanning five decades, Mr McMullen has been a foreign correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reporter for Four Corners and Sixty Minutes, anchor of the 33-part series on ABC Television, Difference of Opinion, and host of forums on National Indigenous Television.
His recent documentaries have focussed on the human rights of the First Peoples, the impact of the NT Intervention and the chronic illnesses taking many lives.
As well as serving as a director of AIME and the Engineering Aid Australia Indigenous Summer School program, Mr McMullen worked for 14 years as honorary CEO of Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth, establishing early learning and the Literacy Backpack program in 22 remote communities. He was a foundation Trustee of the Jimmy Little Foundation.
The Vincent Lingiari Lecture is presented by Charles Darwin University, the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education, and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.
The event will begin at 6pm, with the lecture to commence at 7pm on Thursday, 6 August at the Casuarina campus amphitheatre. The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit: W: cdu.edu.au/indigenous-leadership/vincent-lingiari
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Rob and Sue Tucker … taking their training skills to Nepal.
Two long-term Charles Darwin University staffers have packed their bags for the Himalaya where they will spend their long-service leave as voluntary trainers in Nepalese mountain villages.
Alice Springs couple Rob and Sue Tucker described their impending four-month sojourn as a “holiday with a difference”.
“We’ll be taking up a short-term training opportunity that matches our skills as adult and vocational education trainers with some of their learning needs,” said Rob, the head of the automotive department at Alice Springs campus.
“I’ll deliver training in small engines, maintenance and general mechanical repairs to teenage boys in two or three orphanages,” he said.
“Sue will assist health and community development staff improve their word-processing, typing, report writing and IT skills.”
Based in the mid-western Nepalese city of Nepalgunj, the Tuckers will support two Christian organisations, the International Nepal Fellowship and the Maya Sadan Centre.
“Three years ago, when we were last there, we identified an opportunity to support the local community in passing on our skills,” Rob said.
“We found them to be a warm and welcoming people and we realised we had a desire to do something for them in terms of bettering their lifestyle.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have the resources, employment conditions and opportunity to do this; to give something back.”
It is the second trip to the tiny landlocked nation for Rob, and the third for Sue, a VET Developer who has worked for CDU in Alice Springs for the past 14 years.
“It’s a country that hits you in the face,” said Sue, who first visited 25 years ago.
“The incredibly bright clothes, the colourful foods in the markets, the smell of the food and the spices, it’s a place that affronts every sense.”
Rob and Sue said they were also looking forward to trekking in the Annapurna region, and possibly catching a glimpse of Mt Everest before their return to the Red Centre in the New Year.