THE IDENTIFICATION OF GRAB START START COORDINATION DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLUB AND NATIONAL SWIMMERS
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Coordination in sports activities has been acknowledged as fundamental in the achievement of successful performance. A poor organisation of the structures involved in movement patterns can result in performers not reaching their full athletic potential. The quantification of joint couplings has never been identified in the grab start. The aim of this study is to compare coordination of joint couplings during the grab start between club swimmers and national swimmers. Three national level swimmers and four club level swimmers performed five grab starts, sprinting to ten metres. Joint coordination couplings of the ankle-knee, knee-hip, and hip-shoulder were measured using a vector coding technique to give an insight into possible differences between the two groups. The results indicated performance differences with national swimmers having a shorter block time (P=0.01), a longer flight time (P=0.006), and a shorter time to ten metres (P=0.002) when compared to club swimmers. Within the coordination results, a significant difference was identified in ankle-knee coupling in the block phase (P=0.04) with the national swimmers adopting a mean in-phase movement (57.46°) and club swimmers adopting a mean distal strategy (82.39°). No significant differences were identified in all the other couplings (P>0.05). Significant differences were also identified in ankle-knee block (P=0.044), flight (P=0.046) and overall movement (P=0.028) when measuring the amount of inter-point random variation of the phasing within the dive start movement. The results suggest the ankle-knee joint coupling plays an important role in the grab start and could affect how jumping ability can be transferred to the horizontal dive movement. Furthermore, a faster visual alteration of ankle kinematics within the block phase identifies the possibility of national swimmers taking full advantage of their preparation phase by orientating their body into a more effective take off position. As of this, it is suggested that national swimmers have the opportunity to create an efficient and effective impulse phase in caparison to club swimmers. To further test this, coordination and kinematic data in future research needs to be looked alongside specific force data to identify how group differences in preparation phases may influence the effectiveness of impulse phases within the grab start movement
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