The contribution of hip and shoulder mechanics to the success of Kovacs.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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The inclusion of difficult flight elements is necessary during gymnastics high bar competitions to score well. Gymnastic skills are classified into seven categories by the FIG (A-easiest to F-most difficult); A-skills potentially earn the gymnast 0.1 points and F-skills potentially earn the gymnast 0.6 points. The tucked Kovacs is classified as a'D' level skill and was the most frequently performed skill during the Sydney Olympic high bar final, followed by the straight Kovacs ('E' level). Despite the frequency with which Kovacs are performed in lnternational competition the absence of relevant scientific and coaching literature on Kovacs suggests a lack of understanding of the skill. Based on previous research the main aim of the study was to assess the contribution of hip and shoulder mechanics to the release parameters and success of the tucked and straight Kovacs. A secondary aim to determine whether an elite gymnast increases his effort during later rounds of competition is also included. The overall purpose was to provide quantitative analysis of the Kovacs skills to allow for their further development. Eight gymnasts were filmed performing 20 Kovacs (10 tucked & 10 straight) on high bar at the 2000 Sydney Olympics using 2 synchronised 50 Hz digital camcorders. The reconstructed data (3D DLT) was combined with customised inertia parameters to define discrete release parameters including release angle, horizontal and vertical velocity and angular momentum about the mass centre. Joint angular kinematics at the hips and shoulders were analysed focusing on displacement during their functional phase. Joint kinetics were estimated using a toe up inverse dynamic method (Kenuin & lrwin, 2006) and expressed in terms of the gymnast's angular position. Non-significant (p < .05) negative correlation was established between tucked Kovacs score and release angular momentum so that gymnasts with low angular momentum at release are required to tuck tighter in somersault. Release angular momentum was also correlated with straight Kovacs score so that when releasing with greater angular momentum the gymnast remains straighter during somersault. A complex multifaceted nature of release parameters was attributed for the lack of more correlation between release parameters and Kovacs score.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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