TARGET-DIRECTED RUNNING IN GYMNASTICS: THE ROLE OF THE SPRINGBOARD POSITION AS AN INFORMATIONAL SOURCE TO REGULATE HANDSPRINGS ON VAULT T. Heinen, D. Jeraj, M. Thoeren, P.M. Vinken Biol Sport 2011; 28(4):215-221 ICID: 965480
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 10.06
Abstract provided by Publisher
Empirical evidence highlights the role of visual information to control gymnastics vaulting and thus neglects a stereotyped approach run. However, there is no evidence on which informational source this regulation is based on. The aim of this study was to examine the position of the springboard as an informational source in the regulation of the handspring on vault. The hypothesis tested was that the action of running towards the springboard brings about changes in the approach run kinematics and handspring kinematics that relate directly to the position of the springboard. Therefore, kinematics of N = 14 female expert gymnasts’ handsprings on vault and their approach runs were examined while manipulating the position of the springboard. The results revealed that expert gymnasts placed their feet on average in the same position on the springboard and adapted to the springboard position during the last three steps of the approach run. A smaller springboard distance to the front edge of the vaulting table resulted in a different hand placement on the vaulting table, a shorter first flight phase, a take-off angle closer to 90° and a longer second flight phase. Findings suggest that the position of the springboard is a relevant informational source in gymnastics vaulting. We state that knowledge about relationships between informational sources in the environment and the resulting regulatory processes in athletes may help coaches to develop specific training programmes in order to optimize performance in complex skills.