Constraints of Load and Posture on Coordination Variability and Marksmanship Performance

in Motor Control
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The purpose of this study was to assess the establishment of dynamic marksmanship performance under different load and postural configurations. Participants quickly established two postures (forward and high targets) under head, trunk, and extremity loads during marksmanship performance. With the dynamic establishment of posture, load disrupted coordinative dynamics, resulting in reduced speed and accuracy on target. Specifically, torso loads increased segmental variability while establishing posture, and smaller head and upper extremity loads extended quieting time before firing. Increased head extension at the high target further destabilized posture, with reduced accuracy across all loads. Large torso loads reduced the adaptability to modulate postural fluctuations at the foot center of pressure while establishing postures for marksmanship, as evidenced by reductions in center of pressure variability. This study expands traditional static marksmanship research, providing insight into relations between task performance, coordinative variability, and postural control while dynamically establishing precision postures.

Palmer and van Emmerik are with the Sensory-Motor Control Lab, Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA.

Palmer (epocpalm@gmail.com) is corresponding author.

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