The study assessed the manifestation of a regulated locomotion pattern while clearing the first two hurdles during running. In addition, the effect of a hurdles’ learning design, using specific activities and manipulated task constraints, on regulation strategies and kinematic reorganization was examined. Pre- and posttests were conducted. Twenty-four young athletes were randomly assigned into an experimental and a control group, and performed 18 training sessions, consisting of a hurdle-based intervention for experimental participants and a more generalized athletics training for control participants. Different footfall variability curves were recorded, suggesting that young athletes regulated locomotion pattern to clear the hurdles according to their needs. Task-specific training contributed to lower values of variability for the entire approach run and to functional movement reorganization, affording learners to take-off further from the hurdle with a higher horizontal velocity, leading to a more flat hurdle clearance stride and to a significant hurdle running performance improvement.
Flora Panteli, Apostolos Theodorou, and Athanasia Smirniotou
Athanasia Smirniotou, Flora Panteli, and Apostolos Theodorou
The study examined to what extent the manipulation of hurdle height (0.76-m hurdle, low hurdle 0.50 m, and white stripe) would affect visual regulation strategies and kinematic reorganization when approaching the first hurdle. In addition, the impact of constraints as a training tool in terms of creating movement patterns functional for and representative of competitive movement models was assessed. The approach phase to the first hurdle of 13 physical education students with no previous experience in hurdling was video recorded and analyzed. Emergence of different footfall variability curves and movement coordination patterns suggests that participants interact differently with features of the performance context. Contrary to the white stripe, the hurdle height required participants to initiate regulation and distribute adjustments over a larger number of steps, and afforded the preparation for takeoff in order to clear the hurdle. In task design, manipulation of task constraints should offer valuable information regarding the dynamics of movement.
Flora Panteli, Charilaos Tsolakis, Dimitris Efthimiou, and Athanasia Smirniotou
This study examined the contribution of instructional self-talk and observational learning on the development of long jump technique. Sixty-nine beginner athletes were randomly assigned to four groups: ‘self-talk’, ‘video’, ‘self-talk + video’ and control group. All groups performed 24 practice sessions, consisting of a cognitive intervention program in the form of either instructional self-talk or observational learning, or a combination of both, and the practice of specific drills. A significantly higher performance improvement was recorded for the self-talk group in post test, whereas when kinematic variables of the motor skill (center of mass displacement) were assessed, “observational learning” proved to be more effective. The findings of the current study suggest that young, beginner athletes, participating in complicated tasks, may benefit from cognitive intervention techniques, through enhanced attentional focus on the most critical elements of the motor skill.