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Target-directed running in gymnastics: a preliminary exploration of vaulting
journal contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Liz BradshawLiz Bradshaw
Research to date has demonstrated the importance of running speed and an accurate take-off on gymnastics vaulting performance (Krug et al., 1998; Bohne et al., 2000). Current training practice for gymnastics vaulting is to stereotype the 15-25 m run-ups to the board, which assumes that a fast and reliable approach is best controlled predominantly without visual feedback. Incidences where gymnasts make errors during their run-ups, often landing onto the back of the board, occur frequently, even at the international level. The standard deviation method (e.g. Lee et al., 1982) for identifying visual regulation in long jump run-ups was employed in this first exploration of gymnastics vaulting to examine whether visual regulation processes are utilised. Secondly, the question of how a small number of gymnasts can run fast during the approach and perform more difficult vaults was addressed. Five elite female gymnasts aged 13-15 years performed five round-off entry vaults. One panning 50 Hz video camera recorded each trial from an elevated platform to evaluate the approach step, hurdle, and round-off characteristics, whilst two 250 Hz cameras recorded vaulting performance. Two qualified judges viewed each vaulting trial and provided a performance score. A precursor for a fast take-off from the board when vaulting is to utilise vision early to control the approach kinematics (p = 0.02). High take-off velocity was directly related to judge's score (p = 0.03). Coaches need to supplement gymnasts' vault training to include exercises that improve the gymnasts' ability to visually regulate their gait pattern whilst running.