A three-dimensional analysis of hurdle and board takeoff techniques in gymnastic vaulting.

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Cao, Taiyong
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to provide general and detailed kinematic features in performing the hurdle and takeoff from the board among beginning, intermediate, and advanced gymnasts, to look for advanced techniques of executing the hurdle and board takeoff, to contribute to the improvement of gymnast vaulting theories and techniques, and to provide practical recommendations for gymnastics instructors.
Forty male and female gymnasts were selected for this study. The male subjects were from the beginning, intermediate, and advanced skill levels, while the female subjects were from the intermediate skill level only. Two synchronized cameras operating at the rate of 60 Hz per second were used in this study for a three-dimensional analysis. The video pictures were processed by using the Peak5 system.
The study results indicated that advanced gymnasts not only had significantly faster horizontal velocities than the less skilled gymnasts, but presented better ratios on the efficiency of horizontal velocity utilization during the hurdle and board takeoff. The efficiency was found by a significantly smaller angular displacement of the leg and a smaller vertical velocity at the hurdle foot takeoff, as well as by a lower hurdle flight angle and a lower hurdle flight height.
The advanced gymnasts had an average hurdle distance of 2.78 meters, which was significantly longer than that of the less skilled gymnasts. In addition, the advanced gymnasts finished the hurdle distance with significantly less time than the low-skilled gymnasts.
The advanced gymnasts also presented significantly faster relative movement of their arms and legs during the hurdle and board takeoff. They had a significantly shorter time during board contact. In addition, they coordinated their body segments better, and they took off from the board with significantly greater horizontal, vertical, and angular velocities than the low-skilled gymnasts.
It was concluded that the advanced gymnasts generally involved their arms, legs, and trunks more actively, more efficiently, and with better timing and coordination than the less-skilled gymnasts during the hurdle and board takeoff.