CHANGING A START-DIVE ELEMENT DOES NOT NECESSARILY IMPROVE A START BUT PRACTICE DOES

Fischer, S., & Kibele, A. (2010). Learning flat and pike entries during swim start from the block. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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This study examined the effects of feedback information (entry angle) on the dive-in performance in two groups: one instructed to perform a pike entry the other to perform a flat entry. Male elite swimmers (N = 10) performed five starts on four separate learning occasions. The starting performance was examined by the time elapsed between the start signal and the passage of the head at 7.5 m. After each start, Ss received feedback information about the entry angle (angular displacement of the interconnecting line: finger tip vs. hip joint to the horizontal alignment). Ss also were presented a slow motion video sequence of their take-off and dive-in behavior. For the flat entry, a entry angle of less than 35 was required. For the pike entry, Ss were asked to keep their entry angle above 40. The three best starts were included in the statistical analysis.

Both subgroups improved their starting performance significantly. Take-off angles were changed according to required entry angles. The flat-entry group improved the horizontal take-off velocity while no change in this parameter was observed for the pike entry group. However, the higher horizontal take-off velocity in the flat-entry group was associated with less pronounced horizontal velocity during dive-in. The opposite effect was true for the pike entry group.

Implication. When one aspect of a dive is emphasized it is highly possible that another aspect will be altered as a result of the change. Start-practice alone improved starting performance.

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