MATCHING TECHNOLOGY TO COACHING NEEDS

  • Cynthia L. TANT

Abstract

The biomechanist uses sophisticated and expensive instrumentation to produce quantitative data in the area of sport technique. The coach uses the naked eye to provide a qualitative description of a particular sport movement. Excellent research on sport technique is published in refereed journals but not modified to assist the coach in its interpretation. Technique errors in the coaching literature indicate a need to disseminate the research data in a format in which the coach may use to help the performer. A coach with a solid understanding of the biomechanical basis of a particular skill and the ability to evaluate that skill can modify the technique for maximum benefit and reduction of injury. If the biomechanist and coach are going to communicate for the benefit of the performer, a number of concerns must be addressed. First, the biomechanist must be willing to translate the acquired research findings into appropriate terminology for the coach to understand. Secondly, the coach must be willing to learn new and more effective ways for producing successful results. Lastly, all parties concerned must use this acquired knowledge for the benefit of the performer. Several successful cooperative programs have appeared in the past several years. Miller (1993) presented the use of analysis software with instructional modules to assist the coach with understanding the mechanics of motion. Smith and Spinks (1989) developed an on-water data collection system to provide immediate feedback to the coach to determine flaws in force production of the rower. Jarvis and Marshall ( 1987) used data from a single and double flyaway from the high bar for a simulation procedure that predicted the variations in biomechanical parameters at release and in flight that must occur for a triple somersault to be performed. Tant and Wilkerson (1989) found that extremely large ground reaction forces of young gymnast landings could be reduced if the subject was able to see the results on a computer screen. Biomechanists have already been providing ways to enhance technique development, reduce stress placed on the body, and design equipment for the individual performer. However, if we as biomechanists are to be a viable force in athletic endeavours we must share the results and work together with the coach so performance at all levels, from the elite to the disabled, can be improved.
Section
Coaching and Sports Activities