BIOMECHANICS OF CANOE SLALOM: MEASURING TECHNIQUES AND DIAGNOSTIC POSSIBILITIES

  • J. Sperlich
  • J. Klauck

Abstract

Until now very few reports exist about research on biomechanics of wild water canoe slalom. Experiments have been caried out under laboratory conditions only sporadically. Experts often believe that results in wildwater races are determined more ´by accident than by physical reguliarities applied by the athlete's technique. A closer look to this type of sport shows that there are possibilities to dissolve the activities of the athlete into reproducible parts taking place under defined external conditions. So the basis of a biomechanical investigation is given. This study describes the first steps to t scientific treatment in terms of mechanical parameters as already applied in rowing or in flatwater canoeing. Measurements have been taken about the forces transmitted to the water via the athlete's paddling actions and of the acceleration of the canoe viewing the effects generated bz the measured forces. Additionally, video pictures were taken in order to get an information about the canoe position relative to the gates and during the turning manoeuvres. The force measuring equipment consisted of a strain gauge system attached to the paddle, registrating the bending movements of each side. Acceleration was measured using an accelerometer fixed to the canoe. Additional systems:bridge amplifier, analogue amplifier and a two-channel cassette recording system, bearing a total weight of not more than 500 grams were carried along with the canoe. so the athlete was not influenced by the measuring equipment and could perform his technique without limitations. It is shown that forces and accelerations measured during wild water canoe racing can give information about the basic movement technique, force development and endurance capabilities of the athlete. Especially, the technique of passing different types of gates can be studies.