Coordination ability means an ability to quickly and purposefully perform difficult spatio-temporal movement structures. Within this context, coordination abilities are understood as an externally visible manifestation of the control and regulation processes of the motor activity of the central nervous system. The complex of coordination abilities consists of a group of basic coordination abilities.
Basic coordination abilities:
Adaptive ability enables modifications of motor activity ob the basis of comparison or anticipation of new or changing conditions during performing motor activity.
Balance ability is understood as an ability to keep body or its parts in a relatively stable position.
Combinatory ability is understood as an ability to simultaneously put partial movements together into more complex movement structures.
Kinesthetic diferentiation ability means an ability to realize kinematic and dynamic features of movement.
Orientation ability is an ability to realize position of the body or its parts in space and time.
Rhytm ability enables to grasp and motorircally express rhythm which which is externally determined or contained in the motor activity itself.
Coordination abilities and affecting them are of twofold importance in sports:
- their higher levels are a value in itself (a “skillful” individual is capable of better reactions to the need of changing the movement, its variability, speed or the speed with which the movement is performed)
- developing them is a precondition for the quality of technical preparation (a good level of coordination abilities enables faster and better acquiring of sports skills)
The difference between technical preparation and development of coordination abilities:
- technical preparation aims at perfection, technical mastery of a limited number of required motor skills, their automation and stability control
- stimulating coordination abilities consists in being introduced to many motor activities, whereas perfect mastery is not the aim, the aim being only a certain degree of automation
Sensitive period for developing coordination is between 5 and 6 years of age (qualitative features grow: economy, fluency, precision) and around the age of 12; the highest values of agility indicators can be reached between 17 and 20 years of age.
Developing coordination abilities includes:
- broadening motor experience (e.g. headstand or beating a rhythm with the right hand),
- further, on the basis of already acquired motor experience, creating new original movement structure through the process of putting together mastered movements into more complex units (e.g. handstand, beating a different rhythm with the right and left hands)
- performing movements in new changed conditions which require new creative problem solution (e.g. a sequence of handstand – forward roll or beating a changing rhythm with the right and left hands)
Specialized training negatively affects development of new movements (due to focusing on a limited number of motor skills which are the contents on selected sports specialization.
Principles and Procedures in Training Coordination Abilities
More demanding coordinatio exercises (activities requiring the activity of a bigger number of muscles, various movemets of both the body and limbs, moves in different directions and along different axles) are used for coordinatio abilities development. Mastered exercises are performed under chaning conditions because automated skills do not lead to further development of coordination abilities.
A variation can be reached by:
- faster or slower performance
- change of rhythm
- making the work-out space smaller
- limitig or eliminating visual control
- making the ground of support smaller
- exercising “under pressure” (in limited time)
- asymmetric movements
- mirror movements
- mastered skills are combined and connected
- full concentration, precision and rhythm are focused on
- the contents of motor activity and its difficulty is stressed and dominant
- fewer repetitions are used (reason: fatique decreases efficiency of stimulation)
- they are scheduled for the beginning of a training session
The wider the motor contents of a sports discipline is and the more complicated and faster locomotioin is (relocating in space) and the more difficult, faster and complex manipulation with tools or devices is (movemets of upper limbs), the bigger the requirements for coordination are.
Selecting exercises in practice:
- acrobatic exercises (rolls, take-offs, skips, linked exercises)
- exercises with apparatus (rotation exercises, shapes)
- exercises with tools (skipping ropes, balls, cones, coordination ladder, bosu )
- stride variantions
- exercises related to overcoming hurdles (slalom tracks, hurdle tracks)
- minor resistance excercises