Competitive swimming entails contesting and increasing speeds (Everett, 2015). Consequently, elite swimmers strive to enhance their aerobic capacity and hone their race strategies. Other technical aspects of swimming include starting and turning at the wall (Veiga & Roig, 2017). Inspirited swimming, relay starts are swifter than starts from a standstill position, which are commonly referred to as “flat” starts (Everett, 2015). These observations are attributed to the fact that the swimmer needs to stay still and pay attention to the anchor’s voice in an individual race. Conversely, in a relay contest, the diver can predict the start by estimating the speed of the former swimmer towards the wall, which allows them to step into the dive (Everett, 2015). Reaction times determine the dive and play a significant role in the overall performance of the swimmer (Veliz, Requena, Suarez-Arrones, Newton, & de Villarreal, 2014). Muscle strength and power are known to confer benefits to elite swimmers (Issurin, 2016).
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Motor control refers to the coordination of the central nervous system with the environment to generate precise motor movements (Schmidt & Lee, 2011). Exercise enhances the aerobic capacity of athletes and augments muscle strength (Issurin, 2016). However, there is little evidence to ascertain that exercise has favorable outcomes on reaction times for elite swimmers (Issurin, 2016; Veiga & Roig, 2017). There is a need to investigate the impact of physical activity on the motor performance skills of elite swimmers regarding reaction times. Also, since studies show that the reaction times in “flat” starts differ substantially from relay times (Issurin, 2016; Veiga & Roig, 2017), it is necessary to determine the influence of physical exercise on the two reactions times.
The objective of this study is to investigate the impact of short-term physical activities on the motor performance skills of young adults. It is hypothesized that the participants’ motor performance skills will improve with an increase in physical activity.
The study will involve a total of 30 subjects who will be divided into three groups (control and two levels of intervention) of 10 each. All subjects will be between the age of 18 and 24 years.
Data Collection Tools
Tripod stand, camera, and Logger Pro software (Everett, 2015).
The control group will undertake 15 minutes of moderate physical activity on a daily basis, whereas the first intervention group will undergo 30 minutes of physical activity every day. The second control group will undergo 45 minutes of physical activity daily. Observation of motor control skills will be conducted over a period of 30 days. The swimming reaction times will be compared between the two groups at the end of the study period.
Measurement of reaction times
Swimming reaction times will be determined through video analysis (Everett, 2015). A camera will be set up on a tripod stand to capture the starting slab and the first 5 yards of the swimming lane and shoot at 30 frames per second (Everett, 2015). This length will be sufficient to observe the entire dive. To introduce variability in the investigation, swimmers in each category will perform 5 flat starts followed by 5 relay starts within 30 minutes (Everett, 2015). For flat starts, the anchor will wave a hand in front of the camera and say “go” simultaneously to initiate the time count for reaction times (Everett, 2015). Conversely, the time count for relay starts will start when the next swimmer’s hand makes contact with the wall.
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Logger Pro Analysis
The movie files from the camera will be input into Logger Pro to facilitate frame-by-frame viewing (Everett, 2015). The position of a distinct point of the swimsuit will be recorded with each frame. The reaction time will be computed by finding the quotient of the number of frames between the hand signal and the subject’s feet exiting the starting block (Everett, 2015).
One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be used to compare the impact of physical activity on the motor skills (as measured by reaction times) of the participants.
Everett, M. (2015). Swimming starts A comparison of relay and individual racing dive reaction time, speed, and distance. Web.
Issurin, V. B. (2016). Benefits and limitations of block periodized training approaches to athletes’ preparation: A review. Sports Medicine, 46(3), 329-338.
Schmidt, R. A., & Lee, T. D. (2011). Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Veiga, S., & Roig, A. (2017). Effect of the starting and turning performances on the subsequent swimming parameters of elite swimmers. Sports Biomechanics, 16(1), 34-44.
Veliz, R. R., Requena, B., Suarez-Arrones, L., Newton, R. U., & de Villarreal, E. S. (2014). Effects of 18-week in-season heavy-resistance and power training on throwing velocity, strength, jumping, and maximal sprint swim performance of elite male water polo players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(4), 1007-1014.