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Title: Adaptation to change in task constraints in flutter kicking
Author: Li, Shuping
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the process of adaptation to change in task constraints, in particular, the presence or absence of flippers in swimming. Nine male competitive age group swimmers with at least one year of training for competition were recruited as subjects. The hypotheses were both supported with respect to the movement pattern remaining appropriate for task achievement as indicated by the fundamental criteria. That is, the adaptation of skilled swimmers from a familiar task constraint environment (kicking without flippers) to a second familiar task constraint environment (foot flippers) or to the same familiar task with an unfamiliar task constraint environment (leg flippers) and back to kicking without flippers, is very rapid. Although the system adapted very rapidly to changed task constraints in terms of the general movement pattern, continued ‘exploration’ was required to optimize performance under the new conditions. This involved changing parameters such as frequency of the kicking motion to suit the fluid environment in which the task was being performed, while retaining the predominantly sinusoidal undulations with appropriate phase relationships between the undulations. A quicker optimization by the foot flipper group than the leg flipper group is logically attributable to the fact that the constraint environment was familiar in the case of the foot flipper condition but unfamiliar in the case of the leg flipper condition. Human movement systems can adjust very rapidly to unfamiliar task constraints in the task of kicking in swimming when the system ‘knows’, from previous learning to a high level of skill, the fundamental movement pattern required for skilled performance. However, rapid adaptation to produce an appropriate movement response does not preclude continued improvement through further ‘exploration’ to ‘fine tune’ to the changed environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available