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Articles    H3'ed 11/28/09

Template Feedback of Athletic Force and Movement Patterns

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Ski instructors were first fitted with a monitor in each boot. The audio output for certain ski movements was recorded. This was used as an audio signature for those movements. The signature was given as a template to the beginner, novice and intermediate skiers. They memorized the template and learned that it was the sound they were to aim at reproducing with the correct sounding audio signature, they also used it as a template for themselves.
Once the audio pattern of the template is learned, the matching process is a cognitive one. This helps focus attention on key movement and pressure shift vectors, and this way, errors re transduced into sounds which provide extra information the athlete can use to correct movement strategies.

Results: For all skiers, it was possible, using the audio template, to simulate skiing motion indoors. It was found that the template produced by the instructors is easily reporduced in the living room or lodge. Then, when attempted outdoors, under the much more stressful conditions on the slope, template matching becomes more difficult. When the skier's movements produce the audio match to the template, the skier experiences a deja-vu like feeling, since the indoor practice is fially experienced in-vivo.

Instructors and skiers at all levels report tht they found the feedback useful, though the use of the feedback varied considerably among the different skill ranges. The instructors reported that for themselves, the feedback "kept them honest," reminding them when they didn't maintain the proper pattern of pressure shifting and timing. They used the feedback to fine-tune their movements.

Beginners and novices found the indoor simulation to be valuable. Instructors working with the less skilled groups would also wear a feedback to fine-tune monitor, and would model movements, at the same time pointing out the audio templates the beginners should look for.
Intermediate skiers reported that the feedback was very helpful in correcting bad habits and in understanding what their errors were. They also used the template of the instructor to improve their overall movement.

Discussion: The idea of template training has previously been applied clinically for facial muscle rehabilitation and speech therapy. The equipment used in this study was designed originally for use in physical rehabilitative medicine. The potential for the use of template training in athletics, industry, and anywhere that patterns of behavior can be transduced is very large.
Further study and quantitative analysis needs to be done on basic template patterns, their reproducibility, effect on learning, and the effects of individual differences. It seems though, that force and movement feedback will be less affected by individual differences (musculoskeletal) than muscle action template pattern feedback.
Other transducers, such as joint angle monitors, and strain gauges (to monitor suponation/pronation) and other display modes should also be evaluated.

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One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them. I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in (more...)

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