Coordination is the ability to easily perform a movement in space by synchronously and smoothly combining muscle activations, joint motion, and strength. It is directly connected to the functionality of the central nervous system in the organization of motor movements and significantly determines the very quality of the movement and therefore performance.
Coordinative ability is not part of the conditional capabilities (strength, speed, mobility, and stamina) that determine the physical “condition” of the athlete, but instead greatly influences the sports movement: the training of technical fundamentals or a sports action is directed toward achieving the perfect union of muscular actions that have been enhanced by the training of the conditional capabilities.
The main elements involved in coordination are perceptive capabilities and coordination capabilities, but cognitive capabilities also play a significant role being expressed in the anticipation, in the motor imagination, and in the level of development of the motor scheme.
The perceptual capabilities can be divided into proprioceptive capabilities that thus collect stimuli from within the organism and exteroceptive capabilities that instead indicate the conditions of the external environment. For the development of the latter, the efficiency of the sense organs such as sight, hearing, tactile organs, but also smell and taste is very important.
Coordination capabilities are complex and can be distinguished by:
- adjustment of the reflexive movements; i.e. those instinctive, involuntary and rapid actions that the body performs under certain circumstances.
- oculomanual coordination; this intervenes when it is necessary to coordinate a movement of the hand with the information provided by sight.
- spacetime orientation; this allows the body to organize its actions based on space and time.
- ability to balance; i.e. those that allow the subject to maintain or recover a stable body position
- rhythmic capabilities; these enable making actions more harmonious, especially cyclical ones such as running;
- lateralization. This is the process by which some symmetrical parts of the body specialize in order to perform different but complementary functions (e.g. one foot kicks a ball, the other one stabilizes the body and ensures balance).
Having recognized the importance of coordination in sport, OptoJump and Gyko have numerous protocols that not only enable training it, but also evaluating it through objective data. When running and walking, the combined use of both instruments allows having indices that describe the coordination of the upper part of the trunk with respect to the lower part.
Coordination capabilities can also be monitored through jump protocols, by comparing the performance of tests that involve the use of the arms with that of tests that do not allow it.
Motor coordination is however influenced by environmental and psychic situations, so that in certain circumstances (excessive noise, psychic tension) an athlete may not be able to best perform actions that they would normally be able to perform. This is why it helps to train with WITTY SEM that enables simulating stress conditions by combining cognitive and motor tasks.