Algorithmization of flexibility test in gymnastics

Algorithmization of flexibility test in gymnastics


S.N. Pozhidaev, associate professor, Ph.D.
Rostov-on-Don institute of physical culture and sport (branch of KubSUPCST), Rostov-on-Don

Key words: flexibility tests, innovation design, new characteristics, innovation constructions and patterns.

Introduction. The contemporary situation in mass physical education, recreational and sports training makes high demands to the quality of control of the training process. Meanwhile, little attention is paid to motor tests and testing procedure. It concerns flexibility tests included in the sets of conditioning and special fitness tests, health and “president’s tests.

The study suggests one of the ways of solution of the issue of enhancement of control systems in the work of sports teachers.

The purpose of the study was to design the innovation project “Flexibility tests of the second generation” in gymnastics.

Organization of research. The study held in 2008-2012 involved full-time and extramural students of Rostov-on-Don institute of physical culture and sport (RIPCS), specializing in “gymnastics” (n>80) and members of Rostov budget fitness clubs (n>20).

Results of research. During the simulation in compliance with the designed methodology the generating practical and scientific problems of the pedagogical object "Flexibility tests" in gymnastics was modified from the state "Flexibility testing procedures", which can be described as tests of the first generation, to the state of the innovation project "Flexibility tests of the second generation". It should be noted that the proposed methodology is in line with post-positivism and verifies the theoretical scientific statements, checking them for validity, comparing with the observed objects, sensory data and experiment. The innovative design methodology includes the following phases: goal-setting, actual innovative design, implementation, introduction, quality control [5].

Thus, during goal-setting based on the methods of analysis of literary sources and observations we investigated the subject area "Flexibility testing procedures", which are used in mass physical education and in fitness and sports training in gymnastics. Traditionally, the following requirements-properties are made to the first generation of tests: information value and reliability, regularity and availability of appraisal plan [8].

Meanwhile, modernization of flexibility tests has different areas: increase of information value [2], reliance on physiological potencies of articular apparatus (test deflection) [3], reliability [4]; musculoskeletal health fixation [1], as well as pain syndrome to prevent injuries [9]; estimation of special fitness: registration of ability to perform some action; development of the goniometric method and techniques [6], use of computer-based automation systems to improve accuracy of motion control, etc.

During the research we have formulated new requirements and characteristics that improve the quality of flexibility tests, and accordingly new directions for modification: increasing convenience and accuracy of measurement; changing from radial to linear measurements; considering the ethical component of measurement; considering morphological characteristics; ability to use computer technology; ability to use technological effectiveness in the system of management of training process; obtaining high-quality diagnostic and prognostic information; lack of mass expensive "naturalistic" surveys.

At the phase of actually innovative design we used the "generation" kind of innovative design to achieve the defined requirements, presupposing consistent modernization of the educational object via innovations, by adding new functions and improving characteristics and thus - transition from one generation to another. Here the integrity of the ideal educational object "Flexibility tests" and its subsequent differentiation into innovations - practically centered aspects: organizational, conceptual and technological, were reconstructed.

Thus, conceptually flexibility control is traditionally formulated as a measure of mobility, range of motion in joints, and in the organizational aspect the testing paradigmatics involves selection of an array of tests - making tests - fixing the acquired information - interpretation of results based on scorecards – conclusion making. We have made the ​​innovative modernization of this paradigmatics.

Considering the first step of testing - selection of tests, within the validity perspective we offer the adaptive system of "Flexibility tests", in which a specific "range" is selected in accordance with the designation and the situation of their use. Here a "line" of tests was developed, arranged as follows: joints (major - shoulder and hip, spine; additional - wrist and ankle, elbow and knee, cervical spine) - movement (back and forth, sideways and rotation) - flexibility type (active, passive and special, static and dynamic, etc.) - tasks (various specific movements). It should be noted that thus the conceptual aspect of a modified educational object is set, along with the supported requirement of standardization of tests.

Packages of the flexibility test “line” are offered, consisting mainly of static exercises:

  • “basic” - contains tasks for major joints: spine, shoulder and hip (bent forward, recovery over head, lateral split);
  • “basic correction” – tasks for major joints for active and passive flexibility (bent forward standing and sitting; recovery over head with a grip of a measuring tape and without it; lateral split sitting and lying flat on back);
  • “basic advanced” – includes tasks for major joints, but with back and forth moves (bent forward and backward, crab posture; recovery over head and lifting hands back; lateral and circle splits on any leg);
  • “basic advanced corrective”  – tasks for main joints with movements back and forth for active and passive flexibility (bent forward standing and sitting, back to the crab posture and crab posture in face down position; recovery over head with a grip of a measuring tape and without it, arm pulling backwards in back sitting position and standing; circle and lateral splits sitting and lying flat on back);
  • “additional” – includes tasks for additional joints - wrist and ankle, elbow and knee, cervical spine;
  • “additional advanced" - replenishes tasks for additional joints, but with different movements (back and forth, sideways and rotation);
  • “special” – includes tasks of specific flexibility exercises for sport or professional activity;
  • “special advanced” - complements the previous package with various movements (back and forth, sideways and rotation) .

(Corrective versions are being developed for "additional" and "additional advanced", "special" and "special advanced" packages, which need a certain amount of design and research).

Moving to the second step of the test - the organizational aspect of the educational object, - actual testing, we can say that most frequently the amplitude of body part movements is measured in the corners, certain touch or distance in centimeters to the floor or a subject. We suggest the innovation: the predominant measurement of the distance relative to arms and legs in centimeters with records of additional morphological parameters (height, arm and leg, body length, shoulder and pelvis width, etc.). Thus we change from radial to linear measurements, the usability and accuracy of measurement of the test is enhanced. Here the complicating factors are to remove morphological characteristics of the involved, as traditionally measuring points are marked to determine a person’s morphotype and do not always accurately show the "connection" of movement and the musculoskeletal system, i.e. morphological and biomechanical components. At the same time, the ethical component should also be taken into account, which involves the use of correct positions at measurements and again measuring points. The measurements "from pubis to..." [1] are better avoided, as it may cause negative reactions, especially among the female contingent. To resolve the difficulties described, we used morphological points proposed by E.Yu. Rozin [7].

The use of flexibility tests in methodologies (technologies) of flexibility training is another innovation, arranged based on the control pattern TOTCTO (test–operation–test–correction–test–outlet).  This conditions coming out to the technological aspect of the educational object "Flexibility tests", which is associated with the features of acquisition of high-quality diagnostic and prognostic information and gives flexibility tests a new feature - "technological effectiveness". This feature corresponds to the emergence of various flexibility coefficients, indicating the direction and content of work, as well as corrective actions. These factors-indicators include: AFD - active flexibility deficiency [1]; DASFD - dosed active-static flexibility deficiency; MASFD - maximum active-static flexibility deficiency; DADFD - dosed active-dynamic flexibility deficiency; MADFD - maximum active-dynamic flexibility deficiency; SPTI - static pain threshold interval; DIBP - dynamic pain threshold interval [9]. As a result of verification of considered coefficients (case study of gymnastics) we resolved to use only the active static flexibility deficiency coefficient, being of the form of relative flexibility.

The third step within the test paradigmatics – results fixing - is not difficult, as it requires only the use of tabular forms adequate to the type of flexibility test set.

The fourth step of the test paradigmatics (interpretation of results) presupposes escape from scorecards: calculated according to sex and age on the basis of standard scales, rating scales based on upper and lower values ​​and ratio scale; mean values ​​+ 2 δ. Since massive high-cost researches are required to develop this type of interpretation tables, which is difficult due to large variety of tasks already existing or being designed for testing flexibility.

To diagnose the level of development of flexibility we suggest calculating the coefficient of existing relative flexibility (ERF) as a ratio of morphological and biomechanical possible flexibility in a joint to the actually measured. Such a coefficient varies from 1 to 100 percent (points), is easy to understand, of high diagnostic value and does not need conversion tables. To improve the predictive value of the tests we use the coefficient of remaining relative flexibility (RRF), calculated as the difference between 100 percent (points) and the current relative flexibility (CRF).

Correctional coefficient indicators of existing or remaining relative active flexibility deficiency (ERAFD and RRAFD) as the difference of existing or remaining relative passive and relative active flexibility is needed for better control of the flexibility training process. "Correctional” flexibility test sets are useful to trace correction coefficients. Generally, it should be noted that the use of the stipulated coefficients enhances diagnosis and orientations of the main and correctional activities with a specific joint, facilitates rating of the involved. In popular practice, the conversion of measured indicators to the described coefficients was made using Excel with VBA based application on the basis of designed formulas.

At the last step of the test paradigmatics – conclusion making – we create an image of flexibility fitness of the involved ones (innovation) based on the developed coefficients using radar charts of the "thread" type.

At the next phase of innovative design - the implementation phase - the modified educational object is developed as an innovation project "Flexibility tests of the second generation" with the research and experimental verification. Thus, the proposed adaptive flexibility test sets enabled to distinctly and visually justify the orientation of the methodological and educational and training activities with students during classes. The ascerting educational experiment, which involved budget fitness club members in Rostov-on-Don (n>20) and full-time and part-time students of Rostov-on-Don institute of physical culture and sport of the "gymnastics" specialization (n> 80), when processing data using the method of rank correlation has revealed the following.

In various tests when comparing the values ​​of the designed coefficients of relative flexibility and measured indicators or marks given according to conversion tables, ρ is in the range from 0.7 to 0.9. This indicates the ongoing structural shifts in the examined groups of indicators and the authentic characteristics of developed coefficients. Meanwhile, we have defined model characteristics of the quality of flexibility skills. Thus, the level of the values ​​of the existing relative flexibility coefficient for mass physical education is in the range from 25 to 50 % for female students not involved any more in active gymnastics occupations - from 50 to 85% for active female gymnasts - over 85%.

During the implementation phase, the subsequent phase of innovation design the modernized educational object "Flexibility tests" in the form of the innovation project "Flexibility tests of the second generation" is used in teaching of the specializations "Theory and methods of selected sport – gymnastics” and “Fitness technologies” of the discipline" Gymnastics ", as well as in researches and developments, both within the work of the laboratory of "Quality of education and innovation technologies in the field of physical culture ", and RIPCS. Within the scope of the expanded distribution the designed project is partly and generally applied at the department of physical education, sport and tourism RSUE “RINE”, in budget fitness clubs of Rostov-on-Don and towns of the Rostov region.

Conclusions. Innovation designing was implemented in compliance with the elaborated standard and with the use of standard ideal design objects. Meanwhile, the innovation project “Flexibility tests of the second generation” in gymnastics with the educational object “Flexibility tests” as a result of the work done, rests upon modern scientific approaches and innovations, contains methodological and experimental grounds and has acquired the following characteristics: convenience and accuracy of linear measurements; ethic obtaining of results and morphological characteristics; “technological effectiveness” and the possibility of computer application; qualitative diagnostic and prognostic data acquisition except for screening studies. Therefore, the designed innovation project “Flexibility tests of the second generation” eliminates practical difficulties and issues of monitoring in mass physical education, recreational and sports training in gymnastics, enhances performance and satisfies the contemporary requirements in the aspect of efficiency and quality.


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