Mono-resistance as a factor of success in sports activity of young swimmers with fins


P.P. Dudchenko, postgraduate       
V.P. Aksenov, professor, Ph.D.
Yu.N. Shuvalov, professor, Ph.D.
Tula state L.N. Tolstoy pedagogical university, Tula

Key words: swimming with fins, monotony, young swimmers, resistance, physical fitness.

Introduction. Training sports reserve is a crucial part of the system of training of elite athletes. At present the earlier specialization is traced in some sports with loadings in senior sports being at their maximum. Young athletes also have to train many hours a week. This is a stable tendency for sports results are constantly going up. The design of scientifically validated recommendations in respect to organization and essence of child's and youth sports (M.Ya. Nabatnikova, V.P. Filin, L.P. Matveev, V.G. Nikitushkin et al) training processes will be some way out from the situation.

Swimming with fins belongs to the category of underwater sports, and is currently gaining more and more popularity. This type of sport, on the one hand, is a highly-active motor activity, where the high level of overall and special physical fitness is of great significance when it comes to reaching success. On the other hand, swimming with fins presupposes long monotonous exercise procedures in static conditions. When it comes to competition programs regarding swimming with fins, long distances are widely presented. In fact, marathon swimming is what draws the spectators' and athletes' interest. Compared to those of the classic swimming sports, there are substantially fewer methods of training in swimming with fins, which, as a fact, also increases the monotony of the training process. And that's how it is day after day for many years. It's not the first time that experts in the field of psychology draw our attention to the fact that such a chronically unvaried activity creates a certain mental phenomenon, called "monotony".

Monotony is stress caused by the repetition of performed actions, with one's inability to switch attention, and with such actions demanding higher concentration and stability in terms of attention.

In the course of an activity, the state of monotony occurs along with the state of tiredness, imposing a negative effect on a person's psyche and performance capacity. The state of experiencing monotony is caused by actual and perceived sameness as to the performed-in-the-course-of-work movements and actions. Under the influence the experience of monotony has on a person, by not being able to bear or dispose of this mental state, they become sluggish, apathetic towards work. The state of monotony has also a negative effect on the human organism, leading to premature fatigue.

The inhibitory action of unvaried repeated stimuli underlies the physiology of monotony. Monotony can be experienced with easy, unfatiguing work. It adversely affects the performance capacity and is experienced as an unpleasant feeling, plus it reduces mental intensity, accompanied by a hypnoidal state with a decrease in mental activity.

When it comes to understanding the nature of the state of monotony, the diversification of its common and unique features in comparison with the state of tiredness is of the greatest importance. What both of these two states have in common is that both of them affect performance capacity in a negative manner and both are experienced as unpleasant feelings. The essential, in fact, difference lies in the fact that tiredness is caused by the severity of mental or physical work, while the state of monotony can be experienced even with easy, not tiresome work. Tiredness is a phasic process, whereas monotony is characterized by an undulating curve, having ups and downs. To wit, the first consequence of tiredness is the reduction in intensity with which a work is carried out, whereas the first of monotony pertains to the variations in the norm of the work's carrying-out. Tiredness increases psychic tension, while monotony, on the contrary, reduces it. 

A great contribution towards the study of monotonous activities has been made by researches in the field of differential psychology. The role of a person's typological traits, when it comes to the stability in unvaried work and the development of the state of monotony, was revealed from the very first research results (V.I. Rozhdestvenskaya, I.A. Levochkina, N.P. Fetiskin, etc.).

The results of those researches revealed that the state of monotony develops faster and is expressed stronger in persons with strong nervous system in comparison with persons with weak nervous system.

N.P. Fetiskin also found that individuals with neural inertia are more mono-resistant. These typological traits form a typological composite of mono-resistance. The opposing typological features (strong nervous system, mobility of the neural processes, etc.) do not contribute to mono-resistance and form a monotonophobic typological composite.

Studies in this area have shown that, monotony appears later in persons with the monotonophilic typological composite, rather than in those with the monotonophobic typological composite.

In the researches of N.P. Fetiskin, a connection between mono-resistance and temperamental traits came to light; it appeared that the most resilient individuals are those with high stiffness (which can be associated with a strongly expressed neural inertia in them), introversion and low neuroticism. Apart from that, mono-resistance was higher in those with medium and low self-assessment and with medium level of aspiration. The subjects' sex played its part as well: resistance was higher in women than in men.

The relation between mono-resistance and weak nervous system is attributable to the fact that these individuals have a higher level of sensitivity than those with a strong nervous system.

Another feature also affecting the development of resistance to monotony is a person's physical fitness. N.P. Fetiskin has concluded that the resistance level to repetitive physical activity in highly experienced athletes is higher than that in novice ones.

This can be attributed to the appearance - to a certain extent - of improved fitness as to a non-specific resistance to adverse factors, as sports physiologists have repeatedly stated, that have to do with radiation exposure, temperature effects, infections, etc.

Another fact also occurred to N.P. Fetiskin; an - at first glance - contradictory one to the above cited motive. It turned out that highly experienced athletes' mono-resistance was lower than in athletes with experience of up to five years. Therein, however, we must take into account the differences in the motivations of both. In the case of junior-grade athletes, the aspiration towards reaching the heights of mastery creates higher motive, whereby they train with enthusiasm, as evidenced by the fact that they experience monotony only when tired. On the other hand, when it comes to athletes with greater experience against the background of high level of fitness, the motivation towards their training activity is reduced (manifestation of mental or emotional "burn-out"), as a result of which they go to many training sessions with listlessness and out of necessity. Their complaints about monotony appear long before their tiredness.

Ultimately, just like every other factor of psychic deprivation (oppression of the psyche), monotony leads to a variety of physical and mental health violations (E.P. Il’in, V.L. Marischuk, N.P. Fetiskin, etc.).

At first blush, this is a facile position, as there are a number of recommendations pertaining to the reduction of monotony during training in cyclic sports:

  • subdivision of long training distances;
  • use of game-like and competitive methods;
  • association of overly simple operations with more complex ones;
  •  periodical alteration of the actions performed by an athlete;
  • periodical change of pace of the work performed;
  •  interference of extraneous stimuli;
  • increase in motivation towards work and performance feedback, etc.

However, we should bear in mind that, along with the development of athletes' skills, a more specialized character of their training process comes. Long competitive distances cannot be divided into separate segments in the course of coping with them. The underlying meaning here is the fact that the structure and content of the competitive activity, in general terms, determine the structure and content of the training process. In such circumstances, a problem inevitably arises as to the search and selection of athletes possessing a high level of mono-resistance. An important factor in achieving success in sports is the concordance of the specificity of training and competitive activity with athletes' individual traits. When it comes to swimming with fins, in our opinion, mono-resistance serves as one of the indicators of adaptation to specific loadings and, consequently, as a factor contributing to the achievement of success in the given sport (V.K. Balsevich, V.N. Platonov). The sooner such resistance will be determined and included in the training activity, the higher its effectiveness will be.

Nowadays tests of athletes’ physical development and fitness are mainly used at sports qualification, though it is proved that one is to base on the indicators of the mental sphere of future athletes when qualifying, especially if these are conservative, i.e. genetically specified features. However, the given concept is not widely used in sports practice.

The purpose of the study was to detect the influence of mono-resistance on success in sports activity of young athletes at the age of 11-12 years old in swimming with fins.

Materials and methods. An experiment was carried out in 2010-2012 on the premises of "Dolphin"; the SCYSSOR (Specialized Children and Youth Sports School of the Olympic Reserve) of aquatics sports in the town of Tula. The subjects were 30 underwater athletes aged 11-12 years with an experience in swimming with fins of 4 years.

At the beginning of the study, the mono-resistance level of all the subjects was determined. Athletes with high indicators on this criterion constituted group № 1 (13 individuals) and those with middle and low ones formed group № 2 (17 individuals). The athletes' age, the structure and the training process's volume were similar for both groups. The training sessions were conducted on a basis of 6 times per week under the supervision of the same experts. Next, the experts determined the success of the athletes' performance in swimming with fins, depending on mono-resistance. The success criteria were the results of the testing of the overall and special physical fitness of both groups' athletes.

The following set of research methods was called to arms: analysis of literary sources, pedagogical supervision, ascertaining experiment, testing, methods of mathematical statistics.

The ascertaining experiment was conducted in the form of a purposeful sectioning regarding the determination of the subjects' level of physical fitness as well as their degree of mono-resistance. For the evaluation of the mono-resistance level, N.P Fetiskin's methodology was applied. For the assessment of the development level of the subjects' motor qualities, standard and special tests were used respectively: pull-up was used for the evaluation of power increase; E.P. Vasiliev's flexibility test; Romberg test of coordination abilities; a special speed test (basic method 50-meter swimming in bi-fins); 400-meter dash for speed endurance; 800-meter freestyle swimming for overall endurance; basic method 800-meter swimming in bi-fins for special endurance.

The data obtained during the study were subjected to mathematical analysis. The Student's t-test was used to determine the level of reliability regarding the obtained results (Tab. 1).

Results and discussion. Athletes in group 1 have higher mono-resistance: 24.13 ± 0.76 points, significantly surpassing that of athletes of group 2, who have 19.88 ± 2.93 points (t = 5.73; p 0.001).

Indicators of research participants' physical fitness with various levels of mono-resistance, Χ ± μ


Group 1,

n = 13

Group 2,

n = 17



400-meter dash, sec

101.84 ± 5.89

110.82 ± 8.69




4.78 ± 4.97

5.35 ± 5.20



800-meter freestyle swimming, sec

781.74 ± 54.90

931.76 ± 60.37



Basic method 50-meter swimming in bi-fins, sec

28.51 ± 1.67

34.34 ± 2.94



E.P. Vasiliev's test, cm

5.30 ± 5.25

-0.41 ± 4.26



Romberg test, sec

18.86 ± 5.02

14.29 ± 3.46



Basic method 800-meter swimming in bi-fins, sec

653.59 ± 80.69

772.67 ± 71.14




This is the situation presented by the reflecting-the-test-results indicators of overall and special physical fitness of young swimmers.

Concerning the test "400-meter dash", which reflects the level of speed endurance, athletes of group 1 significantly outperformed swimmers of Group 2: 101.84 ± 5.89 seconds vs. 110.82 ± 8.69 seconds (t=3.37; p<0.01).

As for the "pull-up" test, athletes of Group 2 questionably outperformed athletes of Group 1, with 5.35 ± 5.20 and 4.78 ± 4.97 times (t = 0.31; p>0.05) respectively. It is assume to be due to the fact that young athletes perform this exercise in just a few seconds. This exercise is not familiar to underwater athletes, it does not cause monotony and, as a consequence, the result in this test is not determined by the degree of tolerance to it.

Regarding the test "800-meter freestyle swimming" reflecting the overall endurance, athletes of group 1 significantly outperformed their peers of group 2: 781.74 ± 54.90 and 931.76 ± 60.37 seconds (t=7.10; p<0.001) respectively.

With regard to the test "Basic method 50-meter swimming in bi-fins" reflecting the level of special endurance, athletes of group 1 significantly outperformed their peers of group 2: 25.51 ± 1.67 and 34.34 ± 2.94 seconds (t=6.86; p<0.001) respectively.

In respect of E.P. Vasiliev's test "For flexibility", athletes of group 1 significantly outperformed their peers of group 2: 5.30 ± 5.25 and -0.41 ± 4.26 cm (t=3.20; p<0.01). This control exercise lasts only a few seconds. However, the high level of flexibility plays a major role in achieving high results in sports and, therefore, during the training process, athletes repeatedly perform exercises for the development of the given physical quality.

With reference to the "Romberg test", reflecting the level of coordination abilities (static balance), athletes of group 1 also significantly outperformed their peers of group 2: 18.86 ± 5.02 and 14.29 ± 3.46 seconds (t=2.81; p<0.01).

The test "basic method 800-meter swimming in bi-fins" reflects, to the fullest extent, the level of young swimmers' special endurance. As for this control exercise, athletes of the first group had an overwhelming advantage over their peers of the second group: 653.59 ± 80.69 and 772.67 ± 71.14 seconds (t=4.21; p<0.001).

Thus, summing up the results of the study, one can state that training and competitive activity in swimming with fins by its character facilitates development of such a negative state as monotony. High mono-resistance is one of the key factors of adaptation to different physical loadings in this sport, as it enhances the level of overall and special physical fitness and finally – sports result of underwater swimmers aged 11-12 years old. This indicator can also be used at sports orientation and qualification in this sport.


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