Development of Analytical Skills of Athletes during Training-Competitive Activity



L.I. Kostyunina, associate professor, Dr.Hab.
M.O. Markin, postgraduate
Ulyanovsk state university named after I.N. Ul'yanov, Ulyanovsk

Key words: training-competitive activity, sprint, analytical skills, cognitive operations, analysis, synthesis, classification, prediction.

Introduction. Athlete achieves specific goals of education and training using the systematically implemented motor activity, stipulating the formation of the planned parameters of conditioning, special, technical skills of an athlete, provided the activation of cognitive processes, improvement of key mental functions (accuracy of perception, motor memory, various properties of attention, analytical skills).

The integrity of perception of all aspects of training-competitive activity and the ability to take adequate decisions are stipulated by the athlete's ability to analyze the information from various proprioceptors, to assess changes in the systems that provide effective muscle work, environmental conditions, actions of competitors etc.; skill to identify major determinants of competitive performance at each phase of sports training. Analytical skills provide the formation of programs of future activity, creative interaction of all participants in the training process, the ability to analyze and evaluate competitive results, their timely correction in view of their nature and content, specific conditions of implementation of motor actions, which is important to achieve the high level of sports skills.

The purpose of the research was to enhance the training process based on the development of sprinters' analytical skills.

The objectives of the research:

1. Identify the didactic principles and conditions of formation of analytical skills during sports activity

2. Provide the theoretical and experimental justification of the technology of athletes' analytical skills development during the training-competitive activity (case study of sprinters).

Materials and methods. In order to achieve the purpose of the research we used a combination of methods: theoretical analysis and generalization of scientific and methodical literature, psychological and educational tests, educational experiment, methods of mathematical statistics. The base of the research was the faculty of physical education and sport of Ulyanovsk State Pedagogical University named after I.N. Ul'yanov. 24 sprinters aged 16-20 years of the III-II adult categories were involved in the educational experiment.

Results and discussion. The problem of formation of the system logical and analytical skills in different kinds of human activity is widely presented in the scientific works of Russian psychologists: K.A. Abdul’khanova-Slavskaya, M.S. Kagan, S.L. Rubinstein, G.P. Shchedrovitsky, etc. They considered analytical skills as a personal quality that helps to overcome difficulties of professional activity and find optimal solutions [1, 4, 12, 14].

Sports psychology and pedagogy consider the development of the components of analytical thinking as a necessary condition for effective adoption of specific knowledge in the theory and methodology of chosen sport and its application in practice-oriented sports activity. Analytical thinking acts as a method of analysis, classification and generalization of individual motor experience, methods of solution of technical and tactical tasks, predicting competitive results, developing further sports training strategy [3, 8, 11, 13].

Sports training helps to improve the physiological mechanisms providing the complex analytic and synthetic activity of the cerebral cortex, to obtain the needed level of thinking, which determines the athlete’s ability to objective analysis, assessment of personal motor capacity and prediction of potential sports results. The level of formation of the components of thinking is defined by the quality indicators of simultaneous multi-level motor and intellectual activities of an athlete, which provide the formation of an integrated psycho-functional complex - the determinant of achievement of individual sports skills [5, 6, 9].

The main condition which provides the integrative nature of sports activity is an interrelation and interdependence of motor acts and cognitive operations. The interrelation depends on several factors: specifics of the content of training process, level of sports skills, individual typological and mental abilities of an athlete and the key factor is the ability to perceive necessary information, consciously assimilate it and process in accordance with currently solved motor tasks that require active perception, concentration and redistribution of attention, stability of psychophysiological processes and the high level of formation of the components of analytical thinking.

The educational technology of development of athletes' analytical skills determines the rational order of constructing the training process, the selection of forms of creative interaction between a trainer and a student, of means and methods of mastering the cognitive operations that determine the development of analytical skills, that help to analyze, evaluate and correct training influences and predict results of competitive activity while learning and training (Fig.).

Fig. 1. Educational technology of athletes' analytical skills development during training-competitive activity

The methodological basis for the suggested technology of athletes' analytical skills development is the system analytical approach based on key methodological provisions of the system theory, activity-related and personality-centered approaches; learning the regularities ensuring the consistency of motor and intellectual activities as a condition for progress in sports in the modes providing the improvement of adaptation mechanisms, the enrichment of the spiritual potential, personal development and self-determination of an athlete.

The main didactic conditions and principles of athletes' analytical skills development are [6]:

- the unity of the rational use of motor and intellectual capacities on the basis of the personality-centered approach;

- the system approach as a methodological basis of educational activity providing athlete’s self-development;

- the development of an algorithm of learning the technique of competitive exercise providing athlete’s conscious perception of the regularities of constructing motor actions, understanding of the structure, nature and logic of interrelations of individual elements, the integral technique;

- analyzing and solving motor tasks by implementing the main didactic principles: awareness, activity and independence;

- the principle of educating training, which reflects the unity of the processes of learning, education and development in the sports training system and stipulates the formation of the base culture of an individual athlete (physical, moral, aesthetic, etc.), intellectual development and creative activity taking into account athlete's individual cognitive style and the specific requirements of motor activity in the chosen sport;

- the principle of interdependence of the development of intellectual and motor skills as well as sports and technical skills perfection;

- the principle of continuity and complication of training methods considering the specificity of adaptation to training influences, increasing intensity of training-competitive activity and the increased requirements for athlete’s cognitive abilities;

- professional level of trainer's didactic skills, organization of creative interaction between a trainer and an athlete.

The specificity of training-competitive activity in various sports determines the content and the aim of athlete’s cognitive actions. Running technique is a primary object of analysis and evaluation in sprint. Sprint (despite the fact that its technique is based on a simple in appearance locomotion - running) is considered by experts as one of the most technically complex sports, which is indirectly confirmed by the dynamics of the world records over the past decade. While the content of means and methods of training is practically the same and the principles of its use are variable the further improvement of athletic performance is stipulated by the running technique and its individualization that is possible only by creating the active-cognitive environment providing the development of cognitive functions by means of physical exercises and the possibility for an athlete to assimilate and accumulate special knowledge, understand the regularities of motor skills formation; the biomechanisms determining the effective running technique; the mechanisms of energy supply of muscle work in sprint distances. Thus, a system of interrelated knowledge with an ordered structure, logic and deep correlation with the practice-oriented activity of an athlete is formed during simultaneous intellectual and motor activities, along with the set of mentally significant qualities for a particular sport. While analyzing and discussing the ways of achieving the goals of training with a trainer and evaluating particular results an athlete actualizes his knowledge, transforms it into specific concepts and terms, that helps in the future to create logical constructions and the theoretical model, the idea of motor action, the method of solving the task (technical, tactical, etc.), the model of competitive activity, as well as conducting a number of mental operations, providing the practical implementation of the model during real training and competitions.

The educational experiment involving sprinters of mass categories was organized in order to justify the effectiveness of the technology of analytical skills development. Two relatively homogeneous groups were formed: the control group (CG) - 12 persons and the experimental group (EG) - 12 persons, which included runners of III-II sports categories aged 16-20 years (22 people in total). Training sessions in the CG and in the EG were conducted in accordance with the requirements of the athletics program (sprint) recommended by the Athletics Federation of Russia [7]. The training process in the EG was implemented based on identified didactic conditions and principles including a set of exercises which ensures the development of analytical skills. Before the start of the educational experiment the testing was conducted in order to identify the level of physical, special and technical skills (based on the recommended control exercises); the main qualities of analytical thinking of the athletes were analyzed both on the basis of standard psychological test methods and with the use of our developed tests for the assessment of thinking. The test “The establishment of regularities” is complex and is used to evaluate the level of analytical skills development and at the same time reflects the indicators of stability of attention and memory. The test “Intellectual lability” requires the accurate perception of a task with the operative involvement of cognitive actions - analysis, comparison, correlation etc. [10]. Our tests for assessing thinking activity are used to evaluate the ability of an athlete to organize mental activity for specific tasks of sports training: assessment and analysis of factors, conditions of motor activity, classification, etc. [2]

The results of the initial test of fitness and indicators of analytical skills development among the runners of the CG and the EG at the beginning of the educational experiment did not reveal any significant differences (p>=0,05).

During the educational experiment runners of the EG were involved in the discussion of the issues related to the organization of training process; the justification of the means and methods of training in view of the features of adaptation to specific physical load. Based on the comparative analysis of current and intermediate indicators of physical and special fitness and psycho-emotional state, athletes acquired the skills of objective assessment of fitness level and prediction of competitive results. While improving the components of running technique the athletes identified the factors and conditions that determine the quality parameters of their performance (the position of the body and the head, the consistency of the upper and lower limb movements, the nature of fluctuations in the general center of mass, etc.). Runners estimated the quality parameters of the running technique of their colleagues and assessed performed motor actions giving recommendations regarding correction and elimination of detected errors. Based on video records, kinograms with the running technique of the leading sprinters the runners determined the general and individual parameters of performance of start actions for athletes with different anthropometric characteristics, with different ratios of body parts and links; analyzed the dependence of frequency, step length and competitive speed in various parts of the distance; compared methods of finishing; learnt model parameters of the rational technique for sprint.

During training sessions runners identified the structure and content of each element of the running technique and got individual tasks of selecting lead-up and preparatory exercises that ensure the quality learning and mastering of the technique. For example, while improving the crouch start technique every runner identified the best way to install the starting blocks on the basis of comparison between different ways of the technique implementation, taking into account the ratio of body parts and links, physical and special fitness levels, his motor experience.

The experimental data indicate that systemically organized cognitive and motor activities during sports training of sprinters provides an interdependent increment of the indicators of analytical thinking and the level of special and technical skills.

Table. The dynamics of analytical skills development of sprinters




Research stages

Increment, %

Before the educational experiment

After the educational experiment


“The establishment of regularities”

А, success ratio, ()



73, 6±4,02*

82,2± 3,31**^




“Intellectual lability”,

Number of errors, ()








“The assessment of athletes' thinking”

In points ()




3,76±0,14** ^




Note: in the numerator - figures of the control group, in the denominator - figures of the experimental group; * - the reliability of the differences at the significance level of р=0,05; ** - the reliability of the differences at the significance level of р=0,01; ^ - the reliability of the differences between control and experimental groups.

The following data were obtained during the study of the qualities of thinking (Table 1). Before the educational experiment runners had an average level of the ratio of success in thinking A=67,9±3,39 and A=69,5,8±4,76, in the CG and in the EG respectively (p>0,05). At the end of the educational experiment the qualitative characteristics of thinking in the CG improved by 8,05% (p>0,05). In the EG the increment was more significant - 16,75% (p>0,01). Significant intergroup differences were detected at p>0,05. A similar trend was noted in the dynamics of the lability of thinking. The most significant differences were allocated during the test “The assessment of athletes' thinking”. The increment in the indicators of thinking was equal to 8,67% (p<0,05) and 21,28% (p<0,01) for the CG and the EG respectively. According to the results of the educational experiment, thanks to the formed analytical skills runners in the EG could more effectively select lead-up and preparatory exercises during training, effective ways of implementation of motor actions during competitive activity, form independent thinking when making tactical decisions, successfully apply mental set techniques, create mental approach.

The results of tests of conditioning, special and technical skills conducted at the end of the experiment showed an improvement of the indicators in both groups. And it should be noted that runners in the EG had a more significant increase of these indicators. Thus, in the test “Standing long jump” the results increased by 4,90% and 13,48% (p<0,05) in the CG and in the EG respectively. In the exercise “Medicine ball chest throw” the increment was 6,25% and 12,67% (p<0,05) in the CG and in the EG respectively. In the test exercise “30m sprint from crouch start” the results have improved by 5,78% (p> 0,05) and 10,29% (p<0,05) at the end of the pedagogical experiment with the initial indices of 4,03±0,05 s. and 3,96±0,08 s in the CG and in the EG respectively. A similar tendency was found for other control exercises.

Thus, the results of the educational experiment indicated the continuity and interdependence of the development of analytical thinking and the improvement of the quality parameters of implemented motor activity. The development of analytical skills contributes to the formation of the conscious attitude of an athlete to the process of training-competitive activity, attitudes ensuring creative solutions for the tasks of sports training and stimulation of cognitive activity. The development of athlete’s analytical abilities during training is a determinant of personal formation, activating the process of individual sports perfection.


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