Formation of Psychomotor Qualities in Modern Sport: Theoretical and Methodological Problems


K.K. Markov, professor, Dr.Hab.
Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk
V.Yu. Lebedinsky, professor, Dr.Med.
National Research Irkutsk State Technical University, Irkutsk

Key words: sport, psychomotor qualities, distinctive sensitivity.

Introduction. The modern stage of development of world sport requires from athletes highly-developed basic physical, technical and tactical, and psychological qualities and the ability to integrate them effectively under tough competitive conditions. Depending on the sport, an athlete often competes under severe time pressure, in situations of counteractions that cannot be preplanned, being in physical contact with an opponent, accurately and flexibly dosing temporal, power and spatial parameters of own actions, which effectiveness determines the ultimate outcome. By the degree of variation in the above mentioned parameters of competitive activity and by the level of significance of each of them by itself in the final sport achievements, various kinds of sport can be divided into two groups radically different in the nature of predetermination of athlete's actions, and in the level of preplanning of the full range of psychic and motor display of motor activity.

The first group [8, 10] includes those sports in which athlete’s competitive activity is carried out under quite severe spatial-temporal and dynamic conditions with a high level of preplanning of both the structure of particular moves and their integration into whole motor movements (track and field athletics, gymnastics, swimming, shooting, rowing, weightlifting, skiing, cycling, etc.). Normally, despite their specific form in each of those sports, various tactical actions applied during competitions change kinematic and dynamic characteristics and structure of moves in a minor way. In the second group of sports, athlete's actions represent counteractions upon the direct contact with an opponent (sport games, fencing, combat sports, etc.) and without one (volleyball, tennis, table tennis, badminton).

The sports from the second group hold a special place, which is determined by two key points. Thus, one of the most specific kinds of sport - volleyball - is the only one in which the nature of contact with a ball, quality and duration of an athlete's contact with it are regulated, which is not typical for any other sport game. This indicator accounts for a considerable amount of faults fixed by referees. The second point, which follows from the first one and individualizes volleyball (as well as tennis, table tennis and badminton) among the situational sports from the second group, consists in the absence of any pause for making another, appropriate for the current situation, tactical decision and choice of a more effective technical action.

In order to solve these problems successfully, highly-developed sensomotor properties are required from a player, as they are the fundamental principle of sports and technical skills. The indicators of psychomotor development are also to hold a ranking place in the complex system of functional diagnostics, especially in those sports which along with high level of functional preparedness require fine "muscular sense", highly-developed "motor memory", high level of efficiency of sensomotor functions, individual characteristics of distinctive sensitivity to the main kinematic and dynamic parameters of a movement, operational thinking and attentiveness. The level of development of these qualities is much influenced by the higher levels of human psychic hierarchy [7, 9, 11].

The purpose of the study was methodical development and scientific foundation for the formation of psychomotor qualities in modern sport.

Methodology of improvement of athlete's distinctive sensitivity with respect to time. In today's interpretation distinctive sensitivity [4, 9] is a certain distinctive characteristic of the process of differentiation confined to a particular degree of discrepancy of the objects themselves. It is an important perceptual factor that determines essentially the individuality, and also qualitative and quantitative regularities of all sensory functions of an athlete.

The methodology of improvement comprises the following stages.

I stage - introductory, 2-3 days, focused on obtaining average data on the motor response time in volleyball players, introduction to the devices and measuring procedure, psychological adaptation to the process (motivation, fatigue, attention).

II stage – development of the skill to respond to the start signal as quickly as possible, constantly receiving the information on the actual response time and its latency period. The objective of this stage is to determine the relationship between motor response and response time.

III stage – acquirement of the skill to make accurate evaluation of the motor response time, athlete's conscious self-assessment of response time, during which a testee is to characterize the duration of microinterval vocally and numerically. Upon self-assessment a player is informed of the exact value of response and fault made. By this testees are motivated to comparison, correlation of the duration of microintervals in a number of attempts, and fix their faults.

IV stage – acquirement of the skill to control the motor response time, gradually going through several phases. The objective of this stage is to achieve maximum and conscious stability in reproduction of various microintervals. Temporal sensory standard here is the indicator of stability, the ability to control "time sense ". 

Spatial distinctive sensitivity. Spatial sensitivity [1–3, 12] provides accuracy and viability of athlete's motor actions and is a necessary condition for mastering athletic technique. Spatial sensitivity in athlete's specific actions improves with the increase of special fitness and qualification. Predominant development of distinctive sensitivity based on separate alternating movements is specific and is connected with a particular sports specialization. It is quite informative in terms of overtraining. At the optimum level of sensitivity with respect to time and effort, its significant decrease is observed. Development of fine muscular sensations is not only based on the improvement of motor analyzer, but is also closely connected with speech signal system; conscious verbal and cognitive control during learning and differentiation of various-amplitude movements enables transformation of these psychomotor actions into the skill with good ability to differentiate and understand changes in the motor pattern.

Kinesthetic differentiation is tested by means of special devices (kinematometer, curvimeter, etc.) by the method of minimum increase of the spatial interval of the amplitude. In terms of zero visual control, returning the arm to the starting position, a testee reproduces a particular amplitude of movement with a minimum sense of increase. The number of stages in the given interval, reproduced by an athlete, determines the level of his distinctive ability in the current component of movement perception [5; 6]. During the natural experiment, spatial differentiation is studied basing on the results of standing long jumps in terms of its step-type increase with each attempt starting from 70% of the maximal result and up to the limiting one with setting of a minimum increase. Previous jump was not to be repeated or decreased, there was no visual clue, an athlete was simply informed of the fault itself, but not of the result specifically. This methodology is also used during performance of take-offs from a contact platform. Basing on the registered takeoff to touchdown time, an athlete is informed of the dynamics of his jump, but not of the exact result index. The measurement is made in the interval from 50% of the limiting result to the maximum. Fine differentiation of the increment of the jump height is estimated by the number of steps within the interval and by the number of faulty attempts. During the educational experiment, this methodology is modified similarly to the above described methodology of development of distinctive sensitivity with respect to time, with similar arrangement and sequence of phases and stages.

Distinctive sensitivity with respect to effort. The skill to distribute own efforts in time and space is one of the principal conditions for the display of high technical and tactical skills of an athlete. The above described specific nature of evaluation of the quality of an athlete's contact with a ball in all types of game elements indicated that fine differentiation of muscular efforts by their intensity, place and time of display determine considerably the class of a player. There can be singled out the following key game actions, in which the quality of their performance is to a great extent determined by the level of differentiation of efforts:

  • receiving of a serve: jog accuracy, fine differentiation of efforts;
  • serve: power and accuracy in hitting a ball;
  • upper handling: fine distinction of handgrip strength applied towards a ball;
  • spike: alternation of powerful and feigned strokes, fierce shots on the empty areas of playfield.
  • The study of strength sensitivity revealed the following general regularities [7]:
  • the quality and accuracy of differentiation of efforts increase during task-oriented training, with much faster getting into competition shape, as compared to the accuracy of perception of time and space;
  • a specific character of development of strength sensitivity was registered in athletes of different sports specializations;
  • there is no close relationship between the absolute power and accuracy of muscle tensions, muscle tensions of various rates are differentiated differently;
  • the level of development of strength sensitivity to a great extent depends on the structure of self-control over the technique constituents by an athlete himself.

Strength sensitivity can be tested using a wrist dynamometer by the method of minimum increase of efforts. A player is offered to grip the dynamometer within the range from 0 to the basic effort, without visual control, step by step, with minimum increase of the effort. The number of these steps characterizes the fineness of strength differentiation. In natural conditions, strength sensitivity can be tested by means of throwing of a ball at a distance, in a similar step-type way, in the interval from 70% of the maximal result with a minimum increase at each step and up to the limiting throw. Both methodologies may be implemented for the purpose of training in order to develop special distinctive sensitivity in athletes.


1. Simple reaction time to a light signal and player's opportunities to distinguish time intervals and reproduce them by trainer's instructions and arbitrarily were defined to improve the reaction rate and the ability to differentiate microintervals of time and manage them.

2. Minimum increase of efforts distinguishable and reproducible by players on trainer's instruction and arbitrarily is defined to improve the ability to differentiate and reproduce the set amount of efforts using an electronic wrist dynamometer at the level of 70 % of the individual maximum capacity for the right hand.

3. A player can improve distinctive sensitivity of jump height and play back the specified parameters using a contact platform with an electronic recorder of time intervals between the moment when a player takes off while pushing off and landing, if the ability to distinguish and reproduce minimal deviations from the task is determined at the level of 70% of the individual maximum height of take-off.

4. To improve distinctive sensitivity of spatial parameters and the ability to play them back, throw of a tennis ball at a distance with the strongest hand is tested with the definition of the player's ability to distinguish and reproduce on assignment minimum deviations of throw at the level of 70% of the individual maximum distance of throw.


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