Kinekt technology application to improve technical fitness of 8-10 year-old hearing-impaired badminton players

Фотографии: 

Postgraduate M. Tashtarian1
Dr.Hab., Professor G.V. Barchukova1
PhD E.E. Zhigun1
1Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism (GTSOLIFK), Moscow

 

Keywords: badminton, hearing-impaired athletes, Kinect technology, technical fitness, footwork-centred training

Background. Physical culture on the whole and sports in particular are ranked among the strongest developmental motivators for people with health issues including hearing-impaired ones. These important life components contribute not only to the personality building process at primary school age but also to the health improvement and socializing processes [3]. It should also be noted that presently the competitive situation in the deaf global sporting community is very acute and their competitive accomplishments are very close [4].

Many sport specialists considering the hearing-impaired junior athletes’ training and excelling specifics mention the following key problems they normally face: insufficient coordination qualities; problems with body balance; slow progress in the motor skills mastering process; underdeveloped physical qualities; slow performance; and poor spatial orientation abilities [1, 2, 3, 4]. Most of the analysts think the problems may be solved by the training systems designed on a strictly “simple to complex” basis with multiple repetitions of technical elements in the training process. In addition, the training process needs to be supported with visual illustrations, clear execution diagrams, video guides and individualised training process designs [1, 2, 4].

Objective of the study was to provide theoretical grounds and experimental evidence to demonstrate the benefits of the Kinect-technology-assisted training in the education and training system of 8-10 year-old hearing-impaired badminton players to ensure their technical progress.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was performed from September 2015 to June 2016 at the Moscow state budgetary education establishment Technological College #21 and included the following three stages. Stage one (September to November 2015) implied the educational process monitoring in the primary training group of the second-year hearing-impaired badminton players; analyses of their health records; and a questionnaire survey of the players’ families to obtain full and dependable information on the hearing deficiency degree, reasons for the disease and associating health disorders. Stage two (December 2015 to June 2016) included a developmental educational experiment. In December 2015, subject to the technical fitness rating tests were 27 hearing-impaired badminton players aged 8-10 years. The tests included six special exercises selected from the modern badminton education programs and feasible for this category of trainees. Based on the prior study data, the junior athletes were split up into the following equal groups: Reference Group of 7 boys and 6 girls and Study Group of 8 boys and 6 girls. From January to May 2016, the health-deprived junior badminton players’ training sessions have been run 1.5 hours 3 times a week both in the Reference and Study Group. The Reference Group was trained as required by the valid standard primary sport training program for the underage and teenage adaptive training groups and badminton sport schools; and the Study Group was trained as recommended by our training model including the extra respiratory practices and Kinect-technology-assisted practices. In May 2016, repeated tests to rate progress of the Reference Group versus the Study Group were made. Stage three (July to December 2016) was designed to summarise, analyse and interpret the study data.

The Kinect technology was originally developed by PrimeSense, an Israel-based company, and licensed for application as the Microsoft Kinect product. In our study we applied the second-generation Kinect technology using a wide-angle camera convenient for use in large spaces on the whole and indoor sport facilities in particular. The system includes a web-camera, a laser and a depth sensor mounted in a 23х4х4cm box on a round basis. The technology is designed to record and process physical movements with the resolution of 6.5 million pixels per second. The technology makes it possible to track minor finger movements i.e. trace every movement sequence to find if the performance technique is right and accurate enough. The system screen was placed 3m from the trainee 50cm high from the ground so that the child could see the video replay on the screen in the training process. The system notebook was connected to the Kinect system with a special wire. One of the benefits of the technology is that it is free of multiple movement controllers, i.e. the subject should only perform the analysed exercise acting within the camera coverage zone. The software interface is user-friendly and accessible for 8 year-olds. Once the subject log ins, the body view captured by the video cameras is displayed on the screen. A hearing-impaired athlete may see his own performance on the screen and all he needs is to repeat it in a right and thought-out manner watching the process on the screen. When the exercise is performed right, the attempt is scored by the system; if not, new attempt should be made. The software is also coach-friendly for it is easily customisable i.e. the coach may easily add new exercises, manage loads, change limits of repetitions, set rest breaks as required by the individual progress plan and/or practice refreshment ideas.

We have designed two software products for hearing-impaired badminton players. One of them was applied to develop special physical qualities in junior athletes using dumbbell exercises; and the second software was intended to develop due footwork on the badminton court. The software gives the means to demonstrate, in an explanations-free format (since explanations are difficult for health-deficient children), right footwork sequences when moving outward from the centre and when the forehand and backhand drive and drop shots are performed. An initial position of the player is in the court centre, with the Kinect system placed under the net. The screen shows an image of the player ready to move. In a second, the screen shows an arrow pointing to the left. The athlete should start moving from the left leg followed by the right step and imitate a backhand shot. Should the athlete start moving from the right leg, the Kinect screen will show a red cross that means an error. In this case, the athlete must try one more time. The next movement is directed to the right angle. Standing in the court centre, the badminton player waits for a green arrow on the screen pointing to the right and, as soon as it comes on the screen, starts moving from the left leg followed by the right step and the forehand shot imitation sequence. At the next stage of the Kinect-assisted training the athlete drops the shuttle alternatively to the near right and near left corner with the required footwork and successive backhand and forehand drop shots. The player should master drop shots to the nearest corners. A similar training sequence may be applied to reach the frontcourt and perform a clear shot. In this case, the shuttle is shot high to the backcourt. At the final training stage, this exercise is performed on a competitive basis with time fixed. The Kinect-assisted training sessions are dominated by individualised practices.

Study results and discussion. As verified by the prior test data, the Study and Reference Groups had not shown any statistically significant differences in the technical fitness rates prior to the experiment (р>0.05). The first tests of both males and females revealed many errors and movement inaccuracies mostly due to both poor coordination skills and inadequate technical skills, with the technical fitness rates generally tested as low: see Tables 1-2.

The shuttle juggling tests showed the following errors of the hearing-impaired badminton players: wrong grip; too high elbow; racket-holding arm above the head; too fast racket movements; no shuttle follow-up movement; and poor feeling of the shuttle. Furthermore, the arm and wrist were too stiff during serve and the stiffness was compensated by more muscular efforts and extra moves. Some of the trainees missed the shuttle with the racket and hit the net or lifted the shuttle too high when serving a drop shot. Some lost foot contact with the ground, made a step or jumped when serving. When attacking, the shuttle was hit under the upper point, racket arm was not straight and, hence, the accuracy was low and the shot was slack. When receiving, the swing was started too late after the shuttle passed the net. Some were inattentive watching the shuttle till its contact with the racket and, hence, the shot was inaccurate. The juniors’ footwork on the court was riddled with multiple motor errors including wrong foot placement, shuffling footwork, stiff arms, poor balance when coming back to the centre, wrong posture, wrong-footed stroke movement etc.

Table 1. Hearing-impaired 8-10 year-old male badminton players’ technical fitness rates prior to and after the experiment ( ±σ)

Rating tests

Groups

Prior to experiment

After experiment

t estimate

Significance, Р

Shuttle juggling, count

RG

n=7

7,10

±4,38

14,40

±10,14

1,76

>0,05

SG

n=8

8,20

±6,18

18,20

±8,87

2,62

<0,05

Drop serve, success rate

RG

n=7

4,30

±1,98

5,75

±2,18

1,30

>0,05

SG

n=8

5,24

±2,48

7,89

±2,30

2,20

<0,05

High drive serve, success rate

RG

n=7

3,60

±1,30

4,71

±2,37

1,09

>0,05

SG

n=8

3,73

±2,30

5,78

±2,87

1,58

>0,05

Smash shot, success rate

 

RG

n=7

2,8

±2,29

4,86

±1,77

1,89

>0,05

SG

n=8

3,0

±1,22

5,44

±2,60

2,41

<0,05

High drive shot, success rate

RG

n=7

2,30

±2,11

4,67

±2,65

1,85

>0,05

SG

n=8

2,90

±2,56

5,56

±1,81

2,40

<0,05

Footwork, seconds

RG

n=7

11,80

±1,84

12,02

±1,53

0,24

>0,05

SG

n=8

12,10

±1,38

10,04

±1,39

2,97

<0,05

 

Table 2. Hearing-impaired 8-10 year-old female badminton players’ technical fitness rates prior to and after the experiment ( ±σ)

Rating tests

Groups

Prior to the experiment

After the experiment

t estimate

Meaning, Р

Shuttle juggling, count

 

RG

n=6

14,62

±4,72

15,37

±8,32

0,19

>0,05

SG

n=6

12,20

±3,32

17,60

±6,86

1,74

>0,05

Drop serve, success rate

RG

n=6

5,20

±3,03

6,45

±3,27

0,69

>0,05

SG

n=6

4,95

±1,63

7,50

±1,45

2,87

<0,05

High drive serve, success rate

RG

n=6

4,45

±1,82

4,98

±1,64

0,53

>0,05

SG

n=6

4,94

±2,37

5,80

±1,79

0,71

>0,05

Smash shot, success rate

 

RG

n=6

2,20

±1,30

3,64

±1,75

1,62

>0,05

SG

n=6

1,80

±3,21

5,75

±1,26

2,81

<0,05

High drive shot, success rate

RG

n=6

3,10

±2,34

5,08

±2,12

1,54

>0,05

SG

n=6

3,0

±1,37

6,23

±2,64

2,66

<0,05

Footwork, seconds

RG

n=6

15,8

±1,99

14,20

±1,15

1,70

>0,05

SG

n=6

14,8

±1,88

11,8

±1,10

3,39

<0,05

The SG training sessions were designed with a special priority given to the coordination ability improvements, in addition to the individual Kinect-assisted practices, with the juniors trained on the coordination training ladder in the round robin training session followed by active team games.

The repeated test data after the educational experiment showed the statistically significant progress of the technical performance rates in the SG males in the 5 rating tests. The shuttle juggling test rate was found to grow by 121.9%; the drop serve success rate improved by 50.6%; the attacking smash shot success rate was tested to grow by 81.3%; the high drive shot success rate increased by 91.7%; and the footwork on the court was faster by 20.5%.

Furthermore, the educational experiment showed the statistically significant progress of the technical performance rates in the SG females in the 4 rating tests. The drop serve success rate was tested to increase by 51.5%; the smash shot success rate by 219.4%; the high drive shot success rate increased by 107.7%; and the footwork on the court was faster by 25.4%.

The static balancing skills in the SG males and females were tested to improve by 240.8% and 211.6%, respectively, and this progress notably contributed to the players’ footwork on the court, accuracy and stability of the shots.

Conclusion. The Kinect-technology-assisted training component included in the hearing-impaired junior badminton players’ training system to improve the players’ footwork on the court was found beneficial as verified by the significant growth of the technical performance rates in 4 rating tests including drop shot, smash shot, high drive serve and footwork tests.  

It was also found that the Kinect-technology-assisted training component included in the hearing-impaired junior badminton players’ training system helps improve the emotional background of the practices due to the game element. Moreover, the extra visibility and controllability of own actions on the court provided by the technology was found to improve the motor responsiveness and facilitate the process errors being corrected on a timely and efficient basis. Therefore, the technology largely facilitates the coaching work due to the right technique being clearly demonstrated on a computer screen in the individualised training process.

Our further studies will be designed to expand the scope of the Kinect-technology-assisted trainings to improve the hearing-impaired junior badminton players’ training systems.

References

  1. Ignatyev M.A. Badminton kak odno iz sredstv uluchsheniya dvigatelnykh vozmozhnostey shkolnikov s narusheniem slukha. Dis. kand. ped. nauk [Badminton as one of means to improve motor abilities of hearing-impaired schoolchildren. PhD Diss.]. Cheboksary, 2002, 179 p.
  2. Kadetova N.V. K voprosu o metodakh osvoeniya elementov tekhniki igry v badminton na nachalnom etape obucheniya yunykh badmintonistov [Methods of mastering technical elements in badminton at initial training stage of young badminton players]. Mater. VII Mezhdunar. nauchny kongress «Sovremenny olimpiyskiy sport i sport dlya vsekh», t. 3 [Proc. VII Intern. Scie. congress "Modern Olympic sport and sport for all". V. 3]. Moscow: RGUFKSiT publ., 2003, pp. 172-173.
  3. Tashtarian M., Barchukova G.V., Zhigun E.E. Vozmozhnosti primeneniya tekhnologii «Kinekt» dlya povysheniya fizicheskoy podgotovlennosti slaboslyshaschikh badmintonistov 8-10 let [Kinect technology application to improve physical fitness of hearing-impaired badminton players aged 8-10 years]. Uchenye zapiski un-ta im. P.F. Lesgafta,2016, no. 6 (136), pp. 153-158.
  4. Khurtik D.V. Osobennosti tekhnicheskoy podgotovlennosti sportsmenov s narusheniyami slukha v razlichnykh vidakh sporta [Features of technical fitness of hearing-impaired athletes in various sports]. Pedagogika, psikhologiya i mediko-biologicheskie problemy fizicheskogo vospitaniya i sporta, 2012, no. 8, pp. 110-113.

Corresponding author: masoudtashtarian@yahoo.com

Abstract

The study was designed to profile variations of the 8-10 year-old hearing-impaired badminton players’ technical fitness in a special training course with application of the Kinect technology. The study provides theoretical grounds and experimental evidence of the Kinect technology being beneficial for the hearing-impaired badminton players’ education and training process. The technology was found to facilitate the trained movement sequence being clearly visualised and persistently reiterated with a real-time performance control capacity and based on an individualised approach to the education and training process. The Kinect technology applied in the hearing-impaired badminton players’ primary education and training process was found effective as verified by the significant growth of the relevant technical and physical performance and functional capacity test rates and the cognitive function progress rates of the junior athletes. The study data and analyses make an important contribution to the knowledge of the computer technologies applicability for the athletic motor skills and qualities development process.   

The study analyses the potential promises of this accessible test technology that may be easily applied both in the physical education and practical training process. Later on the application software may be advanced to provide the practical tools for mastering smash shots and train a variety of other sport-specific motor skills; including the optional applications of the Kinect technology versions designed for other sport disciplines.