Importance of rhythm for the optimum performance of motor skills
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/12/2100
MacPherson, Alan Cameron
The overall aim of the thesis was to appraise critically the role that rhythm can play as an effective focus for high level athletic performance. This aim was realised through a series of staged objectives. In a desktop study, the potential importance of rhythm was investigated across the performance spectrum (chapter 2). Having established the scope and potential utility of the construct, it was necessary to determine whether it was possible to isolate rhythm, to establish whether it was associated with skilled execution, and whether it was a genuine, naturally occurring, phenomenon (chapter 3). Having established significant differences in recalled movement patterns between skilled and non-skilled participants, the third objective was to determine the impact of differing mental sets on elite competitors in a performance environment (chapter 4). Interestingly, low levels of movement variability in horizontal jumps were positively associated with jumps of greater distance in the majority of athletes studied. This finding has implications for the way performers should be instructed, how high performance interventions are designed, and it questions the pre-eminent perceptual paradigm in this area of human performance. Finally, the thesis aimed to determine if rhythm can be applied and manipulated as a performance aid. To this end, two case studies are presented (chapters 5 & 6) which outline the varied means through which rhythm can be manipulated according to the performance needs of the athlete, both in terms of reducing movement variability, and improving overall performance.