Effects of experience on the coordination of internally and externally timed soccer kicks

J Mot Behav. 2007 Sep;39(5):423-32. doi: 10.3200/JMBR.39.5.423-432.

Abstract

The authors investigated differences in the soccer kick between 8 experienced and 10 less experienced participants in 2 different task conditions (kicking a stationary ball or a moving ball at a target). The experienced participants were more accurate than their less experienced counterparts, whereas there were no differences in maximum foot velocity between groups or between conditions. When compared with their performance in the stationary condition, participants kicked the moving ball with a smaller range of movement at the knee of the kicking leg, maintaining a proximodistal coordination pattern. Because of their significantly shorter knee-flexion phase, the participants in the experienced group displayed a significantly shorter time between initiation of the forward swing of the kick and ball contact than that of those in the less experienced group. The rapid knee flexion may have been a strategy of exploiting passive dynamics to increase accuracy rather than velocity. Members of both groups showed a proximodistal initiation sequence in the kicking leg, which suggests that players can acquire that coordination pattern with relatively little structured practice and that further practice leads to improvement possibly through the increased exploitation of passive dynamics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Foot / physiology
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Soccer / psychology*