Differences in limb coordination in polyrhythmic production among water polo players, artistic swimmers and drummers

J Mot Behav. 2021;53(2):191-199. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2020.1748860. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


This study compares polyrhythmic production ability between water polo players (WPs), artistic swimmers (ASs) and drummers (Ds), to assess how their differing experiences in coordinating complex inter-limb activity with music affected this ability. Eight ASs, eight WPs and eight Ds participated. They were asked to perform finger and foot taps in a single-rhythm task (every 750 ms) and two polyrhythmic tasks (finger and foot taps at 750 and 500 ms, respectively, and vice versa). The percentage of correct response cycles (PCRC), subjective difficulty scores were collected and analysed using a two-way mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) and coefficients of variation of the inter-tap interval (CVITI) were collected and analysed using a three-way mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA). The three groups showed no statistically significant differences in the single-rhythm task. However, on polyrhythmic tasks, the WPs were significantly outperformed by the other two groups in PCRC and CVITI. These results suggest that the experience of coordinating limbs with music has positive impacts on polyrhythmic production ability. They also imply that ASs and Ds have similar polyrhythmic production ability despite the apparent differences in task complexity in their daily training and performances.

Keywords: artistic swimming; limb coordination; polyrhythm; tapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Foot
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Water Sports / physiology*
  • Young Adult