Clarifying the Biomechanical Concept of Coordination Through Comparison With Coordination in Motor Control

Front Sports Act Living. 2021 Oct 14;3:753062. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2021.753062. eCollection 2021.


Coordination is a multidisciplinary concept in human movement science, particularly in the field of biomechanics and motor control. However, the term is not used synonymously by researchers and has substantially different meanings depending on the studies. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of coordination to avoid confusion. The meaning of coordination in motor control from computational and ecological perspectives has been clarified, and the meanings differed between them. However, in biomechanics, each study has defined the meaning of the term and the meanings are diverse, and no study has attempted to bring together the diversity of the meanings of the term. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide a summary of the different meanings of coordination across the theoretical landscape and clarify the meaning of coordination in biomechanics. We showed that in biomechanics, coordination generally means the relation between elements that act toward the achievement of a motor task, which we call biomechanical coordination. We also showed that the term coordination used in computational and ecological perspectives has two different meanings, respectively. Each one had some similarities with biomechanical coordination. The findings of this study lead to an accurate understanding of the concept of coordination, which would help researchers formulate their empirical arguments for coordination in a more transparent manner. It would allow for accurate interpretation of data and theory development. By comprehensively providing multiple perspectives on coordination, this study intends to promote coordination studies in biomechanics.

Keywords: biomechanics; conceptual analysis; coordination; motor control; performance enhancement.

Publication types

  • Review