A study of the relationship between a kinesthetic training program and arm placement in the performance of selected swimming strokes



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The purpose of this study was to determine if a body awareness-training program would improve the performance of arm placement on the elementary backstroke and breaststroke in college woman. The subjects for this study were twenty-nine college women at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas. The subjects were those students who were non-swimmers and enrolled in beginning swimming classes during the 1970 spring semester. The subjects were divided into a control group and an experimental group. Each subject in both the experimental and control group was given the Roloff Test Battery, which is a battery for measuring kinesthesis in college women. The battery was composed of balance stick, arm raising, weight shifting, and arm circling. The control group participated in the required beginning-swimming program. The experimental group participated in a body awareness-training program in addition to the required swimming course. The training program for the experimental group consisted of fifteen- minute sessions during each class period for six weeks. It was composed of tasks selected from the Purdue Perceptual-Motor Survey by Eugene G. Roach, Indiana University, and Newell C. Kephart, Glen Haven Achievement Center, Ft. Collins Colorado. The Slow Learner in the Classroom by Newell C. Kephart, and from Experiments in Movement Behavior and Motor Learning by Bryant J. Cratty and Robert S. Hutton. Tasks selected were the walking board, angels-in-the-snow, imitation of movements, and instruction in kinesthetic practices. During the Six-week period both the experimental group and the control group was given equal instructions for the execution of the elementary backstroke and the breaststroke. The strokes were taught according to the methods prescribed by the American Red Cross for swimming and water safety programs. At the completion of the six-week period each subject in both experimental and control groups was re-tested on the Roloff Test Battery. The comparisons of the pre- and post-test results showed only one test. The balance stick test, having significant improvement at the .05 level of confidence for the experimental group. The improvement suggests that the selected training program which included the balance beam contributed to improvement in this area. Swimming proficiency was determined by three Red Cross Water Safety Instructors who observed and rated the swimming performance and arm placement of each subject. Four rating sessions were held at approximately two week intervals. The instructors were not aware as to which students had received training to heighten body awareness. They attempted to evaluate group differences in arm placement during the performance of the elementary backstroke and the breast stroke. A comparison of the initial test scores for arm placement of the elementary backstroke showed no significant improvement at the .05 level of confidence. Yet, the Water Safety instructors agreed the the experimental group showed better action on arm movements and more precise placement of the arms during performance of the stroke than did the students of the control group. The results of the comparison of the initial test scores for arm placement of the breaststroke showed significant improvement at the .05 and.01 levels of confidence for the experimental group. The results of the final ratings conducted by the Water Safety Instructors in both the elementary backstroke and breast stroke were not significant, although the results of the elementary backstroke scores showed a noticeable improvement over the first rating, the Water Safety Instructors had commented that until th final rating session the experimental group had looked and performed much better than the control group in relation to arm placement. It appears that within the limitations of this investigation, that the kinesthetic program had some effect on improving arm placement of the selected swimming strokes. The improvement was more noticeable at the time the stroke was first introduced to the students. The results indicated that the program is worthy of further investigation.



Swimming, arm placement, backstroke, breaststroke, body awareness training, women's college swimming