Qualitative Analysis

The examples that illustrate the application of the principles of biomechanics in the solution of human movement problems in this book will be based on qualitative analyses. Research has shown that general principles of biomechanics provide a useful structure for qualitative analysis of human movement (Johnson, 1990; Matanin, 1993; Nielsen & Beauchamp, 1992; Williams & Tannehill, 1999; Wilkinson, 1996). Quantitative biomechanical analysis can also be used, but most kinesiology professionals will primarily be using qualitative analyses of movement rather than quantitative bio-mechanical analyses.

There are several models of qualitative analysis of human movement. Traditionally, kinesiology professionals have used a simple error detection and correction approach to qualitative analysis. Here the analyst relies on a mental image of the correct technique to identify "errors" in the performance and provide a correction. This approach has several negative consequences and is too simplistic a model for professional judgments (Knudson & Morrison, 2002). The application of the principles of biomechanics is illustrated in the present book using a more comprehensive vision of qualitative analysis than the simple error detection/correction of the past. This text uses the Knudson and Morrison (2002) model of qualitative analysis (Figure 2.9). This model provides a simple four-task structure: preparation, observation, evaluation/diagnosis, and intervention. This model of qualitative analysis is equally relevant to athletic or clinical applications of biomechanics to improving human movement.

In the preparation task of qualitative analysis the professional gathers relevant kinesiology knowledge about the activity, the performer, and then selects an observational strategy. In the observation task the analyst executes the observational strategy

Preparation

Preparation

Evaluation/Diagnosis

Figure 2.9. The four-task model of qualitative analysis. Adapted from Knudson and Morrison (2002).

Evaluation/Diagnosis

Figure 2.9. The four-task model of qualitative analysis. Adapted from Knudson and Morrison (2002).

to gather all relevant sensory information about the performance of the movement. The third task of qualitative analysis has two difficult components: evaluation and then diagnosis of performance. In evaluation the analyst identifies strengths and weaknesses of performance. Diagnosis involves the prioritizing of the potential interventions to separate causes of poor performance from minor or symptomatic weaknesses. Intervention is the last task of qualitative analysis. In this task the professional executes some action on behalf of the performer. Often in live qualitative analysis, the analyst will return immediately to the observation task to monitor the intervention and the mover's progress.

system. Kinematics involves the description of the motion, while kinetics focuses on the forces that created the motion. There are many biomechanical variables and they can be classified as either scalars or vectors. Despite the precision of quantitative biomechanics, most kinesiology professionals apply biomechanics at a qualitative or conceptual level. The nine principles of biome-chanics that can be used to apply biome-chanics knowledge in professional practice are Force-Motion, Force-Time, Inertia, Range of Motion, Balance, Coordination Continuum, Segmental Interaction, Optimal Projection, and Spin. These nine principles can be applied using a comprehensive model (Knudson & Morrison, 2002) of qualitative analysis.

Application: Quantitative Analysis

An athletic trainer is planning a qualitative analysis of the lower-extremity muscular function of an athlete finishing up an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rehabilitation program. The trainer has run the athlete through the rehabilitation program, but wants a more functional evaluation of the athlete's ability and readiness for play. The athlete will be doing several drills, including multiple one-legged hops and squats, shuttle runs, landings, jumps, and lateral cutting movements. For the preparation task of qualitative analysis, give examples of research or biomechanical principles that you think would be relevant to analyzing the athlete's ability to prevent damage to the ACL. Is there a task of qualitative analysis that more heavily relies on biomechan-ics than other sport sciences?

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