538 NASPE Biomechanics Academy Forum: Pursuing Peculiar Paradoxes in Performance...One Foot at a Time

Friday, April 26, 2013: 10:15 AM-12:15 PM
Convention Center: 203A
NASPE/National Association for Sport and Physical Education
Presider: H. Scott Strohmeyer, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO
Speaker: Larry Abraham, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Research which examines physical performance has always fascinated me as a way to identify and explore fundamental questions about the coordination and regulation of movement. Throughout my career I have been particularly intrigued by a number of paradoxical observations related to skilled performance for which the underlying scientific factors are not clear. This presentation will describe four examples of initially counterintuitive experimental results which, when more carefully studied, can be explained in ways that offer a deeper understanding of fundamental biomechanical principles of motor coordination and performance. Drawing on research related to running, jumping, swimming, and ballet, all four examples focus attention on initially unexpected findings about the function of the foot as it affects whole body performance. The goals of this talk are to share the lessons learned about these specific paradoxes and to encourage continued exploration of this type of unexpected research finding.