Influences of Synchronized Metronome Training on Soccer Players' Timing Ability, Performance Accuracy, and Lower-Limb Kinematics
Frontiers in Psychology
Planning and performance of all complex movement requires timing, integration, and coordination between sensory-perception and motor production to be successful. Despite this, there is limited research into "if" and "how" timing training may influence movement performance in athletes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of synchronized metronome training (SMT) on sensorimotor timing ability, and in view of that, if improved timing may be transferred to lower-limb movement
... planning, precision performance, and kinematics. The sample consisted of 24 female elite- and semi-elite soccer players, randomly assigned to receive SMT and a control group. The SMT group received 12 sessions of Interactive Metronome® (IM) training over 4 weeks. At pre- and post-test, timing-precision was assessed through hand and feet movement synchronization with rhythmic sound; and leg-movements performance accuracy, duration, and kinematics were recorded during embodied high cognitive-load stepping task (6 trials×20 s) by use of a optoelectronic motion capture system. Pre- to post-test comparisons showed significant timing improvements as an effect of the IM training. Significant pre- to post-test improvements on the stepping task performance were seen in an increasing number of accurate foot taps during the stepping task sequence and by shorter duration for the SMT-group only. No evident pre- to post-test effects of SMT on the kinematic parameters investigated were found. These findings signify that the guided attention and working-memory functioning may be positively affected by SMT training; thereby, resulting in better motor planning, performance, and movement precision. Still, independent of group and test-occasion, significant correlations were found between the participants' outcome performance differences and the kinematic parameters. It was found that a decreasing 3D movement distance and less segmented movements correlating negatively, and increasing velocity (speed) positively, with accuracy and performance duration, respectively. These findings are likely associated with inter-individual variations in the nature of higher-order cognitive processing capacity due to the highly cognitive demanding stepping task.