The usefulness of kinematic norms for Paralympic sprinters
Scientific interest in athletics for the physically disabled has grown in popularity over the last decade. Many coaches believe that in order to perform optimally, athletes with physical disabilities should aim to perform like their able-bodied counterparts. If this is the case, then the same established biomechanical models that apply to able-bodied athletes should be used when analysing the performance of athletes with physical disabilities, in order to maximize their potential. In this study, the sprint biomechanics of paralympic athletes with selected physical disabilities were calculated from the sprint start and the first three strides and then compared to the established norms for the same interval. The coaching implications found from these differences were then calculated and the usefulness of using the able-bodied sprinting norms for athletes with physical disabilities was established. Although the physically disabled athletes did not fall perfectly into the range of able-bodied norms, the norms did help to highlight possible areas that could be improved upon, as well as highlighting areas of concern for the coaches of the physically disabled athletes. This study suggests possible solutions to the identified areas of concern based on evidence.
Keywords: Kinematics, disability sport, sprinting.
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