2014, Volume 10, Issue 1

Usefulness of the psychomotor tests for distinguishing the skill levels among older and younger judo athletes

Jan Supiński1, Zbigniew Obmiński2, Rafał Kubacki1, Jerzy Kosa1, Waldemar Moska3

1Department of Didactics of Sports, Academy of Physical Education, Wrocław, Poland
2Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Sport, Warsaw, Poland
3Department of Tourism and Recreation, Academy of Physical Education and Sport, Gdańsk, Poland

Author for correspondence: Jan Supiński; Department of Didactics of Sports, Academy of Physical Education, Wrocław, Poland; email: jan.supinski[at]awf.wroc.pl

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Background and Study Aim: Cognitive functions of combat sports contestants, such as visual perception, information processing, divisibility of attention and eye-limb co-ordination play an important role in solving the problems related to tactic and strategy during a fight. The purpose of this study was to answer the question: whether performance level of the two various psycho-motor tests is linked to the sport levels among male judo athletes.
Material and Methods: The psycho-motor studies involved four groups of male judo athletes. Two groups were composed of highly skilled senior members of the Polish Judo National Team (HSS, n = 18, age 22.7±3.0) and junior members of the Polish Judo National Team (HSJ, n = 24, age17.8±0.9), who were more successful than the others and therefore were called up to the Polish Judo National Team. Two other groups were less successful and possessed lower skills, i.e. seniors (LSS, n = 24, age 23.2±3.3) and juniors (LSJ, n = 26, age 18.8±0.6), who were not selected into the national teams. All groups were examined at rest state in the forenoon at the same period of the training season.
Results: The older groups (HSS+LSS) showed better performance of the psychomotor tests than the younger ones (HSJ+LSJ). Likewise, the highly skilled groups (HSS+HSJ) obtained better scores than the lower skilled ones (LSS+LSJ). Only highly skilled groups and the entire group showed significant correlations between age or training experience and psychomotor skills.
Conclusions: The psychomotor abilities were better among older athletes allowing to formulate two competing hypotheses suggesting that: (1) long-term judo training (assuming the similarity of the characteristics of all subjects before the start of the training) has a positive effect on the development of cognitive functions of a human, which translates both into high athletic performance and improvement of motor safety during daily physical activity; (2) high athletic performance in judo is conditioned by an optimal level of psychomotor abilities.

Key words: cognitive functions, psycho-motor abilities, sport achievements, training experience