Coordination and Balance: What they are and their Importance in Sport

Coordination and Balance: What they are and their Importance in Sport

Coordination and balance are two essential qualities in the performance of all actions that involve movement and require adequate body control.

Often the importance of working on these skills goes unnoticed, as they don’t stand out in physical appearance, but are associated with motor skills and intelligence.

However, their relevance in the performance of any physical and sporting activity is irrefutable.

What are coordination and balance?

Coordination is understood, in general terms, as the ability of the human body to unify in a synchronised manner the work of various muscles in the execution of an intentional action.

What are coordination and balance?

This means that the movement is performed by the performer at will, planning it previously, with the active participation of several muscles that intervene to carry it out, with synchrony and synergy.

On the other hand, balance is defined as the capacity that allows us to maintain a position in space, regardless of the movement performed.

Thus, it constitutes our natural support in the face of the law of gravity.

What is the relationship between coordination and balance?

Coordination and balance are intrinsic to movement.

It is impossible to carry out any action without the correct intervention of both factors.

In this way, one and the other complement each other to achieve the effectiveness of the movement in any part of the body.

What are they for?

Coordination and balance are the fundamental basis of body control. [/box

The appropriate development of these skills will involve the acquisition of multiple motor behaviours of use in different areas of personal activity:

  • They promote greater performance in sport and in almost all activities.
  • They correct postural problems, as balance encompasses postural dominance.
  • They prevent the occurrence of falls, due to greater control of movements and awareness of our body.
  • They improve reflexes.
  • They complement other abilities, such as strength, flexibility, speed.
  • They contribute to the body acting together and efficiently.

What are coordination and balance good for

Balance acts for the maintenance of a position against the force of gravity, consequently it generates stability in the body.

Coordination, on the other hand, makes possible the movement of the muscles involved in a performance, in order to achieve the best possible adaptation.

Types of coordination

Coordination can be classified according to the body parts involved in the movement, as follows:

  • Dynamic Coordination: is characterised by extensive muscular involvement.
  • Oculo-Segmental Coordination: links the visual field and the motor skills of any segment of the body. We have the Oculo-manual and the Oculo-pedic.
  • Oculo-manual: referring to the ability to use the hands according to what we perceive with the eyes, associated with fine motor skills.
  • Oculo-pedic: refers to the ability to use the feet according to what we perceive with our eyes. It is characteristic of gross motor skills.

Benefits of coordination and balance in sport

Coordination and balance play a decisive role for effective performance in sporting activities.

The coordination facilitates the performance of ordered and directed movements, increasing the basic physical capacities, helping the body to act together, achieving the correct technical execution of an exercise or routine.

Benefits of coordination and balance in sport

In sport, coordination is evidenced by a chain of structured and sequential movements that allow the professional execution of actions by the athlete.

As for balance, improvements in this ability increase performance in all sporting disciplines.

Lateral press-up

It’s decisive in achieving greater agility, fluidity of our movements, and even helps in the prevention of injuries.

With the right combination of coordination and balance, an athlete can excel successfully in his or her sport:

  • Generates better results, as a coordinated movement meets the criteria of efficiency, harmony and precision.
  • Executes the action with less expenditure of energy and time.
  • Avoid unnecessary muscle contractions.

What are coordination and balance exercises?

Coordination and balance exercises are a key complement to your physical activity, as they help to strengthen the neuromuscular system, increase stability and allow for harmonious mobility.

Here are some exercises that are easy to incorporate into your routine.

Squats and lunges

  • We stand with our feet parallel, hip-width apart.
  • Our arms are placed alongside the body.
  • We’ll lower with our knees parallel, without going over the tips of our toes, then we’ll raise our arms until we place them at eye level.
  • We hold down for five seconds and then come back up. We’ll do between 8 and 10 repetitions.
For lunges, which we can perform on the spot or on the move, we’ll perform a relatively similar lowering but only with one leg and towards the front, forming a 90º angle in the forward knee.

Exercise in quadruped position

  • We get into a quadruped position, with the palms of our hands resting on a mat.
  • Arms shoulder-width apart and legs hip-width apart.
  • We raise our feet and one of our hands, supporting the weight of our body on our knees and the other hand.
Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and come back down. Perform 6 to 8 repetitions with each hand.

Exercise with heel raises

  • We stand with our feet parallel and our arms stretched along the body.
  • Inhale, and as you exhale, bring your arms in front of you, raising your heels.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds.
Return to the starting position, rest for 5 seconds and perform the exercise again. We’ll perform 10 repetitions.

Exercise with a support chair

For this exercise we’ll use a chair as a support.

  • We stand behind the chair with our right hand resting on the backrest.
  • Inhale, exhale, and then do a hip extension, bringing the left leg backwards, raising the foot slightly and bringing the left arm into the cross position.
We’ll hold between 5 and 10 seconds in the same position and return to the starting position. We’ll do between 6 and 8 repetitions with each leg.

Agility ladder

It’s not an expensive item, it’s easy to acquire, and it provides a wide range of exercises, such as: being able to cross from one side to the other, running, skipping, laterally coordinating the feet, etc.

Let’s not forget that all exercises on the bosu also improve our balance and proprioception. Jumps on it, turns, changes of plane…

Advice and recommendations

As you can see, balance and coordination are involved in all our activities, from walking, to dancing, or activities related to kinaesthetic awareness, etc.

Coordination is not something that is acquired from one day to the next, but a necessary training and of great importance both for daily life and to avoid injuries, as well as knowing how to move in a coordinated and easy way that avoids unnecessary effort.

Bibliography

  1. Temario oposición cuerpo maestros Educación física. Tema 7. Coordinación y equilibrio. Cuerpo de maestros función pública del Principado de Asturias.
  2. “Ejercicio terapéutico” Carolyn Kisner y Lynn Allen Colby 1996
  3. “La coordinación y el entrenamiento propioceptivo” Ulla Hafelinger 2010.
  4. Personal contributions and experience.

Related Entries

  • All about training on unstable surfaces in this post.
  • Do you want to know your mobility level? We recommend performing these tests for the upper and lower body.
  • What is Proprioception and how can you train it? Click here
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About María José García
María José García
María José has been connected to sport throughout her whole life. She has competed in several sport disciplines such as skating, swimming or gymnastics since she was a little girl.
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