Original Research

The effect of synchronised metronome training: A case study in a single leg, below knee Paralympic sprinter

Barry S. Andrews, Elizabeth S. Bressan
African Journal of Disability | Vol 7 | a367 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v7i0.367 | © 2018 Barry S. Andrews, Elizabeth S. Bressan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2017 | Published: 23 May 2018

About the author(s)

Barry S. Andrews, Department of Sport, Recreation, and Exercise Science, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Elizabeth S. Bressan, Centre for Human Performance Science, Stellenbosch University,, South Africa


Background: To optimise sprint performance, one needs to understand how motor control affects motor performance. Researchers have proposed that the Dynamic Systems Theory be adopted for explaining motor performance, skill acquisition and the development of pedagogical methods. Within this theory, the individual is seen as a complex system that functions as the interaction of many sub-systems. Entrained movements would be characterised by optimal sequencing, timing and grading of muscle activation. One of the identified control parameters for running is the rhythm in the coordination pattern.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were twofold: firstly to investigate whether 6 weeks of timing and rhythmicity training using the computer-based Interactive Metronome™ (IM™) system improves motor timing and rhythmicity, and secondly to investigate whether such effects of IM™ influence the kinematic variables of a sprint.

Methods: This study followed a semi-quantitative analysis case study approach using a Paralympic sprinter with a single below knee amputation participated in this study. Data for acceleration and maximal running velocity phases were collected using video recorders.

Results and conclusions: As found by previous research, the IM™ programme improved the motor timing and rhythmicity of the athlete. However, in contrast to previous research, only minimal improvements, non-significant improvements, were seen in the actual motor performance. This athlete was an older more established athlete and it is therefore recommended that these types of programmes should be followed by young participants in the more fundamental phases of their movement development, to show best results.


Synchronised Metronome Training; Paralympic; Sprinting; Kinematics; Motor Control


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