Original Research

The effects of visual skills on Rhythmic Gymnastics*

K. Potgieter, J. T. Ferreira
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 68, No 3 | a159 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v68i3.159 | © 2009 K. Potgieter, J. T. Ferreira | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 2009 | Published: 13 December 2009

About the author(s)

K. Potgieter, Academy of Sports Vision, Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
J. T. Ferreira, Academy of Sports Vision, Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

Vision plays an important role in all sports, but has often been neglected when evaluating the performance of athletes. Rhythmic Gymnastics is a dynamic and compelling sport for girls that challenge body and mind. It is a relatively new Olympic sport that requires performance according to a set standard. The goals of this study were to identify the visual skills important to rhythmic gymnasts and to explore whether these skills could be improved by means of an intervention programme. This study further aims to provide sport specific visual performance standards to the gymnasts. Little research is available connecting vision to this sport and it was seen as a good opportunity to make a difference. After testing the visual skills of a sample of 62 rhythmic gymnasts (divided randomly into two comparable groups of 32 for the experimental group and 30 for control group) the experimental groupfollowed a sports specific intervention programme
while the control group adhered to their regular training schedule.  The visual skills trained by the intervention programme were re-tested on both the experimental and control groups of gymnasts. The results obtained from the post-intervention meas-
urements were analyzed and compared to the original data obtained from the pre-intervention measurements of both the groups of gymnasts. Results from competitions were obtained and compared to establish the effect of the intervention programme.
It is concluded that the software skills of the visual system plays an important role in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics. These skills can be improved by implementing a sustainable visual training programme for the training of rhythmic gymnasts.


Keywords

sports vision; rhythmic gymnastics; visual skills.

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