In gymnastics, most skills incorporate rotations about one or more body axes. At present, the question remains open if factors such as lateral preference and/or vestibulo-spinal asymmetry are related to gymnast's rotational preference. Therefore, we sought to explore relationships in gymnast's rotation direction between different gymnastic skills. Furthermore, we sought to explore relationships between rotational preference, lateral preference, and vestibulo-spinal asymmetry. In the experiment n = 30 non-experts, n = 30 near-experts and n = 30 experts completed a rotational preference questionnaire, a lateral preference inventory, and the Unterberger-Fukuda Stepping Test. The results revealed, that near-experts and experts more often rotate rightward in the straight jump with a full turn when rotating leftward in the round-off and vice versa. The same relationship was found for experts when relating the rotation preference in the handstand with a full turn to the rotation preference in the straight jump with a full turn. Lateral preference was positively related to rotational preference in non-expert gymnasts, and vestibulo-spinal asymmetry was positively related to rotational preference in experts. We suggest, that gymnasts should explore their individual rotational preference by systematically practicing different skills with a different rotation direction, bearing in mind that a clearly developed structure in rotational preference between different skills may be appropriate to develop more complex skills in gymnastics.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.