The Development of Motor Reaction Speed

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Motor reaction is a response to a sudden signal with particular movements or actions. There are two types of reaction time: Sensory stimuli and reaction time of mental processes. But, as it can be not only one but several simultaneous or successive stimuli, and, therefore, one or more possible reactions, so two types of time exist: The time of simple and time complex reaction. Complex reactions, in turn, are divided into reactions of choice and reactions to the moving object.

The speed of motor reaction can be used for almost any professional activity related to the performance of any motor actions. In the course of solving the following professional tasks, there are cases when it is required to respond to some signal with a minimum time delay. Modern technical systems, operator activities, for example, often require a quick response.

Responsiveness plays an important role in various martial arts used for the training of military personnel, law enforcement and various security forces. In single combat, there can be one or more simultaneous or successive actions of the opponent. To respond to them, one should be able to protect themself, avoid a punch or hold, move quickly to take an advantageous position, react with counterpunches, etc.

For simple reactions, a significant transfer of speed is typical. The training of various speed exercises improves the speed of simple reactions, and those whose reactions are fast in some situations will have the same reaction speed in others.

When performing intensive muscular work, some well-trained individuals experience a decrease of the time of simple motor reaction and an increase of the irritability of the neuromuscular apparatus.

Lesser-trained individuals experience an increase in reaction time, and a decrease of the irritability of the central nervous system.

After short-term intense muscular work, reaction time may decrease because of the weakening of inhibitory processes and the overstimulation of the central nervous system. Such conditions are usually accompanied by the disruption of small motor differentiation and reduces the efficiency of work.

Repeated disjoint and sensory methods are the most effective for focused development of the speed of simple motor reaction.

The repeated method occurs when trained actions are executed at maximum speed on a signal. The duration of these exercises should not exceed four to five seconds. It is recommended to perform 3-b repetitions of a training exercise in a 2-3 series.

The disjoint method includes analytical training of reaction speed in a more comfortable environment, as well as the speed of subsequent movements. For example, when improving the starting speed in sprinting, it can be used the following scheme of disjoint training method of reaction speed to the starting signal:

►At first sprint, the start is performed on command with the control of time in easy conditions (from a special starting block, downhill or with the help of a rubber tube stretched forward).

Then, a 10-20 sprint is performed independently without a command, but with control of running time to practice the starting acceleration.

Finally, the group start is performed on 20-50 m, responding to movement of one of the participants of the race. "Leader" is changed in turn in each race.

The sensory method is based on the close connection between the speed of response and the ability to distinguish micro intervals. This method is aimed to develop the ability to distinguish between periods of tenths and even hundredths of a second. Training according to this method is divided into three stages:

A sportsman performs motor actions with the maximum speed. After each attempt, the trainer tells the time of the exercise.

The initial motor actions are repeated, but the sportsmen estimate the time of their performance according to their own perception, and then compare their results with the real time of exercise. Constant comparison of their perceptions with the actual time of performance of exercises improves the accuracy of time perception.

They should perform the exercise with different predetermined speeds. The result is monitored and compared. By doing so, they learn how to control the responsiveness.

The complexity of disjoint and the sensory methods of training of responsiveness is that to the implementation of certain technical means is required: An electronic stopwatch with automatic registration of the beginning and end of a task on command and without.

In everyday life, we often have to deal with complex reactions, to perform which we should:

Estimate the situation adequately.

Make the required motor decision.

Find the best way to fulfill the decision. It should be remembered that the more solutions exist to resolve a motor task, the more difficult it is to make a decision and more time is required to react. The time of a complex reaction, the minimal, if it’s motor component is improved significantly.