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At the conclusion of this chapter, the student should be able to:

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  • 1. Define kinesiology and explain its importance to the student of human motion.
  • 2. Describe the major components of a kinesiological analysis.
  • 3. Prepare a description of a selected motor skill, breaking it down into component phases and identifying starting and ending points.
  • 4. Determine the simultaneous-sequential nature of a variety of movement skills.
  • 5. Classify motor skills using the classification system presented.
  • 6. State the mechanical purpose of a variety of movement skills.
  • 7. Utilize methods of observation and palpation to identify the joints and basic muscle groups active in a movement skill.

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Kinesiology, as it is known in physical education, athletic training, physical therapy, orthopedics, and physical medicine, is the study of human movement from the point of view of the physical sciences. The study of the human body as a machine for the performance of work has its foundations in three major areas of study—namely, mechanics, anatomy, and physiology; more specifically, biomechanics, musculoskeletal anatomy, and neuromuscular physiology. The accumulated knowledge of these three fields forms the foundation for the study of human movement.

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Some authorities refer to kinesiology as a science in its own right; others claim that it should be called a study rather than a true science because the principles on which it is based are derived from basic sciences such as anatomy, physiology, and physics. In any event, its unique contribution is that it selects from many sciences those principles that are pertinent to human motion and systematizes their application. However it may be categorized, to the inquiring student it is a door opening into a whole new world of discovery and appreciation. Human motion, which most of us have taken for granted all our lives, is seen through new eyes. One who gives it any thought whatever cannot help being impressed not only by the beauty of human motion but also by its apparently infinite possibilities, its meaningfulness, its orderliness, its adaptability to the surrounding environment. Nothing is haphazard; nothing is left to chance. Every structure that participates in the movements of the body does so according to physical and physiological principles. The student of kinesiology, like the student of anatomy, physiology, psychology, genetics, and other biological sciences, can only look with wonder at the intricate mechanism of the body.

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Reasons for Study

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Kinesiology is not studied merely to incite our interest in a fascinating and mysterious subject. It has a useful purpose. We study kinesiology to improve performance by learning how to analyze the movements of the human body and to discover their underlying principles. The study of kinesiology is an essential part of the educational experience of students of physical education, dance, sport, and physical medicine. Knowledge of kinesiology has a threefold purpose for practitioners in any of these fields. It should enable them to help their students or clients ...

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