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

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  • 1. Identify and classify motor skills belonging in the categories that fall under the heading of moving one’s body on the ground or on another resistant surface.
  • 2. Describe the anatomical and mechanical nature of motor skills representative of the major types of locomotor patterns.
  • 3. Name and state anatomical and mechanical principles that apply to the locomotor patterns of walking, running, and jumping.
  • 4. Evaluate performance of motor skills representative of the major locomotor patterns in terms of application of the related kinesiological principles.
  • 5. Analyze the performance of someone performing a locomotor skill. Follow the kinesiological analysis outline presented in Chapter 1.

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Locomotion is the act of moving from place to place by means of one’s own mechanisms or power. Locomotion in human beings is the result of the action of the body levers propelling the body. Ordinarily the propulsion is provided by the lower extremities, but it is occasionally provided by all four extremities, as in creeping, or by the upper extremities alone, as in walking on the hands or in suspension. It may involve the use of wheels, blades, skis, or other equipment attached to the feet, or it may involve a vehicle such as a bicycle or wheelchair, or a small craft such as a boat, canoe, or surfboard propelled by means of the arms or legs, with or without the use of a propelling implement such as oars, paddles, or poles. Locomotion may be on the ground or in the water but, at the present writing, not in the air without support. In all locomotion there must be a resistance against which the body part can push to generate a reaction force if motion is to occur.

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All forms of locomotion performed on the ground constitute the category of motor skills of moving one’s body on the ground or on other resistant surfaces.

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On Foot

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  • Walking
  • Running
  • Racewalking
  • Climbing (inclined plane, stairs, ladder)
  • Descending (inclined plane, stairs, ladder)
  • Jumping, leaping, hurdling
  • Skipping, hopping, sliding, sidestepping
  • Dance steps
  • Snowshoeing
  • Stilt walking

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On Wheels, Blades, and Runners

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  • Bicycling
  • Skating and skateboarding
  • Alpine and cross-country skiing and snowboarding
  • Ice skating
  • Wheelchair propulsion

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On Hands and/or Knees or Hands and Feet

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  • Walking on hands
  • Creeping and crawling
  • Crutch walking
  • Stunts

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Rotary Locomotion

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  • Cartwheels
  • Handsprings
  • Rolls

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To the casual observer, the movements involved in walking appear to be relatively simple, yet kinesiological analysis shows them to be exceedingly complex. The dovetailing of muscular action and the synchronization of joint movements beautifully illustrate the teamwork present in all bodily movements. Not even the most complex piece of machinery designed by the most skillful engineers exceeds the movements of the human machine in perfection ...

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