The control of non-twisting somersaults using configuration changes

2013-01-22T13:57:01Z (GMT) by Fred Yeadon E.C. Mikulcik
Theoretical analyses have shown that rotations of a rigid body about the principal axis cor- responding to the intermediate principal moment of inertia are unstable. This poses a potential problem for gymnasts who perform double somersaults without twist in a layout configuration. A computer simulation model is used to investigate configurational strategies for controlling such move- ments. It is shown that the build up of twist is not reduced by abduction of the arms but can be controlled by adopting a configuration with sufficient body flexion. For somersaults with a straight body, control in the form of asymmetrical arm abduction accelerations, based upon twist angular velocity and angular acceleration, is capable of preventing a build up of twist providing that the feedback time delay is less than a quarter somersault.