Dexterity and Its Development

By Mark L. Latash; Michael T. Turvey et al. | Go to book overview

Essays 5
Levels of Construction of Movements

THE LEVEL OF TONE: LEVEL A

At a sign from the pilot, a parachutist climbed on a plane's wing. The wind was strong and gusty. The vast scenery below, filling the cup of the horizon up to its edges, seemed to tremble like springs. The instinctively clenched hands did not want to let go. The parachutist overcame his weakness, rolled himself into a ball, and dropped down.

The whine cut off like a shot fired. The man hit the soft pillows of air and dived like a swallow extending his body and tossing back his head.

He was experienced in delayed drops and calmly guarded himself against going into a spin, without any strain, just by moving his left arm. The body itself took the correct postures while the stopwatch counted the kilometers . . .

The sketch that starts this essay illustrates a rare example of Level A playing the role of the leading level. In an overwhelming majority of movements, Level A lets its younger brothers take the leading post but is itself never eliminated from action. Quite the opposite--one can hardly find movements that would not be based on this "background of all backgrounds." The fact that it is not readily obvious nicely fits the role of this level as a deep foundation for movements. Indeed, basements of buildings are also deeply concealed under the ground, and a savage or a child would not suspect their existence. This level plays a more or less purely defined leading role in those quick seconds of aerial phases of some (but not all) jumps: the starting jump, springboard jump into water, ski jump, and so forth. The rarity of its solo performances while the rest

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