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Kinetic vs. Kinematic Sequence: Why it Matters in Sports

Kinematic = the mechanics of motion without reference to the forces causing that motion – so only from a geometrical point of view.  This is the displacement and velocity of your body’s segments and joints.

Kinetic = the action of forces in producing or changing motion. This takes into account the force of various interacting objects and how they react with one another.

Generating speed and power with accuracy and consistency is crucial to success in any sport.  Whether it is throwing, kicking, jumping, running, swinging…executing at a high level of consistently requires well-tuned coordination and strength.  Elite athletes can harness an incredible amount of power to execute their respective skills almost the same way every time.  So how are these athletes able to do this while others of comparable size and strength cannot?  The answer: kinetic and kinematic sequence. Let’s start from the top, or rather, the bottom – the ground.

Kinetic and Kinematic Sequences Begin at the Ground

The ground is the primary source of power for just about every skill.  Newton’s third law states that with every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  That initial action is the athlete applying force into the ground, and the ground responds by applying that force back onto the athlete.  The athlete takes this ground force and uses individual segments to create unique coordinative patterns that transfer that force to a desired end point (hitting hand, kicking foot, etc.).

How well we move our segments at a specific speed and time create an ideal movement pattern that is referred to as a Kinematic Sequence.  When your kinematic sequence is correct, you are in the right biomechanical window to achieve peak skill execution because your body has maximized the amount of ground force that is transferred through to your desired point. When your sequence is off, this leads to inconsistency, inaccuracy, injury, and overall poor performance.

figure showing kinetic sequence reacting against the ground

Analyze and Optimize Kinetic Sequence to Achieve Peak Performance

Let’s go back to the ground. How you apply force into the ground dictates much of what will become of your movement.   Which muscle groups are activating? How quickly? In what order?  This pattern is your Kinetic Sequence.  It is how your body is absorbing the ground force and transferring it to the next segment.  Your body’s ability to transfer this force in a specific way plays a huge role in the successful execution of your skills.

Each skill demands a unique kinetic and kinematic sequence.  The thing is…you cannot see it with the naked eye. Many coaches use 2D video analysis and understand the kinematic patterns that lead to a successful execution. But ultimately, if we can measure it, why play the guessing game?

Introducing Gears Sports: the most advanced motion capture and sports biomechanics system on the market. We track every little angle, twitch and nuance so that players can analyze and optimize their movement. Peak performance in sports waits at the finish line. Want to try it out? Check out our locations and send us a note.

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