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Before animating your character it's always better to study the real movement first. This does not mean that you need to copy the action frame by frame. Straight copying a real action can look strangely lifeless, as animation is an art, not just a skill. You need to add your own degree of caricature and stylization into your animation to make it look believable.
The animator is aiming something more than mere imitation. Your characters are actors and as an animator you need to know how to create a performance. Get into the character and act like it, feel the situation he is going through.
The best reference for a human movement is you, yourself.
• Where are you putting your weight?
• Which part of the body is being used?
• What muscles are being stretched?
Time yourself using a stopwatch to get a sense of how fast or slow your puppet should move.
Go and watch people involved in motion activities such as doing a ballet dance or playing football. Study their action, body gesture. Drawing them in your sketchbook will help in improving your observation skills.