Understanding Biomechanics for Physical Education and Sports

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9780071247733: Understanding Biomechanics for Physical Education and Sports

Movements of the human body are produced by the contraction of muscles. However, these movements are also influenced by external forces such as gravity, friction, fluid resistance and reaction forces that are evoked through ground contact or upon impact with other bodies. The study of these physical quantities lies within a branch of physics known as mechanics. Specifically in sports biomechanics, one applies the principles of mechanics in the analysis of human movement. Such an approach will benefit professionals in the health, fitness, sports and coaching industries as they will be better able to answer fundamental questions such as:

  • Which technique is best?
  • Is a technique appropriate to the participant or is it specific to the elite athlete?
  • What is wrong with a performance?
  • How should one correct a technique

In most cases, a brief consideration of the anatomical and mechanical factors that contribute to the movement is sufficient to enable the practitioner to perform a valid qualitative analysis to resolve these problems and not resort to guesswork. If pursued further, there are more powerful tools of quantitative analysis that can be used to resolve problems of greater complexity or even general problems that are recurrently faced by the practitioner.

Hence, the purpose of this book is to help physical education teachers, sports coaches, athletes and trainers understand physical characteristics of human motion and be better able to discuss and explain the causes of motion, based on a sound understanding of the mechanical principles underlying human movement.

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About the Author:

Michael Koh pursued his doctorate in sports biomechanics, on a scholarship from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, at the University of Western Australia where he graduated in 2001. He has a strong interest in coach development and coaching and has lectured in the National Coaching Accreditation Programme since 1997. He is presently a member of the Singapore Sports Council NCAP Review Panel. Formerly a gymnastics coach in the UK, and trained as a physical education teacher at Loughborough University (UK), he holds a British Amateur Gymnastics Association Levels 2, 3 and 4 Certification. He is an experienced PE teacher and a former head of department and vice-principal. Between July 2002 and March 2004, Dr. Koh served as the co-chairman of the South East Asian Games Preparation Committee for Gymnastics. During his tenure, Singapore won a historic silver medal in the team event for the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, as well as two individual silver medals and a bronze. Presently, Dr. Koh teaches sports biomechanics, movement education and gymnastics at the PE and Sports Science division at the National Institute of Education. His research interest lies in the analysis and simulation of human movement, gait analysis, applied sports biomechanics and teaching movement skills. He is actively engaged in research and his work is published in reputable internationally peer-reviewed journals.

John Tan taught mathematics, science and physical education in various schools in Singapore prior to joining the National Institute of Education (NIE). Besides teaching, he is also involved in badminton, judo, track and field coaching. He was also a national high jump coach from 1993 to 1994 and 1997 to 2000. In 1994, he was awarded a scholarship by NIE to pursue a doctorate at Loughborough University, UK. His doctoral studies, completed in 1997, were in image analysis and computer simulation of high jumping movement. Dr. Tan has been involved in coach education in the Singapore Sports Council’s National Coaching Acreditation Programme (NCAP) since 1990.

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