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Chapter 7 Summary

  • Biomechanics can be used in many areas of sport and exercise: to improve sports performance through technique and equipment, to avoid sports injury by identifying safer techniques, and in the development of protective equipment.
  • It is also used in occupational injury prevention (ergonomics), for example, in the study of low back pain, injury rehabilitation, the reduction of physical or functional declines, improving flexibility and product design.
  • Sports biomechanics is the scientific study and evaluation of sports techniques and skills. Contemporary sports biomechanists play a number of different roles, including teaching, conducting research and consultancy.
  • Sports biomechanists have undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in either sport and exercise science or related disciplines, or move into the area having studied mainstream physics or mathematics. All practitioners should be accredited.
  • In the UK, the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) offer an accreditation programme involving 3 years of supervised experience.
  • Although sport science support is more accepted today than previously by coaches, athletes and their governing bodies, employment opportunities are still limited.
  • The greatest gains in the field of sports biomechanics are to be made by educating coaches, athletes, physical educators, strength and conditioning coaches, fitness instructors and physiotherapists in biomechanical principles. An application of these principles through interdisciplinarity is the way forward. This will allow these professionals to achieve their specific goals whether in a sport or exercise setting.