PERSPECTIVES IN METHODOLOGY IN BIOMECHANICS OF SPORT

  • W. Baumann

Abstract

1. OBJECTIVES OF BIOMECHANICS OF SPORT Biomechanics is mechanics applied to biological systems. It deals with the forces acting on and within these systems and the produced effects, the mechanical behaviour. In order to understand and to derive the laws and principles underlying the human movement the fundamental relations between structure and function be investigated. Biomechanics of sports is predominantly directed towards practical applications. The main objectives may be defined as follows: 1. improvement of performance and 2. prevention of excessive loads on the locomotor apparatus. These features are influenced by 1. sports techniques, 2. the physical condition of the athletes and 3. external conditions. 2. METHODOLOGY IN BIOMECHANICS OF SPORT. The scientific methodology playing a major role in biomechanics will be sketched and discussed briefly concerning both the state of the art and future perspectives. The discussion will follow according the subdivision: 1. the measuring techniques (instruments), 2. the modelling theory (theory), 3. the transfer procedures (application) The actual state of the art in these areas in general biomechanics or in related scientific fields is the result of a rapid technological development in the last decade. However the possibilities are not fully utilized in many practical applications in biomechanics of sport. Sometimes, for the sake of simplicity or because of other reasons, serious restrictions are stipulated on the system. model or instrumentation. These simplifications very openly yield results of limited value. The interpretation of results and the transfer into practice is the touchstone of the scientific work. The sometimes discussed "gap" between theory and practice indicates the need of improved procedures concerning the scientific approach and the communication between both sides. Now and then a pragmatic approach makes it necessary that biomechanics of sport has to be confined to a technical service just providing additional quantitative information in the process of teaching and coaching. 3. FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS In order to make biomechanics more effective in practical applications, the following developments have been started already or will happen in the near future: 1. an increased and improved exploitation of the theoretical tools and the measuring devices, 2. the use of expert systems to combine numerical biomechanical findings with empirical know ledge from different sources, 3. the common usage of computer power and simulation models for presentation of results, communication and computer aided learning, 4. the introduction of more complex strategies and tools like fuzzylogic sets and others.