Physical Education KS3 & 4 / GCSE: Bio-mechanical analysis in sprinting

Amy Spencer is a young sprint athlete who, with her father/coach, is seeking to improve her sprint start.

Amy, at the time was combining A-Levels and athletics and had been an English Schools 200m Junior Champion at age 14.

Data gathered from a Motion Capture Analysis System is analysed to improve a sprint start.

A special suit with reflective spheres is worn by Amy so cameras can capture the movement, and a force platform to measure power are used.

Sports scientists convert the video footage into the digital image of a skeleton and this information combined with the use of the force platform data are analysed to improve Amy’s sprint start.

Information shared with Amy and her coach helps to improve her performance and further advice is provided for future competition.

This clip is from the series Curriculum Collections.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3: This could be used to stimulate an investigation into the sprint start in core PE lessons.

The clip can be shown whilst pupils are changing.

It can be used to develop the basic concept that minor adjustments in the position of the limbs can result in improved performance.

Pupils can be tasked to discuss, practice and analyse their performances in pairs or small groups.

Handheld stopwatches or for example ‘SprintTimer – Photo Finish’ APPs can be used to record the sprint start time over 10m with pupils changing their sprint start position every 5-10 attempts.

Results can be analysed to determine everyone’s most effective start position.

The results can be discussed in terms of their reliability overtime in relation to pupil growth and development.

Opportunity to discuss and further analyse the results could be developed in Maths or science classes.

Key Stage 4: Optimal angles of the front and rear legs; the force produced at different positions; the position of the hips, the relationship between different adjustments and sprint start performance or; the various calculations used, it can still be used to introduce the topic of biomechanical analysis to GCSE pupils.

This can be during a practical performance if athletics sprinting is the selected activity; and even combined with the areas of anatomy and physiology, and/or performance analysis.

It can also be shown in a classroom based lesson to promote discussion about how the data might have informed adjustments that were made.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Physical Education at KS3 and KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.