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Posture and Sports Mechanics

In a 200m running race, who is most likely to win, the athlete with the fastest acceleration or the athlete with the highest top speed? In order to get the answer for above question, one should understand mechanics. To get the answer let’s set up an experiment. First, let’s set up a timing system to measure the time it takes for our well trained runner to run 200m. Let’s also set up the system to record the time to 50 m (acceleration time), the time between 50 and 150 m (maximum speed time) and the time from 150 to 200 m (deceleration time, since this is the part of the race where athletes suffer fatigue and often fail to maintain their top running speed). Let’s record all these and see how running time might differ if the athlete ran each section more quickly or slowly. Such manipulation to gauge the impact of altering some part of a performance, is called modelling. From the results, looking at the average speeds and total times for running 200 m, it’s seen that improving the maximum speed phase by 3% has a more profound effect on the average speed, and therefore on the total time, than improving any other individual.

Mechanics is the field of science concerned with the study of the motion of objects; bio mechanics is the study of mechanics in biological systems. The specialized field one work in sports is sports bio mechanics.

In general, humans are poor athletes, that ants can carry ten times their own weight, cheetahs can run at over 100kmph, fleas can jump hundreds of times their own height, whales can migrate thousands of Kilo meters with little apparent rest. This has always amazed everyone because while other animal species might have one or two incredible physical abilities, humans seem to be able to do just about everything. some humans can lift 260kgs overhead, some can run at over 40 Km/h, some can run for days with little rest, some can swim long stretches of water, some can jump over a bar that one can barely touch on one’s tiptoes.. Humans are the all rounders of animal world and have competitive spirit which is unique to humans. Physiologically athletes do use about the same amount of oxygen in their muscles, they don’t breathe more rapidly nor do their hearts beat quickly, all these aroused because of their efforts and final hard push. So how have these athletes been able to beat world records.

The answer lies in the application of proper posture and mechanics that underlies sporting performance. Athletes manipulate their bodies during sports so that they can eke out every last centimeter and organize their body movements to apply forces with high magnitudes and in perfectly the right direction to get the desired result. So it is necessary to work on proper mechanics while practicing technique along with fitness levels.

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