Friday, April 22, 2016

Force of Human Propulsion

The force of human propulsion can be measured with lab equipment. Consider the graphs below, excerpted from a book series by Schottenbauer Publishing.

Discussion Questions
1. Describe the motion of the athlete in the x and y axes, using words.
2. How many complete steps are shown in the graph?
3. How many complete steps are taken by each foot?
4. What do the minimum and maximum values on the graph represent?
5. Is it possible to calculate the mass of the jogger based on the information in the graph? Why or why not?
6. Would the force in the x direction be larger if the person were jogging forward?
7. Would the force in the y direction be larger if the person were jogging forward?
8. Would the force on the plate be smaller or larger if the person were walking? Running? Jumping?

Discussion Questions
1. Describe the motion of the athlete in the x and y axes, using words.
2. How many complete steps are shown in the graph?
3. How many complete steps are taken by each foot?
4. What do the minimum and maximum values on the graph represent?
5. Is it possible to calculate the mass of the walker based on the information in the graph? Why or why not?
6. Would the force in the x direction be larger if the person were walking forward?
7. Would the force in the y direction be larger if the person were walking forward?
8. Would the force on the plate be smaller or larger if the person were jogging? Running? Jumping?

Discussion Questions
1. Describe the motion of the athlete in the x and y axes, using words.
2. How many complete steps are shown in the graph?
3. How many complete steps are taken by each foot?
4. What do the minimum and maximum values on the graph represent?
5. Is it possible to calculate the mass of the athlete based on the information in the graph? Why or why not?
6. Would the force in the x direction be larger if the person were moving forward?
7. Would the force in the y direction be larger if the person were moving forward?
8. Would the force on the plate be smaller or larger if the person were walking? Jogging? Running? Jumping?

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Science of Track & Field Memorabilia

Celebrate the sport science of track and field with memorabilia from Zazzle! Colorful graphs from Schottenbauer Publishing are featured on these mugs, magnets, keychains, & postcards. Direct links to each collection are included below:

A variety of other sport science collections are also available from Schottenbauer Publishing on Zazzle, which features regular sales on most items.

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Free Education Resources

Friday, January 1, 2016

Geometry of Track & Field Events

Geometry is essential for track and field. Take a moment to write down a few ways in which geometry affects the precision of the sport.

Discussion Questions
1. What data is necessary to collect in order to understand the role of geometry in track and field events, including running, hurdles, long jump, triple hump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, javelin, discus, and hammer?
2. What spatial perspectives and/or mathematical planes are important for precision?

One figure in The Geometry of Summer Olympic Sports, centered below, features a sprinter on the track.

Discussion Questions
1. What angles can be measured on the diagram, in order to understand the accuracy of technique?
2. Is any essential information missing from the picture? What is necessary in order to measure that information?

Geometry diagrams featuring track and field events are available in the following book from Schottenbauer Publishing:

Geometry Workbooks

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Effects of Technique in Shot Put Throws

Correct technique is essential to success in track and field events, but the reasoning behind the skills may not always be obvious to students. For example, consider the following two graphs, comparing shot put throw techniques. The graphs are excerpted from The Science of Track & Field, Volume 3 from Schottenbauer Publishing. Both graphs show a throw from standing position, but the first graph includes a proper launching technique upwards and outwards from the shoulder, while the second graph shows a throw consisting almost entirely of horizontal rotation. Both throws include minimal turning at the waist.

Discussion Questions
1. For each graph, make a table with the following (x, y) coordinates: (a) initial position, (b) furthest point of recoil, (c) approximate point of release, (d) apex of trajectory, (e) end of trajectory. Mark points (b) and (c) with a horizontal line on the graphs, for visual reference.
2. Calculate the following and add them to the table: (a) horizontal length of active throw, (b) horizontal length of trajectory, (c) vertical height of trajectory to apex, (d) vertical height of trajectory from apex to ground, (e) time of trajectory from release to ground, (f) average horizontal speed of the throw, (g) average vertical speed of the throw, (h) average horizontal speed of the trajectory.
3. Which throw involves a faster horizontal speed of throw?
4. Which throw results in a higher apex of trajectory, as measured from point of release? As measured from apex to end point?
5. Which throw is more successful? Why?
6. Why does the red line go down in the first graph, and up in the second graph?
7. Redraw the graphs so that the approximate furthest point of recoil begins at (0,0), and both throws are in the same direction, from left to right.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Correct versus Incorrect Technique in Hammer Throw

One of the elucidating practices in laboratory work is the comparison of correct and incorrect technique in track and field. The athletic techniques which have been codified for each of the track and field events were refined by athletes, but the logic of using those techniques is not always obvious to the public.

For instance, consider the hammer throw. A traditional hammer throw involves a weighted ball on a long metal rod, with a handle for easy grasp. First, the hammer is swung upwards several times, gaining momentum. This may be in pendulum motion, or in circles at an angle to the ground. Then, the hammer is swung around in horizontal circles above the head, as the thrower takes three circular steps. Finally, the hammer is released, resulting in a forwards trajectory into the field.

The graphs below, excerpted from The Science of Track and Field: Volume 1 from Schottenbauer Publishing show differences between two types of hammer throws, contrasting and comparing incorrect and correct techniques in laboratory conditions.

Discussion Questions:
1. As measured by the accelerometer, in which direction is the centripetal force?
2. What is the average centripetal acceleration during the motion?
3. As measured by the accelerometer, which direction is vertical?
4. What is the average acceleration in the vertical direction during the motion? Is this acceleration equal to the acceleration due to gravity? Why or why not?
5. Draw a horizontal sketch of the wireless device in relation to the hammer motion. Label the axes on the device.
6. Draw a vertical sketch of the wireless device in relation to the hammer motion. Label the axes on the device.
7. Is the motion of the hammer entirely horizontal to the ground? How can this be determined?
8. In this graph, does the the arm move in relation to the torso? How can this be determined?

Discussion Questions:
1. Separate the graph into four sections, based on type of movement present. Label each section with one of the following: (a) Release, (b) Pendulum Motion, (c) At Rest, (d) Stepping Rotation.
2. Which of the four sections above is most similar to the first graph? How are these motions similar? How are they different?
3. For each section of the graph, what are the maximum and minimum forces? The maximum and minimum accelerations? Make a table, listing the four sections sequentially.
4. How many times is the hammer swung in pendulum motion? How is this indicated on the graph?
5. Are the pendulum swings only in one plane? Describe the motion.
6. Are the three circular steps shown in the graph? If so, how? Are any steps evident in the first graph above?
7. Are the circles perfectly horizontal to the ground? If not, what is the maximum variation in the vertical direction during the three steps?
8. Is the hammer released in a horizontal or vertical direction, or a combination of the two directions? What data from the graph indicate direction of the release?
9. What is the time of release of the hammer?
10. What is the height of the measurement device at release?
11. What occurs after release of the hammer?
12. Using data from the two graphs above, describe several potential benefits of correct hammer throw technique.
13. Using the graphs above, suggest potential results of using incorrect technique, such as: (a) Pendulum Motion Alone, (b) Circles Alone, or (c) Overhand Throw Style.
14. Compare and contrast the laboratory conditions used in the graphs above with real, Olympic hammer conditions. Do these conditions change any answers to the questions above?

Now, consider the theory of correct and incorrect hammer technique.

Discussion Questions:
1. What forces affect the hammer during the thrower's preparatory motions?
2. What forces affect the hammer at release?
3. What forces affect the hammer during its free trajectory?
4. Why are circular steps used when throwing hammer? Why not throw hammer from pendulum swings alone?
5. Why are repetitive motions used when throwing hammer? Why not throw hammer after one swing or circle?
6. If speed were equal, which release direction results in the longest throw distance? Several options to consider include: (a) horizontal, (b) vertical, (c) mostly horizontal, (d) mostly vertical, (e) equally horizontal and vertical.
7. What environmental conditions affect release of the hammer? Are these substantial?

Additional Information

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sprinting in a Graph

What does human motion look like in a graph? Volume 3 of The Science of Track & Field contains dot graphs tracing the motion of body parts as an amateur athlete engages in common track and field elements.

The following graphs are excerpted from The Science of Track & Field, Volume 3 (Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved).

Discussion Questions:
1. What information is contained in these graphs?
2. Is the person running right or left?
3. Do both legs go over a hurdle?
4. Which leg goes over a hurdle first?
5. What is the maximum height of each foot?
6. Identify the time span(s) of any jumps.
7. What is the speed of the sprinter?
8. Is jumping over a 9-inch hurdle different than walking? If so, what would a graph of walking look like? Why?

Additional Information

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Acceleration of Jumping & Throwing

Force, acceleration, and trajectory are essential in track and field. When understanding these concepts from physics, athletes can appreciate elements of technique learned from coaches.

The following graph is excerpted from The Science of Track & Field: Volume 1 (Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved).

Discussion Questions:
1. What information is contained in this graph?
2. Name several events from track and field which involve similar patterns of motion as described by  this graph.
3. What is the maximum height of the device?
4. What occurs during the portion of the graph where no acceleration is recorded at all?
5. Describe the trajectory of the device.
6. What occurs at approximately 3 seconds?
7. What forces act on the wireless device?
8. What is the maximum force?
9. What causes the maximum force to occur?
10. How could the maximum force be reduced? Increased?

Additional Information