By Karina Imran and Nursyabiha Sukri
KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 (Bernama) — Most sports trainers appear to be not interested in the functions of biomechanics and therefore do not practise the method with athletes at every training session.
Only a handful of them know about basic biomechanics, whereas the component has many branches which can be used in sports and daily activities.
National Sports Institute (ISN) chief executive officer, Dr Khairi Zawi believed coaches in Malaysia had learned about sports science, especially biomechanics but not completely.
“Biomechanics not only involve movements. It is also related to sports wear and equipment used. For each type of sports, the attire is different.
“This is because there are various types of sport movements. Some use the legs a lot, while in other sports they involve more hand movements. Clothing should not only be comfortable but facilitate movement,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, biomechanics is the study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms.
Among the branches in biomechanics are sports biomechanics, ergonomics, kinesiology, animal locomotion and gait analysis, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic biomechanics, cardiovascular biomechanics, human-factors engineering and occupational implant (medicine), orthotics and prosthesis rehabilitation, and allometry.
However, only sports biomechanics, injury management and ergonomics are widely used by local and international sports practitioners.
In Malaysia, coaches and athletes themselves do not understand the real meaning of biomechanics even though the country has the specialists in the field.
In advanced countries like the United States and in Europe, they see many uses in biomechanics in enhancing the performance of athletes to be among the highest ranked in the world.
For example, the legendary American sprinter, Carl Lewis was known to use biomechanics techniques in his athletics career in the 1980’s.
This was found effective when Lewis who was a long jumper and sprinter won nine gold medals in the Olympics in which four were in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
He also clinched eight gold medals in the World Athletics Championships.
Dr Khairi said the branch of biomechanics that was easiest to practise in sports was ergonomics as it involved the comfort of athletes.
“Nevertheless, before biomechanics is taught to athletes, the coaches should learn the techniques themselves and know the ways to assist athletes improve their performance,” added.
Dr Khairi also stressed that in the effort to give exposure to coaches, the ISN had been organising coaching and sports science courses at the National Coaching Academy and one of the areas was biomechanics.
“All coaches need to attend classes before starting their job to educate athletes but the problem now is that they are not so interested in the subject.
“I know the topic is rather boring and more serious, so much so many coaches consider biomechanics as unimportant in sports,” he said.
Dr Khari who is also a biomechanics expert specialising in ergonomics, commended national football coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee who understands the concept of biomechanics and aspires to use the method in training.
He said not all national athletes had the desire to delve into biomechanics apart from those who were trained by international coaches such as national squash queen Datuk Nicol David.