Performance Analysis (PA) is a relatively new area within sport science which has developed as a result of recent technological advances within the areas of IT, digital photography and video analysis software. PA provides objective feedback to athletes and coaches through the use of video analysis and statistical information. It can be used during or after an event to quantify the athletes’ performance in an accurate and reliable manner. The analysis can then be used to:
- Make a permanent record of performance
- Monitor progress
- Track changes in performance related variables
- Identify strengths and weaknesses of both the athlete and opposition
The performance analyst needs to plan the intervention with the coach to ensure that the analysis is tailored to the individual needs of the athlete. Analysis generally takes place in field setting i.e. during training and/or competition. Feedback can be presented to the athlete and coach through reports and the compilations. This allows the coach and athlete to further analyse the performance when required.
Biomechanics, as a science, concentrates on several areas of sport such as how various sports techniques can be modified to suit the physical characteristics of an athlete and how the physical capacities of the athlete can be modified to suit biomechanically sound techniques. It can impact positively on performance by helping athletes develop more effective technique. As the foundations of sports biomechanics are the mechanics and the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system it can also help athlete to avoid injury.
Sports biomechanists use a wide range of tools to enhance athletes and coaches understanding of the mechanics of sporting skills. These could include the use of 3D, high speed and underwater cameras, force platforms and speed gates. Biomechanical analysis can take place in a variety of setting such as the laboratory, during training or while the athlete is in competition.