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Learning the science behind sports

22 Feb 2019

Learning the science behind sports

We often think of exercise as a physical activity, but did you know that a workout is also scientific concept?

In the Exercise and Sports Science Applied Subject in secondary schools, students have the opportunity to find out how science plays an integral role in sports. Students from 20 secondary schools can opt for the subject in Secondary 3 and offer it at the O-Level examinations.

How are these Physical Education (PE) classes conducted? Well, they are more comprehensive than the regular PE lessons. The subject looks into various aspects of sport science, such as sport psychology, and how movement and motor skills affect one’s performance in the arena. Students will learn how to boost performance, manage injuries and plan meals that help one remain in top condition for sports.

Once students are familiar with the hows and whys of getting athletes into top form, they apply the knowledge - on themselves. In the practical component of the subject, students draw up training plans for themselves and embark on a journey to improving their performance in a sport of their choice, such as athletics and badminton.

Their training plans are not set in stone. The students track their progress in honing their sporting skills and performance throughout their 8-10 weeks training regimen, keeping a lookout for areas to improve upon as they go along.

By planning their own training, students learn how they can get fit, perform better and train safely, and they can implement this knowledge in their favourite sport.

“The skills needed to develop a personal training programme are similar across sports such as swimming, running and cycling,” explained Mr Ho Yenn Wah, a physical education teacher at North Vista Secondary School, one of the schools which offers the subject. “If students can grasp the training principles, they will be able to put together a sound training plan in various sports.”

The subject offers students a glimpse of what it is like to pursue a career in the sports industry. It also helps students hone various skills which will come in useful even when they are outside of the sporting arena, according to those who have taken up the subject.

For Secondary 4 student Glenda Lam, having first-hand experience in planning her own training regimen enabled her to learn how to prevent and manage sport injuries, as well as the correct techniques for playing her favourite sports.  

While Glenda does not intend to pursue a career in exercise and sports science, the knowledge she has gained from the subject is still valuable. “Learning the correct techniques in badminton and netball and understanding how long-term exercise benefits my body helps me be a better sports player,” she said.