GE1335 Sports Biomechanics - The Science to Up Your Game

Part I
Course Duration: One semester
Proposed Area: Science and Technology
No. of Credit Units: 3
Level: B1
Medium of Instruction: English
Medium of Assessment: English
Prerequisites: Nil 
Precursors: Nil 
Equivalent Courses: generally none
Exclusive Courses: Nil

Part II

1.     Abstract

Biomechanics is the sport science field that applies the laws of mechanics to understand and improve human performance in sporting games. This course intends to teach students who are interested in sports, even those with no formal background in physics or engineering, to appreciate the fundamental concepts of Sports Biomechanics, and to apply these concepts to improve their own games and reduce the incidents of injuries. Students are expected to systematically learn and explain how to use proper biomechanical motions to improve their games, e.g., shooting a basketball, hitting a long distance golf ball, and kicking a curved soccer ball, etc. Students will analyse the biomechanical motions of some of the most famous athletes in the world, including Michael Jordon, Jeremy Lin, and David Beckham. Students will also have hands-on experience in using some of the most advanced hardware and software tools to analyse their own biomechanical motions. The course may also include seminars from well-known local athletes disseminating how Sports Biomechanics has helped them “up their games”.

2.     Course Aims

This course aims to:

-       Provide students with an introduction of the methodologies and moderns tools of Sports Biomechanics and allow the students to apply these methodologies and tools to improve their own performance.

-       Enable students of diverse educational backgrounds to appreciate and apply basic scientific concepts in mechanics to better analyse popular sports games.

-       Provide students with opportunities to experimentally analyse their own biomechanical motions in playing golf, tennis, badminton, soccer, swimming, etc.

-       Enable students to critically assess and evaluate how scientific principles can be used to understand the limits of human dynamics.

3.      Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs)

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:




(if applicable)


Demonstrate the capacity for self-directed learning on topics related to the basic concepts of engineering mechanics and sports biomechanics.



Explain the basic methodologies and techniques used to analyse human biomechanics.



Demonstrate critical thinking skills and ability by comparing biomechanical motions of oneself to selected top athletes in the world.



Demonstrate an ability to work effectively in a team by showing active participation on assigned group project.


4.      Teaching and
Learning Activities (TLAs)



Hours/week (if applicable)


To provide information and to clarify most important concepts in this course.

1, 2



Special invited world-class academics and locally well-known athletes to share with students their perspective and experience with Sports Biomechanics.

1, 2, 3

Tutorial and Laboratory Experiments

To provide students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art biomechanics analyses tools.

1, 2, 3, 4

Field Trip

A field trip to Taipo’s Shuen Wan Golf Driving Range – the students will work in groups to record and analyses their golf swing biomechanics.

1, 2, 3, 4


Reading Assignment, Homework, and Midterm Exam Students will be given reading assignments from magazines or web sources. The students are expected to do ~4 homework assignments throughout this course based on their reading assignments. The course will have 1 Midterm Exam.

1, 2, 3


Group Presentation

Each team (consisting of 3 to 4 students) will present their findings of comparing their team members’ performance against top world athletes on selected sports in the final two weeks of the course.

1, 2, 3, 4

5.      Assessment Tasks/Activities

Type of Assessment Tasks/Activities



(if applicable)


Midterm Exam (individual)

1, 2, 3


The students will take 1 midterm exam in this course. The exam questions are relevant to the fundamental concepts taught during the lectures and are related to the homework assignments.

Hands-on activities (team work)

1, 2, 3, 4


Students need to submit a 5-page report after each tutorial/experiment work with: (1) MEMS-based motion capturing system and (2) vision-based motion capturing system.

Homework Assignments

(4 for the course)

1, 2, 3


The students will do 4 sets of homework assignments in this course based on lecture and self-reading materials. The assignment questions are typically related to the fundamental concepts taught during the lectures.

Team Research Project and Presentation

(team work)

1, 2, 3, 4


For the Team Project, marks will be given for the presentation as well as the response to questions raised by instructors or other students. Each group member will be asked to rate on the participation for all other group members.

6. Grading of Student Achievement: Refer to Grading of Courses in the Academic Regulations and to the Explanatory Notes.

Letter Grade

Grade Point

Grade Definitions









Strong evidence of original thinking; good organization, capacity to analyse and synthesize; superior grasp of subject matter; evidence of extensive knowledge base.








Evidence of grasp of subject, some evidence of critical capacity and analytic ability; reasonable understanding of issues; evidence of familiarity with literature.








Student who is profiting from the university experience; understanding of the subject; ability to develop solutions to simple problems in the material.




Sufficient familiarity with the subject matter to enable the student to progress without repeating the course.




Little evidence of familiarity with the subject matter; weakness in critical and analytic skills; limited or irrelevant use of literature.

Part III

Keyword Syllabus:

Course Materials
There will be a set of course documents covering all lectures, tutorials and hands-on activities for easy reference by students.

(Note: “Biomechanics” in this course is not “Kinesiology”, which is often another name for physical education. There are numerous titles of books that are related to this course which can be found on the Internet. You may want to read those books in addition to the 3 books recommend below. A few examples are: Fundamentals of Sports Biomechanics, The Mechanics of Athletics, Scientific Principles of Coaching, Biomechanic Analysis of Sport, Biomechanics of Sports Techniques, and Biomechanics of Human Motion.)

Recommended Reading:

1. Introduction to Sports Biomechanics: Analysing Human Movement Patterns, Roger Bartlett, T & F Books UK, 2nd Edition, 2009 (Kindle edition).

2. Sports Biomechanics: The Basics: Optimizing Human Performance, Anthony J. Blazevich, A&C Black, 2nd Edition, 2010.

3. Fundamentals of Biomechanics, Duane Knudson, Springer, 2nd Edition, 2007.

Online Resources:

1. ESPN Sports Science,

2. “Best Mechanics in Sports”, ESPN Commentary,

Resource Planning and Consultation:
Refer to the Explanatory Notes

Besides the lectures and seminars, this course will also provide students to have hands-on experience with sports motion capturing and analyses tools — they will apply these tools to analyse their own sports biomechanical motions. If this course is approved, we will actively seek funding to set up a new Sports Biomechanics Laboratory in the MBE Department that will encompass key modern technologies for collecting and analysing sports biomechanics related motions. Gateway Education (GE) Discovery Laboratory will also be used for supporting some of the hands-on experimental activities in this course. Prof. Wen Jung Li has already received an Interdisciplinary Professional Development Award (IPDA 2012) to mainly hire a postdoctoral fellow to integrate the necessary hardware and software required to set up a tutorial platform for this course. However, we need a funding of HK$200,000 to acquire some of the hardware and software necessary for sports mechanics motion capturing and analyses. Details are listed below.

·        Experimental apparatus to provide tutorials to the students for using MEMS motion sensors for wearable motion detection, tracking, and analyses.

·        Experimental apparatus provide tutorials to the students for using computer-vision based motion capturing system for sports biomechanical analyses.

·        Financial support to acquire mobile vision-based hardware and software tools for motion analyses. The tools will allow students to capture their own golf swings, tennis/badminton/squash swings, basketball jumping and ball shooting, Kung Fu/Taekwondo/Karate punches and kicks, skateboarding tricks, etc.  The basic functions of the tools will include at least the following:

-       Play back their motions in slow motion, or frame by frame

-       Zoom in on portions of the video

-       Overlay videos to improve swing, shooting, kicking, etc.

-       Reposition two videos to create a side-by-side comparison

-       Draw lines and circles on the videos to compare angles and highlight

-       Email screenshots of the motion and analyses to their friends



Related Links
Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering