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How is Learning Maths Relevant to Sport?

By Yann, published on 31/03/2018 Blog > Academia > Maths > Learn the Importance of Maths in Sport

Maths is everywhere. It helps us run errands, manage our money and measure progress, as well as helping us in sport!

In recent years, with the development of technology, maths has played a more and more important role in sport. As technology to measure and improve performance gains momentum, even sport cannot escape maths. From amateur athletic training to high-level sporting prowess, similar technology is used to give athletes feedback.

So skip the maths tutors near me search on Google and head straight to Superprof to help improve your performance in sport. Here’s a closer look at the impact of maths on the sporting world…

Breaking World Records

From birth, children soak up information around them including information about numbers, quantity and value. This is a basis for further maths learning from a young age and using maths for many different disciplines including sport!

Some athletes are born with unbeatable talents. Just like some kids are born with mathematical skills.

Everyone has heard of Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter, and his 100m races.

He’s unbeatable, flying above the track and even deliberately pausing just before crossing the finish line!

And another small detail: on the 16th August 2009, Bolt ran 100m in 9.58 seconds.

Javier Sotomayor has held the high-jump record since 1993. To this day, no one since has been able to leap the 2.45m bar.

Renaud Lavillenie beat the pole jump record held by Sergueï Bubka for 21 years. In 2014, Lavillenie jumped 6.16m and beat the Ukranian in his own country.

New-Zealander William Trubridge dominates the freediving stage. He has already beaten his own world record 25 times!

The list goes on. Each record is incredible and provokes curiosity relating to the achievement.

The best teams are the ones with a team of mathematicians behind them The Olympic Games: Where numbers are the dark horse ¦ source: Pixabay – diego_torres

We’ve all wondered:

  1. How are athletes still beating records? 
  2. Is there a physical limit to the performance of the human body?

Is this where maths comes in?

A 2012 study shows that competition classifications are ruled by mathematics. In this way, maths facilitates a rule of power over two aspects of competitions: their frequency and their size.

Using Technology in Sport

Do you remember the swimming champion from Rome 2009?

Records were continuously beaten one after the other and journalists sought to explain this phenomenon. Altogether, 43 records were broken in just a few days!

Combinations of swimmers, tightly clad in polyurethane is not an uncommon sight. Swimming performance is affected by the combination of vertical and horizontal forces as well as Archimedes’ principle which acts upon the immersed body to move it through the water.

The development of sporting equipment is all based on scientific evidence. The combinations of the techniques which stem from this evidence improve swimmers’ speeds.

In cycling, too, the technical improvement of the bicycles themselves can play a significant role in performance. Using lighter materials and making bikes more aerodynamic can help cyclists go faster.

You can see this from the helmets of cyclists, which are designed to avoid drag and glide through the air as easily as possible.

Using Maths to Improve Athletes’ Technical Performance Skills

Besides giving people the skills they need to look after their finances and evaluate with percentages, maths can also help people make leaps in their athletic progress!

Athletes no longer only attend major competitions accompanied by their coach, physiotherapist or nutritionist. These times are over, at least for the “true” professionals.

Some, like the Australians and the New Zealanders at the 2016 Rio Olympics, mathematicians bring along mathematicians as part of their team.

Their role in the team is to collect data, take conditions into account and produce performance statistics which can be viewed to plan and optimise future training for the athlete.

Their objective is to always aim for perfection and get as close as possible to achieving this goal.

So, it’s not surprising that sport is linked with algebra, geometry, arithmetic, decimal places and relativity.

Calculating the Ideal Trajectory of a Running Course

Mathematical equations have become the indispensable scientific foundation of elite sports. They serve as a basis for athletes to constantly measure their performance in their pursuit of perfection.

Maths can benefit individual athletes as well as team to beat records Elite sport: where every millisecond counts ¦ source: Pixabay – Pexels

In this respect, Amandine Aftalion, head of research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) created a model demonstrating the best path for runners to take according to various conditions, taking into account:

  • the distance of the race
  • lung capacity
  • energy intake
  • maximum propulsion force
  • and even the friction between the runner and the atmosphere

A Selection Tool

The UK  uses science to look into the mathematics of sport with a goal to improve performance.

Mathematicians have developed a tool to determine which athletes have the most potential for improvement.

They can also predict the number of medals an athlete will win and help build on the skills of the best ones.

And it seems to work incredibly well! At the last Olympic games, team GB came 2nd in the medals table when it came to gold medals, after the USA and above China.

How Statistics Play a Role in Football Tournament Preparation

Statistical analysis is taken into equal consideration by certain football coaches when the time comes to get ready for the next tournament.

Analysing a team’s performance can help coaches and managers make strategic decisions based on more on logic and less on the coach’s instinct.

It’s a complex task, but it makes all the difference.

Collecting Data in Real Time

Maths can help you keep on top of your money, but it’s far from being its only use in the adult world!

With maths, you can also use data to get precise statistics on athletes and use them to take informed actions to improve.

Statistics can help you spot areas for improvement in your performance Get the numbers on your side ¦ source: Pixabay – geralt

Understanding and applying these elements aim to make training sessions more worthwhile by developing specific training regimes with an aim in mind.

This is a sizable task when it’s common for athletes to lose out on a fraction of a second.

This method has proven itself to be indispensable as it enables athletes to have a scientific insight into their performance and spot areas for improvement.

Modern technology gives us the means to record and store data in real time. This means that when a problem is detected, it is easier to find a solution.

The trackers worn by the athletes themselves instantly transmit the recorded information so it can be analysed by performance software as and when the athlete completes their race.

You can get t-shirts, rackets and even smart helmets with integrated trackers.

Depending on the sport, the needs of athletes are met on a case by case basis. For example, a special rugby helmet would analyse the force of impacts to alert the user and their team to the risk of head injury.

Trainers and coaches can count on these innovative tools as a remarkable asset to help them reach their goals.

Coaches are able to keep an eye on the level of fatigue of their players during a football match for instance. These data can trigger decisions such as switching players or adapting a game plan.

Tracking Technology for Amateur Athletes

Are you unsure about how to calculate a percentage or solve equations?

If so, there’s an even better reason to brush up on your math skills while you are getting into running, as tracking tech will give you lots of statistical information such as:

  • heart rate
  • average speed
  • distance covered
  • calories burnt

With this information, you will be able to easily compare your performance in each of your training sessions and find what works best to help you improve.

Look at the details of your performances with devices to collect data in real time Get the most out of your training sessions with a fitness tracker ¦ source: Pixabay – skeeze

This is useful to keep track of your progress and view your workouts in a new light.

With their fun side, mobile apps and fitness watches or bracelets are popular among amateur athletes looking for a way to see how they’re doing.

By comparing results from different training sessions, these trackers motivate people to achieve their goals and create new ones.

The Fantasy League Boom

For those who don’t enjoy sport in real life, there’s always a virtual option in Fantasy Leagues. Sports fans gather online to share their passion for a certain sport.

Participation is simple: the player trains their squad, which changes in make-up and skills as they compete in the online league. They have a budget, build their team, compete with others and gain points according to their victories.

With Fantasy Leagues, the player learns to master every part of managing their team by looking at their statistics to make informed decisions, forgetting nothing that may help them improve – and it’s all just for fun!

Players can look at the probability of any of their players improving and negotiate transfers – just like in real football clubs!

According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 33.5 million people in the USA played in Fantasy Leagues in 2013.

Mathematics is a huge part of sport of all kinds and at all levels. As technology continues to evolve, researchers work to resolve problems encountered in sport.

This new approach offers a multitude of new perspectives on the probability of success. The physical and mathematical qualities of sports are what motivates athletes to approach their goals with a positive frame of mind and get the most out of their training.

Find a maths tutor for A – level and GCSE maths revision all over the UK on Superprof’s great tutoring platform!

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