An Integrated Approach to the Introductory Biomechanics Course

By Knudson, Duane | Physical Educator, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

An Integrated Approach to the Introductory Biomechanics Course


Knudson, Duane, Physical Educator


Abstract

Biomechanics instruction in American physical education programs has undergone dramatic changes in the last 40 years. The field grew out of the anatomical, physical medicine and rehabilitation roots of physical education, but since the 1970's biomechanics has developed a strong emphasis in the mechanical bases of human movement. This dual heritage and other factors have prevented the adoption of a consistent approach to the introductory biomechanics course. The history of introductory biomechanics instruction is reviewed with regard to the balance between functional anatomy and mechanics and the emphasis of qualitative and quantitative analysis. Analysis of this history and the biomechanics research suggests that an unbalanced approach to biomechanics instruction tends to lead to inaccurate understanding of human movement and poor application of biomechanics in solving human movement problems. The introductory biomechanics course must strike a careful balance of biological, mechanical, and application content. Interdisciplinary cooperation of physical education scholars is needed in the development of a few principles of biomechanics that can be used as a structure for the application of biomechanics and can be integrated with the other subdisciplines of kinesiology/physical education,

Physical Education/kinesiology programs in American higher education have undergone dramatic changes since the 1960's. This latter half of the 20th century is also when biomechanics became a recognized term and specialization within kinesiology and academe (Atwater, 1980; Wilkerson, 1996). Like most immature sciences, biomechanics has struggled to clarify a coherent body of knowledge and has been criticized for its lack of theoretical development (Hamill, 1991). The rapidly growing body of knowledge and lack of theoretical development have also contributed to inconsistencies in undergraduate biomechanics instruction (Luttgens 1977; Milburn 1996). All the evidence on the content of introductory biomechanics courses in North American higher education suggests only limited content is routinely emphasized by the majority of instructors (Dillman & Sears, 1977; Marett, Pavlacka, Siler, & Shapiro, 1984; Satern, 1999).

Although academic freedom of course content is important, there should be many areas of agreement on the concepts and principles essential for the introductory biomechanics course. The NASPE Biomechanics Academy and its forerunner, the Kinesiology Academy, has invested many years of effort to develop guidelines and standards for the introductory course. The guidelines recommended two main objectives for the introductory course: "(1) the knowledge necessary to undertake a systematic approach to the analysis of motor skill activities and exercise programs and (2) the experience in applying that knowledge to the execution and evaluation of both the performer and the performance in the clinical and educational milieu" (Kinesiology Academy, 1980: p. 19). These two objectives remain in the most recent guidelines and standards for teaching the introductory biomechanics course (Kinesiology Academy, 1992). So the vision for the introductory biomechanics class is to provide fundamentals of biomechanics and examples of how they can be applied in solving human movement problems. The implementation of this vision, however, remains elusive.

Unfortunately, the complexity of biomechanics and the breadth of the field has limited theoretical developments and provided for many potential areas of instructional emphasis. The vision of a consistent pedagogical kinesiology (i.e. introductory biomechanics) called for by Hoffman (1977) remains unfulfilled. This lack of consensus concerning what constitutes the ideal introductory biomechanics course has several historical roots. This paper reviews the flux in the emphasis of introductory biomechanics and argues that the best instructional strategy for future physical educators is a holistic and balanced approach.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Integrated Approach to the Introductory Biomechanics Course
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.