Sports engineering

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Sports engineering is a field of engineering that involves the design, development and testing of sport equipment. The equipment used by athletes has always gone through technological design and development based on current knowledge and understanding. Sports engineering only became official in 1998 when the Sports Engineering Research Group and the International Sports Engineering Association were formed at the University of Sheffield together with the associations Journal, Sports Engineering published by Springer.[1] Since then, the field has grown immensely and now involves many universities, sports companies, regulatory bodies and

Sports engineers are typically involved in the following activities:

  • Equipment design: designing and building new equipment based on the requirements of athletes. e.g. ra wheelchair design
  • Lab experiments and testing: measuring the behaviour of equipment, athletes and their interaction in a controlled environment. e.g. measuring football boot traction
  • Computational modelling: simulating the forces acting on athletes and their equipment (Finite Element Analysis) or simulating the airflow around equipment (Computational Fluid Dynamics). e.g. football aerodynamic analysis
  • Field testing: recording the behaviour of sports equipment in a match environment. e.g. high-speed video recording of tennis players hitting the ball
  • Working with governing bodies: assessing the effects of rule changes or understanding injury risks.
  • Working with athletes: working together to improve their performance.

Sports engineers come from a range of disciples that are involved with sports. These included sport science disciplines and engineering disciplines involved in the sports industry. Historically, they have an MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering or Sports Engineering, and many go on to undertake further research in the form of a PhD. As the sports industry goes progressively high tech electronics engineers have become more involved in the discipline [1].

In the UK Sheffield Hallam University offers a BSc in Sports Technology and a MSc in Sports Engineering. The Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University also have a blog on Sports Engineering. The University of Sheffield offers a MEng in Sports Engineering. The University of Strathclyde offers a BEng in Sports Engineering. Loughborough University offers a BSc in Sports Technology.

The majority of sports engineering research in UK universities is done at Sheffield, Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam, the Sports Technology Institute at Loughborough, Bath, Strathclyde and Queen Mary’s (London).

In Australia, a Sports Engineering degree was launched at The University of Adelaide in 2008, shortly after which (2009) Griffith University launched an electronics based Sports Engineering degree in conjunction with the Queensland Sports Technology Cluster.[2] In 2011, Victoria University [2] launched an electrical and mechanical based Sports Engineering course as part of a new major for the Bachelor of Engineering Science.

In the United States, The University of Southern Mississippi started a Sports and High Performance Materials degree in 2006 with a focus on integrating materials science with human performance.


  1. ^ Sports Engineering Co-Editor-in-Chief: M. Strangwood ISSN: 1369-7072 (print version) Journal no. 12283
  2. ^ Journal of Sports Technology, 4(3-4), 2011 Editorial, DOI:10.1080/19346182.2011.733082