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Foundations of Biomechanics

Module titleFoundations of Biomechanics
Module codeESS1204
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Matthew Ellison (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The study of force and motion form a large part of the sport and exercise curriculum and this module will provide you with a grounding in how to analyse these aspects from a biomechanical perspective. You will learn about different methods of assessing linear movements and forces in sports, developing your understanding of linear kinematics and linear kinetics. This module will then help you to understand how these principles can be applied to the analysis of human movement and performance in sports, and to understanding injury risk. There are no formal pre- or co-requisites for this module and it is suitable for non-specialist students who have studied some science at A-Level or equivalent. You will be required to complete mathematics-based worksheets prior to starting the module, for which support will be available if necessary.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module provides a fundamental grounding in sport and exercise related biomechanics, introducing methods for assessment of linear movements and forces in sports. The module aims to develop your understanding of linear kinematics and linear kinetics and to introduce the application of these principles to the analysis of: human movement;  sports performance and understanding injury risk.

Graduate attributes – as part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • Application of biomechanical knowledge to broad scenarios
  • Problem solving in designing experimental studies
  • Mathematical problem solving
  • People skills through communication with peers and module teaching team
  • Data management and analysis skills from data obtained during laboratory sessions

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Define linear motion, and the relationship between force and motion
  • 2. Explain the terminology and equipment used in biomechanical analysis and movement
  • 3. Perform basic quantitative analyses of human movement in a sport/exercise environment

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse aspects of movement in many fields including teaching, coaching and sports medicine. (knowledge and understanding of biomechanical principles are critical in developing this ability)

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Use of appropriate technology
  • 6. Analyse and evaluate relevant data
  • 7. Use data analysis software
  • 8. Manage time effectively
  • 9. Present ideas / information competently
  • 10. Work in a team

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to Module: Foundations of human movement
  • Linear Kinematics I: Description and assessment of human motion (position, velocity)
  • Linear Kinematics II (acceleration, projectile motion) including introduction to factors regulating movement (internal vs. external forces). Linear Kinematic Analysis of running
  • Linear Kinetics I: Ground reaction forces
  • Module review and introduction to data handling techniques and presentation skills
  • Linear Kinetics II: Momentum, impulse and pressure
  • Linear Kinetics III: Work, power and energy
  • Linear Kinetics IV: Coefficients of friction and restitution
  • Linear Kinetics V: Centre of gravity and stability
  • Examples of performance analysis

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities17Seminars and laboratory sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Lecture content
Guided Independent Study30Reading of advised materials
Guided Independent Study25Problem-solving
Guided Independent Study11Numerical example questions
Guided Independent Study15Quantitative data analysis
Guided Independent Study30Exam preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mid-term review – MCQ and short answer examination1.5 hours1-4, 6, 8-10Correct answers, workings and procedures made available for MCQ questions in seminar. Model short answers provided, peer marking of written answers and verbal guidance given.
ELE quiz questionsMultiple choice questions to test understanding throughout1-2, 4-6, 9Feedback given at end of quiz
Lab book questionsSelection of short answer questions relating to laboratory and problem solving tasksAllIndividual and group oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination (MCQ and short answer questions)10090 minutes1-4, 6, 8-9Annotated exam paper


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (MCQ and short answer questions)Examination (MCQ and short answer questions)1-4, 6, 8-9August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Hay, J.G. (1993). The Biomechanics of Sports Techniques (Fourth Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc, Englewood Cliffs. ISBN 0-13-084534-5
  • Hamill, J. and Knutzen, K.M. (2003). Biomechanical Basis of Human Movement. Lippincot Williams and Wilkins, London. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-9128-1

Further Recommended Reading:

  • Bartlett, R. (2007). Introduction to Sports Biomechanics (2nd Edition). Routledge, Oxon. ISBN 978-0-415-33994-0

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Key words search

Motion analysis, forces, performance, injury, gait, biomechanics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date