Sports Science pupils embarked on a trip to the Human Performance Unit at Essex University

Before Christmas, the A Level PE and BTEC Sport pupils travelled to Essex University, and Jemima C, Macey T, and George W, all A Level PE pupils in Arkell, wrote about their experience:

“The purpose of the visit was to gain an insight into Sports Science at University and beyond as well as enhance our understanding of our Sixth Form courses. On arrival, we had a tour of the university followed by a presentation about the day ahead, and then a session on Biomechanics. This was to aid the practical tasks which would follow. The first task was a jump test on a force plate to measure our explosive power and the force exerted from the muscles in our legs. We then had a throwing task to measure the force generated by our upper body. This involved using an iPad to measure the time and distance and thus the velocity that the ball travelled at. We were also able to analyse our throwing technique. Next, we did a one repetition max test, using a dynamometer that measured the maximal force we could exert. The final task was to use limb kinematics to analyse movement. It was a hugely beneficial and unique experience to be able to use specialist sports science equipment, as we could deepen our understanding of Biomechanics and how we can analyse athletes’ specific movement patterns to refine their technique and improve their performance.

In the afternoon, we were shown around campus where we were allowed to experience all that Essex university has to offer. During this time, we were able to start to experience what student life would be like. After a delicious lunch, we met up with the team of staff and students from the University. There were five stations we were to take part in, all testing various aspects of our fitness like strength, power, reaction time and aerobic capacity. It turned into an incredibly competitive afternoon amongst staff and students alike, especially during the wattage test where everybody was competing for the greatest output. At the end of the day, one of the Gresham’s pupils got the chance to partake in a V02 max test whilst the rest of the group analysed the data which was produced during the test. We all got a chance to help throughout the test, reading out different figures and numbers from the screen and plotting graphs. It was so interesting to see how oxygen uptake changed throughout the course of the test.”