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Global Ed

Sports Engineering: An Athle-tech Career Choice

What do you do when your passion for sports and your love for the sciences pull you in opposite directions?

You find a way to bring them together.

Sports Engineering is one such métier wherein you use the principles of engineering to address problems in sports or upgrade a game to another level.

And yes, it is a recognised academic discipline. While you might not find any specific undergrad programs for sports education in the US, Europe and Australia have quite a few options for you.

What can you do as a Sports Engineer?

This is a highly technical field. Your ability to play a sport is not as important as your knowledge and ability to analyse it from a physical and a mathematical standpoint. That includes studying the athlete, the equipment, the ground or the court and even the wind. You will, in essence, be involved with the R&D of sports technology, emphasise more on technology than on sports.

Possible areas of work include:

  • Simulation, VR work to plan for athletes, whether it is equipment or techniques
  • Product design and testing of sports equipment/ accessories
  • Architecture – designing/ building sports complexes
  • Motion capture related work and movement analysis
  • Data analysis to completely understand an athlete/ equipment’s function.

What will you study?

Until recently, sports engineering was a specialisation that one would do, after a degree in mechanical engineering. This gave the engineers a better understanding of equipment building and design. But sports engineering as a field is not limited only to the mechanical basics. Depending on the courses you choose, you will be studying physics, mathematics, biomechanics, computer science or even aeronautics. The application of any and all of these fields is emphasised in sports engineering.

The scope of your projects are also far and wide. You can be working on anything from tensile strength of a racket wire to a VR animation of how the new model of bat will react to different balls.

This is still a valid option available to you, where you choose this specialisation at the Master’s level. The other option is to look for universities and programs that offer this at the undergraduate level.

If you are looking at courses in the UG level, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Is it a traditional engineering course adapted to fit the sports industry?
  • Is it only focussed on product design?
  • Is it affiliated to/ accredited by a professional engineering body?
  • Will the skills be transferable? As exciting as the field is, you need to keep in mind that it has a narrow range. Career-wise, you might not have as many options as any of the conventional engineering programs.

Some Universities that offer Sports Engineering

As a career, sports engineering allows you to make a direct impact on the life of athletes, whether it is improving their performance or enhancing safety. While not everyone can channel their passion for sports professionally as an athlete, you can transform that to change the very face of the industry. It might not be an easy race, but is definitely worth the sprint.

Date added
21.10.2021

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Global Ed

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