Ergonomics issues in sport and outdoor recreation


by: Paul M. Salmon

The role of ergonomics in optimizing sports performance has long been recognized (Reilly and Ussher 1988 Reilly, T., and M. Ussher. 1988. “Sport, Leisure, and Ergonomics.” Ergonomics 31 (11): 1497–1500.

This article found in Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science, 2017, discusses ergonomics issues in sport and outdoor recreation. A brief history of the study of sports ergonomics is reviewed, dating back to the 1980s. There work divided into three categories — Sports physical ergonomics which include equipment, sports injury, and clothing design. Sports cognitive ergonomics focuses on cognitive issues associated with individuals and teams, ranging from decision-making and cognition to situation awareness and coaching. Systems ergonomics research explores performance analysis, injury causation, and prevention.
The article draws similarities between traditional ergonomic demands in the workforce and those faces in sports and outdoor recreation. The purpose is to pursue further the potential impact of research regarding safety and performance within this new area and correlate findings.

This article illustrates the application of theory and the use of audit tools to conclude the application of ergonomic science to sports and outdoor recreation. Through looking at different activities, the authors concluded that system ergonomics applications are essential for safety and efficiency. The following is a summary of important take-home messages.

● System ergonomics applies to outdoor recreation due to outdoor recreation systems display of the characteristics of complex sociotechnical systems.
● The systems ergonomics methods STAMP provides useful approaches for sport and outdoor recreation injury analysis and prevention. Finding contributory factors related to injuries provides essential information.
● The combined work of different disciplines can enhance the exploration of issues in sports and outdoor recreation injuries.
● The development of audit tools is necessary for the evaluation of ergonomics. The OAT is a tool for the auditing of fitness facilities
● Using practice scenarios may be a helpful predictor of the number of errors made during gameplay or outdoor activities.
● Exploration of social network analysis provides a useful approach for analyzing the relationship between passing sequences that lead to goals scored in football. The European and North, Central, and South American football teams were evaluated, and despite different playing styles, there were little differences in the passing sequence.

This article is helpful in identifying different forms of research and methods to evaluate recreational equipment design.

Originally Published in: Theoretical Issues In Ergonomic Science