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From The CriticsReviewer: Ted Scheck, BA, MS, Certified, G&T(Sidener Academy for High Ability Students)
Description: The book tackles head-on the concept of the human operator (the athlete) at the center of the sports ergonomic model, with the athlete interfacing with an array of equipment to maximize his energy and his use of both forces and environment to achieve his immediate or long-term goal.
Purpose: The introduction maps out the major areas of thought; a laundry list of publications, with its two disciplines - applied and human ergonomic factors - paralleling one another. Ergonomic journals burst on the scene in 1957, the most recent in 1999, covering a range of topics from cognition, technology, and work to man-machine studies. Primary concepts map out aging to fitness assessment to training responses to equipment design. Physiological capacity is an interesting addition. The objectives are worthy because the scope and magnitude — bridging the gap between sport and workplace — is worthy of more study. The book more than meets the author's objectives, raising and discussing deeper questions and concerns.
Audience: The book is written for serious researchers in many different areas, from orthotists and orthopedic surgeons to designers of fabric and shoes for athletes, to the curious who want to satisfy a cognitive itch, to those in the field of ergonomics. It is written at a very high technical level, so those unschooled in ergonomics, biomechanics, or a high level of math and science might find it intimidating. The author has spent many years teaching and doing research in the fields of both occupational ergonomics and sport science all over Europe. He has coached elite athletes and was himself an elite athlete.
Features: This statement from the author is a good place to start and is an excellent foundational caveat: "The mind-set of competitive athletes is to extend the boundaries of performance, challenge existing records, and train to extremes. By adopting optimal training programs, athletes overcome their limitations and improve their performance capabilities." The book is about the research into the idea of the optimal conditions under which the human body performs. Everything flows from the author's statement. I rephrased the quote to suit my own levels of expertise and experience: "With the mindset of children from ages 7-14, the goal is to teach them to learn to be efficient and exploratory movers, who will, with guidance, teaching, and nonjudgmental critiques, extend the boundaries of their own performance. They might get into competitive sports, or they might just choose to recreationally compete against their own inner standards, always striving to improve." I enjoyed reading about limited capacity and VO-2 max. The regular ergonomic concepts — safety, fatigue, stress in its many forms, efficiency, comfort, work applications, exercise and sport, the OWAS method, analyzing postural stress in the workplace — are covered in a thorough and thoroughly readable fashion.
Assessment: Although much too technical for my needs, this book is a goldmine for reasons other than the combined sport science/ergonomics perspective. I picked up numerous usable nuggets from the author. His dedication to both fields is evident, and the book shines. I have not found any other book that interweaves two concepts so successfully.