Using the GoPro for Track/Field
At my public school, we don’t have an indoor or outdoor track. This is problematic, because our only opportunity to learn and improve is when we are attending a meet. A GoPro would be really useful with helping us learn better techniques for all track and field activities, such as pole vaulting, running, hurdling, and long jumping. If we could take the GoPro to meets with us and record the students doing such events, then we could show them how to improve without having anything for them to practice on.
To solve our dilemma, my idea is to do a documentary journalism project on our track team. Rather than only looking at the physics/science of participating in the sport, we could also look at the psychology of winning and losing through interviews that captured athletes’ mental and emotional states. We need a GoPro because it is durable in bad weather, sand, or harsh movement. The GoPro could be used for slowing down runners and looking at the angles of their arms when they run. For example, turning your arms in a certain way helps increase your speed. We could strap the GoPro to a runner and look at his or her time with improved angles that the GoPro would have helped them achieve. With hurdles, it would be really helpful for runners to look at steps taken in between their hurdles and to see their positions in the air. A particular leg needs to lead in each leap, and legs need to be at a particular angle in the air. Slow motion would be helpful. Our pole vaulters generally have no idea how to actually pole vault until they try it in a meet. (Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to use the track at a neighboring school, but we can’t count on that.) It would be useful for them to watch, along with our coach, their techniques in advance of the next competition. We can look at a runner’s angles with the GoPro, teach team members how to be successful in their events, record in bad weather, and slow down the video.
To learn about journalism and psychology of the sport, we could interview the runners and compare their times during practice and races. One question might be, How much does an athlete’s time change under the pressure of competition? The GoPro interviews might help athletes control their nerves before races. We could also use the GoPro in different weather conditions, i.e., rain and snow, to answer the question of how athletes perform in adverse conditions compared to favorable ones. For example, does hot weather change the competitors’ nerves and success?
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