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|Title: ||The design and development of sports equipment for children|
|Authors: ||Stanbridge, Katharine|
|Issue Date: ||2003|
|Publisher: ||© Katharine Stanbridge|
|Abstract: ||Children's access to many sports is restricted because of social and equipment costs,
in addition the equipment is not frequently designed to suit a child's physique and
capabilities. Generally the design of sports equipment for children proceeds by taking
adult equipment and scaling it down. Unfortunately this often means that the range of
equipment is limited for a population whose dimensions are constantly changing and
whose strength to size ratio does not vary linearly (Beak et al. 2000). The use of
inappropriate equipment can significantly affect learning skills and cause the
development of bad habits which may take years to correct and can be a major
detractor to further participation (Sleap 1981 ). It is apparent that little science has
been applied to equipment design for children and if wider participation is to be
encouraged then well-designed and manufactured equipment that matches child
development and growth rates needs to be produced.
The intentions of this study were:
• To determine the effect of equipment properties on children's, aged between
7 and I 0 years old, ability to generate effective strokes in two example sports:
golf and tennis.
• To determine whether any relationships existed between children's physical
characteristics (e.g. height, strength etc ), equipment properties and
• To apply any fitting guidelines established to a group of subject to test their
In each sport 3 major equipment properties were examined and a sample of30
children, aged between 7 and I 0 years old of varying ability, were tested in each of
the studies. Sixteen anthropometric measures, age, experience and grip strength were
taken from each child. This information was examined with the performance data
using multiple regression methods to determine whether any fitting relationships
existed between child characteristics, performance and club or racket properties.
In golf it was found that the club head mass, shaft flexibility and shaft length all
significantly affected the distance achieved with 7 -iron clubs, whilst in tennis the
racket length, mass and balance all had a significant effect on the power and
placement of forehand tennis strokes.
Nomograms were constructed for the tennis and golf fitting equations to provide a
graphical representation of the fitting so that manufacturers, tennis coaches, club
fitters and professional golfers can quickly determine correct club or racket
characteristics for a child.
The main conclusion of this study is that children should be considered as individuals
instead ofbeing grouped into age or height categories. Children should be fitted to
equipment in terms of their size, strength and ability if effective equipment that is
more suited to their needs can be constructed.|
|Description: ||A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Theses (Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering)|
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