Sports and Sport-Science — some things I like to do, watch, or study

by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

    From a young age I've been interested in sports as a participant and spectator.  At one time, I almost became a graduate student in kinesiology (to study the physics, physiology, and learning of high jumping) at the University of Washington.
    A decade ago, I began developing a mini-website about The Science of Sports although currently (due to the higher priority of other projects) it has more IOUs than content — except for— in these sub-areas:  the science of Nutrition, Physiology, Sports Medicine, Training, and (sadly necessary) Performance-Enhancing Drugs (as in world-class bike racing);  Running (e.g. my Music Tempo and Running Tempo), Rowing, Bicycling (e.g. The Soap Opera of Tour de France in the 1980s), and Swimming;  Game Strategies, Sport Psychology, Sociology of Sports, and more.   /   For all of these areas, my main activity will be making link-pages with descriptions-and-links for pages & websites made by skilled writers who know a lot about their subject area and explain it clearly.

    TEACHING:  I've taught a variety of skills, both mental and mental/physical; science (mainly chemistry & physics) and math, and problem-solving skills like the Process of Design that can be used to Learn More from Experience in all areas of life, to improve learning and/or performance in Mental & Mental/Physical Skills that include those used in sports, with examples from tennis and skiing & welding and juggling and musical improvisation & theory and ballroom dancing.   {also, A Scientific Problem-Solving Approach to Improving Pronunciation when learning a foreign language}


Here is an invitation for an ESL discussion group for international students & scholars from China:
Sports-Talk Sunday  —  We can discuss whatever you want, any sport (common or unusual) and any event (Tour de France or Big Dance, the glorious Olympics in China or...) and any aspect of sport (its culture or science, training or strategies) as a player, teacher/coach, or spectator, and I think it will be very interesting.


And from another page,

        A Personal Interest in Science for Sports & Arts
        Many people, including me, think art, sport, and science are inherently fascinating.
        SPORTS:   At one time I considered becoming a kinesiology major at the U of Washington, to study three aspects of high jumping:  biomechanical analysis (re: how much "jumping force" goes into rotation and vertical uplift, how to generate more uplift, and so on), muscle physiology (inspired by a hitchhiker who asked “why is there never a superhorse that runs twice as fast?”, I asked “what limits the jumping ability of humans?”), and strategies for learning & teaching physical skills (as in using mental rehearsal, and other techniques, to modify split-second, mid-air actions during a high jump).  I've been a teacher of tennis & juggling, and enjoy many other sports.
        ARTS:   During a break between graduate studies at UW-Farwest and UW-Midwest, I designed and made bamboo flutes and wrote a "how to make music" booklet for buyers, then held workshops on musical improvisation for the Northwest Folklife Festival, which eventually became a web-page about Musical Improvisation.  Later, as a grad student at the U of Wisconsin, in a "Physics in the Arts" course I helped students learn the Physics-and-Math of Music Theory plus Color Science (in a links-page and my own page) and the Art & Science of Photography.


We can use science – for sports & more – in everyday life.

These excerpts are from a bio-page about trying to maintain a young Satchel Paige Age:

        my hobbies:  learning and thinking!
also juggling, music — listening to a wide variety (jazz and rock, country and classical,...) and playing some, too — plus dancing (swing & waltz, contra & square,...) and sports (spectator and participatory).
        spectator sports:  everything from Olympics to X-Games, from windsurfing and snowboarding to motocross and bullriding;  some of my favorites are bicycle racing and trick-riding, football and basketball, baseball in the playoffs, and listening to sports radio (in Madison, it's ESPN and Big1070).
        participatory sports:  In the past, lots of basketball and volleyball, played on championship teams in tennis (for high schools in Southern California), track & field (later high jumped 6'7" [2.01 m], 8" over my head, and could dunk), flag football (cornerback in intramurals), and slowpitch (left field, intramurals);  won U.C. Irvine's Anteater Olympiad (a “decathlon” with 2 runs, 2 jumps, shot put, and skills in baseball, tennis, football, basketball).
        Currently, for fitness I lift and stretch, bike (mainly to get places, but once rode a 100-miler just to do it), run (5-minute mile as a young adult, and later a half marathon), and row (did a marathon on a machine);  in 2008, ran a 7-minute mile (yes, I'm slowing down but am trying to decrease the rate of slowdown) and a second half marathon, and in 2009 ran under 31 seconds (200 m) and 73 seconds (400 m);  also in 2009 I made a juggling video and learned to ride a unicycle;  since then, instead of these Occasional Goals I'm mainly doing...
        CONTINUAL GOALS:  I have a list of exercises to do regularly, at home 2-4 times each week (the goal varies for each exercise) plus two workouts at the gym, and this list provides motivation;  during weeks when I'm paying attention to the list I usually do the exercises, but I usually don't when I'm ignoring the list.  The goal of these exercises is practical, to invest a reasonable amount of time (and with multi-tasking it doesn't require much extra time, it mainly requires discipline) to gain the main benefits of exercise.   { This is one application of an 80/20 Principle, with 80% of health benefits coming from the first 20% of exercising effort. }
        OCCASIONAL GOALS:  Instead of things to do every week, these require a higher level of effort than is needed for basic fitness, and they seem to happen once every few years for a couple of months. [then I describe some of these goals in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2004, and 2008-2009; many are outlined above in the paragraph that begins, "Currently, for fitness..."]


• analogous page for Arts and Arts-Science

• Craig Rusbult, craig@chem.wisc.edu