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It all adds up for sports students

Posted: 05 October 2020

A former-West Nottinghamshire College student has taken time out from his university studies to help sport students decipher complex mathematical data for their first assignment.

Damon Butcher, 21, completed his A-Levels in maths and physics at the college in 2016. Now a maths undergraduate at the University of Derby, Damon’s higher-level skills have proven invaluable for learners on the National Foundation Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science Level 3.

Damon was invited in by sports tutor Maria Higgins to assist her group with the complexities of biomechanics and together they underwent a practical exercise session combined with inputting the data onto graphs in a theory lesson.

Maria said: “Biomechanics is the physics behind movement in the human body. It concentrates on the breakdown of how movement can be analysed in sports performance, enhancement and in injury prevention. It is also key in how sportsmen and women can achieve that extra second of speed and additional power in their sport.

“In order to work out biomechanics effectively, there’s a huge mathematical aspect to it. I remembered how I know a good mathematician and invited Damon in to teach my students how to formulate the equations and they’ve worked really well with him to gather their practical data to plot onto graphs.”

Damon, who would like to become a teacher eventually, observed the students working on physical exercise such as relay speed races and used his knowledge of maths to plot it.

Damon said: “It’s great that I can help the students with the complexities of this science and give them help with the analytical thinking. It’s beneficial to me as well to get some experience of teaching and observing while I’m at the University of Derby.”

Sports student Dominic Williams, 18, from Mansfield, was one of the learners working with Damon. He said: “Our lesson today with Damon has helped us to plot graphs properly after gathering the practical data and will really help us with our research. It’s a complex thing but I feel I have a much better understanding now. This will be really useful in the future as I’d like to go to university after this course and focus on more sports science or personal training.”

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