GO FOR SPIN: A student is silhouetted as she cycles on a stationary bicycle while watching a video of a French cycle route.
GO FOR SPIN: A student is silhouetted as she cycles on a stationary bicycle while watching a video of a French cycle route. Claudia Baxter

Hi-tech school lab will give students the edge

FANCY challenging your physical condition by taking on a leg of the Tour de France, or getting an in-depth analysis of your tennis serving technique?

For students at one Ipswich high school the hills of France can be found in a newly opened human movements lab.

Ipswich Girls' Grammar School has state-of the-art technology at its disposal to help build better athletes.

The lab opened this month.

Athletes who excel in sports including cycling, athletics, volleyball, and those who want to get some exercise, can use the hi-tech gym.

For elite athletes video analysis technology for assessing technique and laser gates to assess a sprinter's start linked to computer programs on iPads, are just some of the assets at the students' disposal. Cyclists can choose rides varying in length from 6km to 50km from the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.

It also features gym equipment and a spin room for students wanting to work out.

Students can analyse their technique, work on injury rehab or go for a virtual cycle on legendary cycling courses.

Head of Health and Physical Education Stewart Drinkeld said the gym had been in development for three years and was expected to give the students an edge.

Mr Drinkeld said the school was home to state and national level athletes, and facilities like the ones on offer in the human movements lab should improve their performances.

"They have specific programs for their sports and rehab programs for what they are doing," he said.

"They can do analysis of their serve to look for improvements by breaking it all down, monitoring it and making the adjustment."

To give the students extra encouragement, an honour board stands in the gym ready to be etched with the names of high-achieving athletes.

Mr Drinkeld collated all the times from throughout the year to establish a benchmark for the girls to aim for.

He said the girls had been comparing their times hoping to be the first on the board.

"It's all been about who is going to be the first name to go up, and to give them a bit of a trigger to want to do their best," Mr Drinkeld said.

He hoped the lab would be used by visiting representative sides during school holidays.



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