Jamie Skaggs ’15 represented Harvard-Westlake at the E.W. Barker Institute of Sports International Youth Sports Science Conference 2013 held in Singapore in August. Skaggs, accompanied by Alessandra Marenzi ’14 and science teacher David Hinden, presented two studies she conducted to the group of international students.
The group was in Singapore for a week and the first couple days were spent sightseeing and exploring the city, Hinden said. After, they met students from Kenya, South Africa, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and India at the conference. They then had three days of presentations and research regarding sports science.
“Some of the schools had a group of kids who presented, and other schools didn’t present, they just mainly came to watch and learn,” Skaggs said.
Skaggs’ first study tested maximum voluntary ventilation, which is how much air athletes move in and out of their lungs in various positions.
“Coaches always tell their athletes to put their hands on top of their head after running to breathe, but we think it’s actually a lot easier to lean forward instead,” Skaggs said.
Her second study related to how overall flexibility affects athletic performance. Skaggs worked with the coaches and physical trainers at Harvard-Westlake, and used the track team for her study. She had athletes perform three different flexibility tests and then timed their 100-meter sprint and their vertical jump height. She hoped to find a connection between flexibility and their time and jump height.
“We found that athletes with the most flexible hamstrings actually jump the lowest, and that less flexible athletes jump higher,” Skaggs said.
Marenzi wants to study sports medicine in college and Hinden suggested she go along.
A lot of the kids attending the conferences researched recovery drinks, such as Gatorade V and chocolate milk, where Marenzi learned that chocolate milk is a better recovery drink.
“After having gone on the trip I’m thinking about conducting a study once I figure it out and see what resources are available for my use,” Marenzi said.
“It was a lot of fun meeting the other kids from the other countries and learning about how different their schools are,” Skaggs said. “The school that we visited had amazing facilities and they had a really good sports medicine program, and I hope we can expand our sports medicine program at school in the future.”