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Hawkin Dynamics StaffOct 11, 2023 12:38:33 PM7 min read

Real-World Academics ━ Physics & Sport Science Research with St. John Fisher University

Students Today → Professionals Tomorrow

St. John Fisher University

A major focus of academic institutions is to adequately prepare their students for the challenges they will face in the real world. Today, colleges and universities must keep up with the ever-evolving job market and the rapid improvements in technology that shape it.

A career in sport science is no different.

The National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) states, that while (job) statistics for applied sport science careers are scarce, nearly every professional and many collegiate athletic programs now have dedicated sport science roles or departments — indicating growth in the field.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Sport Science Research Coordinator at St. John Fisher University,  Robert Enck Ed.D. knows this all too well.

In the spring of 2022, Enck purchased a set of Hawkin Dynamics force plates and an isometric testing rig. After working with the Hawkin onboarding and support team for the summer, he quickly found utility in them and realized the demand at the university for more objective data on their athletes. This data was collected and analyzed by his students. Enck purchased a second set of force plates in that fall.

Robert Enck

Image 2: Robert Enck and three of his students while using force plates.

A Quote From Enck:

"St. John Fisher University has started a unique Sport Science Research Program that was built from a strong connection between academics and athletics that benefits many of our students. The integration of the Hawkin Dynamics force plates has allowed us to gather precise and real-time data on student-athlete performance, enabling our STEM students to apply their analytical skills in a practical setting. Many of our students have now discovered a passion for the sport science field and are considering it as a future career. The use of Hawkin Dynamics force plates at Fisher has allowed for a remarkable transformation in the way we approach physics research and physics classes, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and igniting the aspirations of our students."

- Robert Enck, St. John Fisher University


Continued Growth & Support

In January of 2023 at the NSCA Coaches Conference in Orlando, Florida, Vice President of Performance & Brand at Hawkin Dynamics, Drake Berberet presented to Enck and four of his sport science research students who were attending the conference. This private consultation covered topics such as the basic physics of force plates, how testing on a force plate translates to sporting movement, test type differences and applications, presenting that information to other key stakeholders, applying the information to training, and developing a testing system at the university level.

Who Cares About This Information?
What Test Types Do I Use?
The Data Collection Process

Figure 1: The slides above are from the presentation to SJF students, created by Drake Berberet.


A Quote From Hawkin Dynamics CEO:

When Hawkin Dynamics was founded in 2017, we originally set out to build an easy-to-use, accurate, and portable force plate system that made the jobs of strength and conditioning coaches easier. Fast-forward six years, CEO of Hawkin Dynamics, Ben Watson says, "We never would have imagined the impact that Hawkin Dynamics has had on the force plate research community, as well as university students looking to create their paths in sport science."

SJF force plates

Image 3: Force plate testing at St. John Fisher University.

Student Impact

"As a STEM major, the majority of possible career paths presented to me have been either the medical field or research. The incorporation of force plates in my undergraduate journey has shaped my future career goals. The sports science team at Fisher has solidified my interest in physics as a major and also exposed me to a career in sports science. Working with force plates has strengthened my skills as a data analyst, but they have also opened up a relationship between academics and athletics on campus. Getting to collaborate with student-athletes and coaches, while also working with equipment and data that is relevant in my field of study, has been a huge steppingstone in my educational experience."

- Makena Evans '25, St. John Fisher University, physics major


"While working with Dr. Enck to design a biomechanics course we realized that force plates were an important tool to measure athletic performance. We decided to start a small sports science group by using force plates to test the women’s volleyball team. What began as a ripple has now grown into a valued program at Fisher. Our goal of connecting academics with athletics has been a central vision of our program. As I start a Ph.D. Biochemistry program at Syracuse University, I realize my studies at Syracuse and the sport science experiences at St. John Fisher University can be the platform to entering this field as a sport scientist."

- Sydney French '25, Syracuse University, biochemistry graduate student


"Working with force plates as a student has really sparked my interest in a career in the sports science field. These devices have uncovered a captivating world of data-driven insights into human performance. It has shown me the incredible potential of data to improve athletic performance and prevent injuries. It's fascinating to see how force plates can measure things like jumps and balance with extreme precision. This hands-on experience has made me passionate about using technology to enhance sports and help athletes reach their full potential. I'm excited about the opportunities in the sports science field and eager to contribute to this exciting field in the future."

- Delaney Calabria '25, St. John Fisher University, physics major


"In my sophomore year I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Enck on a research project analyzing the metrics surrounding neuromuscular fatigue. I began my research experience learning how to use force plates and how to interpret the data I collected. I attended meetings with different sports teams, and I was interested in the many ways that coaches were using the data. I am now an athletic performance major with a physics minor because of my passions surrounding the physics side of sports. This past summer, I was given an amazing opportunity to continue my research using data collected from our force plates. I love that there are so many possibilities when it comes to using force plates. I am very happy to have found this path and I am excited to see what my future in the sports science field looks like."

- Emily Frech '25,  St. John Fisher University, athletic performance major and physics minor


"While playing volleyball at St. John Fisher University I had an incredible experience with collegiate athletics. Simultaneously, I fell in love with my majors in the Physics and Math Departments at Fisher. As a result, I decided to move away from volleyball and devote my energies to my studies in physics and math. Using the Hawkins Dynamics force plates has truly filled the void of no longer playing a sport. The implementation of the force plates for our athletic teams has been paramount in allowing me to bridge the gap between academics and athletics. I can appreciate all the elements of forces through the lens of an athlete and believe these force plates are an invaluable tool in not only enhancing our teams’ athletic performance, but also strengthening our physics research program."

- Cyrus Felton '25, St. John Fisher University, physics major

SJF_blog2023 (1)

Image 4: Caleb and Sydney from SJF force plate testing a CMJ and Isometric Mid Thigh Pull

Hawkin Dynamics in Academics

As Hawkin Dynamics continues to provide St. John Fisher University with unparalleled customer and research support, we also look to expand a similar model to other academic institutions.

SJF is not our first academic partnership, and certainly not our last. We have strong academic relationships both domestically and internationally, where we sponsor both Master's and PhD candidates:

Research Outlook

The majority of HD internal research is driven by Hawkin Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Peter Mundy. Dr. Mundy is an asset for all universities looking to publish research using Hawkin Dynamics force plates. You can find a list of all current research on HD Force Plates here.

In addition to supporting research efforts, we also look to develop students for their future by providing them with real-life experiences using force plates in practice. A partnership with Hawkin Dynamics between your university academic department and athletics is a great way to do this. A partnership like this can also help alleviate budget constraints for athletic departments. If you are interested in learning more about a potential partnership like this, reach out to our team today using this link to request a quote and talk to a Hawkin Research representative.