The biomechanical principle of motion relates to linear motion, velocity, speed, acceleration, and momentum. Motion is a movement that results from a force. In any physical activity, there are multiple forces and motions occurring. This could include angular motion around a joint or the motion of the whole body in various directions. The motion or movements of the body are often caused by forces produced by our muscles, but this is not always the case. For example, if an opposition player pushes you to the ground, the force has come from them, and not your own muscles.

Motion can be linear, angular or general. The type of motion is determined by the direction of movement. The only type of motion you are asked to understand is linear motion. However, in order to properly apply velocity, speed, acceleration, and momentum the other types of motion should also be defined.

Angular motion is motion in a circular movement around a central point. Essentially every movement of your body at a joint is angular.

General motion is a combination of linear and angular motion, such as completing the 400m sprint.

The Preliminary PDHPE syllabus states the following for this dot point.

Students learn about:

  • motion
    • the application of linear motion, velocity, speed, acceleration, momentum in movement and performance contexts

Students learn to:

  • apply principles of motion to enhance performance through participation in practical workshops

Practice Exam Questions

What is the relationship between linear motion and superior times in 100m sprinting? 3 marks

Provide sporting examples where momentum, velocity, and acceleration interact to affect performance in a particular sport. 6 marks

Identify the similarities and differences between motion, velocity, speed, acceleration, and momentum using specific sporting examples. 8 marks


Brendan Burkett. Basic principles for understanding sport mechanics. at