Apparently, according to the Sheffield Hallam University archive, I’ve published over 200 articles in journals, conferences and the like going back to the early 1990s. This makes me feel very old.  Most papers are on the topic of sports engineering but, more recently, they’ve been about health and wellbeing and especially about parkrun (I’m chair of the parkrun Research Board).  You can see the full list here if you’re really interested, but below are some of my papers that show what I’m into:

HAAKE, Steve, QUIRK, Helen and BULLAS, Alice (2022). The health benefits of volunteering at a free, weekly, 5 km event in the UK: a cross-sectional study of volunteers at parkrun. PLOS Global Public Health, 2 (2). This paper focuses on the benefits of parkrun to those who just volunteer rather than runners or walkers who also volunteer. Those who volunteer exclusively are more likely to do so because they wanted to feel part of a community or to give something back; runners/walkers are more likely to volunteer because of a feeling of obligation.

QUIRK, Helen, BULLAS, Alice, HAAKE, Steve, GOYDER, Elizabeth, GRANEY, Mike, WELLINGTON, Chrissie, COPELAND, Robert, REECE, Lindsey and STEVINSON, Clare (2021). Exploring the benefits of participation in community-based running and walking events: a cross-sectional survey of parkrun participants. BMC Public Health, 21 (1).   At last! Our parkrun survey of 2018 gets published.  With 60,000 survey returns and 47 questions, we ended up with 11 million pieces of information and an additional 600,000 words from the free-text comments. This paper found that parkrun attracts a broad range of the population from young to old, least active to most active and most deprived to least deprived.  More of those who were inactive at registration and from deprived neighbourhoods reported improvements to fitness (92% v. 89%), physical health (90% v. 85%), happiness (84% v. 79%) and mental health (76% v. 69%). Important stuff!

Luca Taraborrelli, Simon Choppin, Steve Haake, Stefan Mohr and Tom Allen (2021). Effect of materials and design on the bending stiffness of tennis rackets.  European Journal of Physics, 42 (6), 065005.  I like this paper because it followed on from a paper from a decade ago in which we measured the properties of tennis rackets from the 1890s to 2007 to see how they’d evolved.  Luca Taraborrelli did a great job analysing all those rackets!

Such E., Salway S., Copeland R., Haake S., and Mann S. (2017).  A formative review of physical activity interventions for minority ethnic populations in England. Journal of Public Health, 39 (4), e265-e274.  This paper came out of a review that UK Active did of schemes from across the country to increase physical activity levels.  Liz Such did a great job distilling the information into a paper.

Sanchez, A., Mills C., Haake S., Norris M. and Scurr J. (2017). Quantification of gravity-induced skin strain across the breast surface. Clinical Biomechanics, 50, 47-55.  I’ve been privileged to work with Prof Jo Scurr and her team in Portsmouth on breast biomechanics, helping to add some mechanical modelling to their sports science studies of breast motion and the design of sports bras.  Keeping the breast close to its ‘neutral position’ is the key to comfort during exercise.

Speake H., Copeland R., Till S., Breckon J., Haake S., Hart O. (2016).  Embedding physical activity in the heart of the NHS: the need for a whole-system approach. Sports Medicine, 46 (7), 939-946.  My role in this paper was minor but Helen Speake has done some ground-breaking work with her PhD on how you actually get people to do more physical activity in a setting as complex as the NHS.  It’s work like this that will change the world.

Haake S.J., Foster L. & James D. (2015).  An improvement index to quantify the evolution of performance in field events. Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol. 33, (3), pp. 255-267


Haake S.J., Foster L. & James D. (2014)  An improvement index to quantify the evolution of performance in running.  Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol. 32, (7), pp. 610-622.  These two papers go together: they show how raw data from sports can be used to compare performances across athletic events and over long periods of time.  It allows us to answer the question, ‘how much does technology improve performance?’

Driscoll H., Kelley J., Kirk B., Koerger H., and Haake S. (2015). Measurement of studded shoe–surface interaction metrics during in situ performance analysis. Sports Engineering, 18 (2), 105-113.  Heather Driscoll (now Dr Heather Driscoll) did her PhD on football boot traction for adidas.  The really elegant part of her work was working out how to deduce what the studs were doing while they were in contact with the ground, despite not being able to see them or measure them in any way.

Lukes, R.A., Hart, J. & Haake, S.J. (2012).  An analytical model for track cycling.  Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, Part P: Vol. 226 (2), pp. 143-151.  Richard Lukes did a great job looking at the aerodynamics of cycling and creating a mathematical model of the Manchester velodrome.  He took his expertise into the skies: he’s now a pilot for British Airways.

Haake S.J., Allen T., Jones A., Spurr J. & Goodwill S.R. (2012).  Effect of inter-string friction on tennis ball rebound.  Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Journal of Engineering Tribology, Part J: Vol. 226 (7), pp. 626-635.  It turns out that understanding the effect of string friction on the generation of spin in tennis is really hard.  You think you have all eventualities covered but then you always find something that doesn’t fit the model.  Low friction strings tend to give more spin, but not always.

Haake S. (2009). The impact of technology on sporting performance in Olympic sports. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27 (13), 1421-1431.  This started out as a review paper and ended up with a way of comparing performances so that the effect of technology could be assessed.  Surprise surprise, running was least affected, cycling the most, pole vault was in the middle.  The trick here was to work out how to compare a sporting event measured using time with one measured using distance.

Haake S., Goodwill S.R. and Carré M.J. (2007). A new measure of roughness for defining the aerodynamic performance of sports balls. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Journal of mechanical engineering science, Part C: 221 (7), 789-806. This is one of my best papers where I took tribology measures of roughness and compared them with how sports balls performed in wind tunnels.  Every sports ball manufacturer should use this research!  However, it seems to have vanished in this sporting backwater: next time I’ll choose a better title and a sports journal.