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  • Writer's pictureJUSTIN LEONARD

Conventional Wingspan Measuring Techniques: Issues and Limitations

Updated: 7 days ago

In a doctor's office, a staff person or two is needed to assist with accurate wingspan measurement. Very often such measurements are done with a tape measure. In such cases, the patient cannot assist because the measurement is done from the subject's middle fingers of each hand. Therefore, it takes two staff, at least, to perform the measurement of the wingspan.


Additionally, when measuring wingspan using a tape measure, there is often times a tendency for the tape to arch over a long, gradual curve. This makes it difficult to secure an accurate reading of the measurement from fingertip to fingertip. In fact, a third assistant is needed to prevent such arching to obtain reliable wingspan measurements.


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Another method of measuring wingspan includes securing a tape measure directly to a wall. Similar to the measurements performed in a doctor's office, the subject stands facing away from the wall with his arms extended outwardly. The wingspan measurement is then recorded.


This measuring method can be problematic because the tape measure itself must be perfectly level on the wall for the measurement to be accurate. Next, the subject's arms must be perfectly straight to ensure accuracy. Should the subject's hands or arms touch the wall during the test, then a likely inaccurate measurement will result because the subject's shoulders are retracted too far, which renders a shorter wingspan reading than otherwise.


Discussed above have been methods of obtaining wingspan measurements in a strictly controlled environment; usually indoors. An important use of wingspan measurements takes place on the playing or practice field or in general in open space.


There are no walls and finding three assistants to take the wingspan measurement may be difficult. Additionally, the time involved for such above described methods is not practical when there 200 or more athletes at a sports camp that need to be measured.


The number of coaches/assistants required to administer a wingspan test ideally should not exceed one. Finally, there is an established need to take such measurement on an open field, such as a practice or a playing field.

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