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Physics in Sports

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Christopher Gooden

Dr. Jan Yarrison-Rice

Physics 101

5 April 2005

Physics in Sports

When many people think of sports, the topic of physics doesn't always come to mind. They usually don't think about connecting athletics with academics. In reality math, science, and especially physics, tie into every aspect of sports. Sports are a commonality that brings nations together, Soccer, known as football to most of the world, is said to an unspoken language, which unties people from different lands through a passion to play a game. Athletics and sports are made by the people who play, watch, and study them. Without all of the enthusiastic participants, there would be no development, education, and intensity that we all know and love about sports. The one component that reigns over the world of sports that most people don't realize is physics, Gravity, uniform circular motion, projectile motion, and constant acceleration are a few that occur in every sport event that has ever taken place.

In the three articles that I chose to write about the concepts of physics are explained in each one. In every article there is the similarity that physics and technology are the reasons for the advances in the sports. In the first article it is evident by the statement, "High-tech bats have so enhanced players' power that some leagues have taken to limiting the number of home runs a team can hit." (Jay Greene 2,3) Even in the second article with the statement, "The higher we can get the COR, the faster the ball would shoot off from the "collision" - it would go further." (Coefficient of Restitution 2,1) Lastly in the third article when the author stated, "Clearly, pole-vaulting is an example of a sport in which technology has been used to improve athletic performance." (The Physics of pole-vaulting ) Without physics these technological advances could not be made. Although these technological advances dont come without some issues attached. With the new technology of the carbon and fiberglass bats, questions can be asked like, is there a point where advancements have gone too far? If bats are continuing to be modified and made to hit the ball farther, what will happen to the game of baseball? Already some bats are being banned from leagues and players feel they have to take more safety precautions because of the potential injury from the ball speed. I really believe that the bat industry will continue to thrive. As long as there are people out there willing to spend 300 dollars on an illegal bat there is money to be made. As for the golf industry there is the issue of everybody wanting to hit the ball farther, and the golf companies keep putting out new clubs that allow this to be possible. So I really think that the golf companies will continue to hover around the upper limit COR of .83 for drivers because there is still a really high demand for drivers that hit the ball a long way. For pole-vaulting I see no issue in the near future. It will be exciting to see the new advances made to the poles and to see how high the athletes can get. As for the new sciences in the three articles I really learned a lot. I learned what the trampoline effect was and how it ties into more than just one sport. I learned what the coefficient of restitution was and how it affects the flight of a golf ball. I also learned what strain energy was and how it applies to stored energy. But most importantly I think, is that I learned that without the understanding of physics none of these sports would be organized or be able to make the advances that it has over the years.

When it comes down to it everybody is affected by physics in sports. If there are rules and regulations put on products then the producers are affected greatly. The consumers are always affected by what the producers put out for them to have. If they are educated on the physics of the sport then they can make the best possible decision when it comes to picking a product. This also affects scientists; it's their jobs to find ways to make the product better, in any way possible by using physics. Lastly if you are just a fan of sports it is more exciting to see the best possible entertainment, and the new technology allows for this. Looking at physics in sports and who is affected by it, its obvious to see that there is a cycle. All of the groups are linked together in one way or another.

With the new technology that physics in sports allows, there are many ways that the physical science can be utilized by today's society. Giving a specific example, Baseball is America's favorite pastime. The studies that are being done on the physics involved in baseball can greatly help the players and thus create a better sport for people to go out and watch. Baseball is a large part of our society, just like any other sport. And the knowledge of the physics involved can help make it a better sport. Staying with baseball, physical science could be utilized by the players if they study the pitcher and see if he gives certain hints that could give away what type of pitch he is throwing such as facial expressions or body movements. This would allow them more time to begin the swing and concentrate more on where the ball might end up instead of what type of pitch is coming. In general though athletes



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