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Physics in Sports Essay

Everything from kicking a ball into a goal to running from one side to the other side of the field is based on physics. Physics plays a key role in sports; it can impact on a player either positively or even negatively. Gravity, friction, motion and projectile affects sport in every aspect. How physics affects Sports No matter how hard or high you kick a ball as a result of gravity it will be pulled back down to earth. Although the rate at which it descends may vary on its mass and surface area, it will still have to come down.

If thrown at any other angle than 90i??it will have a parabolic path (trajectory). Also air resistance and friction will reduce the rate at which the ball moves. The law of conservation of energy also plays a major role in sports. In football if you kick a ball you are transferring kinetic energy from your foot to the ball. From the pendulum balls by the side you can see how energy transfer works. If you lift the ball at left then energy will be passed on to the neighbouring ball and as a result the ball at the end will move the same distance from which it was released on the other side.

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Similarly in this diagram the character kicks the ball transferring kinetic energy from his foot to the ball. The ball moves and rises and therefore the kinetic energy will be converted into gravitational potential energy. Speed is another factor that is based on physics. In any sports using the force applied, time and the mass you can work out the final/initial velocity assuming that initial/final velocity is zero. Alternatively you can work out speed if you are given the time taken and distance it travels.

How technological development has made the data collected more valid and reliable than with traditional methods of studying mechanics. Technology has developed at a staggering rate over the recent years. This allowed us to measure data much more accurately, as humans can make errors in timing due to reaction time both at start and end. Also the development of light gates allowed us to measure speed, time and acceleration. This can then be plotted on a graph and the graph can drawn/ edited in real time (as the measurements are taken the graph can be plotted and the line of best fit can be changed).

Experiment for measuring Speed You can measure speed using a simple tennis ball. Set a straight horizontal track and makes sure it is straight. Measure the length of the track. You will need a timer to time the experiment. Roll the tennis ball through the measured distance and time it. Then use V=S/T (Velocity=Displacement/Time) to find out Speed at which it was travelling. Alternatively the velocity can be measure by setting a light gate near the end of the track and connecting it to a Data logger, and this will display the data on the screen, so that it is easier for you to read.

You have to set up the data logger so that it measures speed also you have to choose the diameter of the ball which will pass through the light gate.

Sources: Edexcel AS Physics – Ann Fullick, Patrick Fullick, Miles Hudson, Sue Howarth – Pearson (2008) page 46 & 47 http://www. soccerballworld. com/Physics. htm – Physics World magazine, June 1998 pg 25-27. http://physics-of-sport. net/basketball. html http://www. serioussoccer. net/Documents/PhysicsofSoccer. pdf.

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