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Q & A: The Physics of Baseball and Tennis

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Q:
I need info on the physics of softbsll and tennis for an 8thgrade science project for LD students. thanks. chris
- chris (age 49)
delmar,ny
A:
Chris -

Sports like baseball and tennis really do involve a lot of physics. We've answered some questions about the details of this already, like "Why do tennis balls lose their bounce when removed from their tubes?," and other similar questions. You can check these out on our questions list.

Both baseball and tennis involve a lot of forces, for example the force between the bat (or the racket) and the ball. There's also a lot of physics involved in the ways that various types of balls bounce, and what you can do to change the ways that they bounce. You can also look at how outside forces, such as gravity or wind, effect the movement of the balls.

Here's a link to the Exploratorium: Sport Science! site. They have a lot of really cool articles about the ways that sports involves science. They also have a whole lot of cool activities that you can do, including a number on baseball in specific. Here's links to just a few of them:

Thrown For a Curve
Bouncing Balls
Finding the Sweet Spot

You can get to these, and lots of other cool activities about sports and science from the Sport Science site above. Good luck!

-Tamara

(republished on 07/19/06)

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