Projectile Dynamics in Sport: Principles and Applications

Front Cover
Routledge, Sep 13, 2010 - Education - 334 pages
  • How can we predict the trajectory of a baseball from bat to outfield?
  • How do the dimples in a golf ball influence its flight from tee to pin?
  • What forces determine the path of a soccer ball steered over a defensive wall by an elite player?

An understanding of the physical processes involved in throwing, hitting, firing and releasing sporting projectiles is essential for a full understanding of the science that underpins sport. This is the first book to comprehensively examine those processes and to explain the factors governing the trajectories of sporting projectiles once they are set in motion.

From a serve in tennis to the flight of a ’human projectile’ over a high jump bar, this book explains the universal physical and mathematical principles governing movement in sport, and then shows how those principles are applied in specific sporting contexts. Divided into two sections, addressing theory and application respectively, the book explores key concepts such as:

  • friction, spin, drag, impact and bounce
  • computer and mathematical modelling
  • variable sensitivity
  • the design of sports equipment
  • materials science.

Richly illustrated throughout, and containing a wealth of research data as well as worked equations and examples, this book is essential reading for all serious students of sports biomechanics, sports engineering, sports technology, sports equipment design and sports performance analysis.


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Practical applications
Table of physical values and dragtoweight ratio for a variety of sporting projectiles
The fourthorder RungeKutta method
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About the author (2010)

Colin White began his career as a software engineer, working on various military modelling projects. In 1986, he joined the Department of Physics at the University of Portsmouth as Senior Lecturer before transferring, in 2000, to the Department of Sport and Physical Exercise Science where he taught sports technology and modelling.

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