The Physics of Spin in Sport

This interactive resource provides information on the dynamics of flight for different projectiles in sport: a cricket ball, golf ball, foot ball, tennis ball, Frisbee and a shuttle cock. The information is most appropriate for GCSE to A-level Physics. Some content is at undergraduate physics level but could be used for A-level practical investigations. In each case, the equation of motion for a spinning projectile is given – this equation is only appropriate for A-level projects. More qualitative information is given by clicking the “next” button. A helpful video clip is included for the cricket ball, drag-velocity graphs for the golf ball and tennis ball, and force diagrams for the Frisbee and badminton shuttle-cock. The spin in tennis section also includes a simulator for the path of the ball, where parameters such as speed, vertical angle, spin and ball type can be altered by the user. The content was produced by the Cooke Associates and Cambridge University Cavendish Laboratory and includes support from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the Institute of Physics and the Science Enhancement Programme.

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Please be aware that resources have been published on the website in the form that they were originally supplied. This means that procedures reflect general practice and standards applicable at the time resources were produced and cannot be assumed to be acceptable today. Website users are fully responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is in accordance with current regulations related to health and safety and that an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.

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