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Application of Newton’s Laws of Motion in Sports

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Sports are most easy and convenient ways for the very good physical and mental exercise. Sports bring a lot of benefits to everyone. Sports provide a person the feeling of well-being and encourage living a healthy life. It keeps us fit and healthy as away from problems of drug addiction and crime. It keeps body in shape which makes us strong and active however it also keeps mind peaceful which brings positive thoughts and keeps us away from the many diseases and disorders. It gives people lots of energy and strength as well as removes all the tiredness and lethargy by improving the blood circulation all through the body and promoting the physical and mental well-being. It improves ones capability, work efficiency and prevent from being exhausted mentally and physically. It is the integral part of improving the quality of education among students. Sports and education both together are the best ways of achieving success in life. Moreover, sports can be a tool for creating peace. Nowadays, sports are used to compete with each other between countries rather than warring. The Olympics is an example of a large event that can be showcased as a friendly competition between each countries. 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. Physics plays a dominant role in the way athletes perform and the way the sport is played. Almost in every sport there is a great importance of physics.

First and foremost, basketball is a team sport. Each team requires to score by tossing the ball through the opponent’s goal, an elevated horizontal hoop and net called a basket. The ball can only be moved by dribbling and passing the ball to each player. Basketballs bounce due to the pressurized air inside of them, gravity and Newton’s Laws of Motion. When a player dribbles a basketball, his hand and gravity push the ball towards the ground. It is Newton’s First Law of Motion that states that every object will continue in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless a resultant force acts on it. The ball accelerates as it drops. It is Newton’s Second Law of Motion that states when a resultant force acts on object of a constant mass, the object will accelerate in the direction of the resultant force. The product of the mass and acceleration of the object gives the resultant force. Then, the ball pushes into the ground and compressing the air inside when it hits. The ground pushes up with an equal but opposite amount of force causing in the ball bouncing back up in to player’s hand. It is Newton’s Third Law that states if body A exerts a Force F on body B, then body B will exert an equal and opposite force F on body A. The energy in the compressed air is transferred back to the ball pushing it back into motion. If player stops dribbling, the ball would continue to bounce due to Newton’s first law, but it would start to slow down and after some time it stops due to friction. Besides that, the bumps on the surface of the ball, called pebbling is all about friction. When forces collide, friction naturally slows things down over time and the more points of contact an object has with another surface the more friction comes into play. The bumps on the basketball can increase the surface area of the ball and the amount of friction acting on it. The pebbling on the ball lets player to grip, pass quickly, and dribble without fear that the ball will slip away in a random direction.

Secondly, gymnastics is a sport that includes exercises requiring balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination and endurance. In the Olympics it is one of the most popular sports and certainly one of the most interesting to watch. In gymnastics, gymnasts learn to manipulate their bodies in order to take advantage of Newton’s laws of Motion so that they can pull off spectacular tricks. During a handspring vault, the gymnast runs toward the vault, jumps onto the springboard with both feet and places both hands on the vault. Once the gymnast pushes off his hands, he can perform a variety of twists, flips and maneuvers. The gymnast reaches her maximum velocity after running down the runway to get the greatest force onto the springboard. The force applied to the board causes the springs to compress, resulting in an action-reaction force that causes her to go into the air with greater acceleration. After leaving the table, she accelerates upward then reaches a maximum height, following a parabolic path. When in the air, the gymnast will rotate, starting immediately after leaving the table. The rotational speed is important, in order to reduce air time, the speed must be greater, ensuring a safer and better landing. When twisting, gymnast will pull their arms in as tight as possible, reducing their radius and therefore increasing their angular velocity. This is because of the formula of angular velocity, w=v/r, which v is velocity and r is radius. Angular velocity is inversely proportional to angular velocity, thus gymnast can increase their angular velocity by reducing their radius. Then, gymnasts are going against the force of gravity and on their descent, they will reach the ground with a great force acting down. There are mats used to land on that are approximately 8 inches wide. These increase the contact time before the contact time before gymnast hits the ground, reducing the forces that act on their knees. This is about the impulse. Impulse has a formula, F=p/ Δt which F is force, p is momentum and Δt is change in time. Force is inversely proportional to time. Thus, increasing the time of the impact results in a decrease in the force. Furthermore, gymnasts wear grips on their hands for bar. It is to reduce the rubbing of their palms on the bars, thus giving them a better “grip”. They will also use sand paper to roughen the grips so there is even more friction between the bar and the grips. Gymnasts also have to use chalk to prevent slipping. The chalk creates friction between their hands and grips and the bar allowing them to hold on without slipping and safely. Additionally, tumbling involves Newton’s laws, conservation of momentum, inertia and energy. For instant, when a gymnast does a simple cartwheel, they lean forward. Then, begin to fall. Their inertia carries them forward until their hands reach the ground, then momentum and angular momentum brings their feet around and back to the ground. Newton’s Third Law also applies here. When a gymnast tumbles, they apply a force pushing down on them and use the reaction force to gain power in their tumbling.

Ballet is also considered as a sport. The most important piece of physics used in all types of dance is being able to find a centre of balance. Without this, a dancer cannot turn, leap, arabesque or even stand on relevé. In order to balance while standing still, net torque and net force must equal to zero. A dancer’s body must be in equilibrium in order to execute any of these moves. When it comes to turning in dance the most important thing, besides finding a center of balance is torque and friction. Torque controls how fast a ballerina turns and comes from when a ballerina brings her arms in and out or from first position to second position while turning. Most turns in ballet are done on one foot, which makes it harder to find equilibrium and a center of balance. The weight on each side of the body must be equal in order to do these turns without falling over. Another thing that helps with turning is spotting, which is whipping head around. This keeps a ballerina from getting dizzy while turning. It is also used to keep head at the axis rotation and help to keep the center of balance. In a pirouette, a dancer begins from a deep plié in fourth position. Then the ballerina springs from her plié into relevé and bring her arms created momentum. The most important part of a pirouette is making sure you have a deep plié to create enough momentum to get a dancer around. In fouettes turns, a dancer plies with her leg extended, then as the ballerina relevé, she moved her leg around which is called “rond de jambe” out to second position before bring her leg to passe. This leg movement creates torque and momentum for the ballerina’s turn. The faster the ballerina’s leg whips around, the faster she turns. On the other hand, rosin is used to stop dancers from slipping or sliding while dancing. It creates friction between the satin of the ballerina’s shoe and the wood of the floor. In all leaps in dance, a ballerina needs strength and a deep plié. Leaps are easier when a dancer can run or sashe into the leap which causes momentum. In addition, a ballerina requires momentum to execute a beautiful grand jeté. Gravity is the main force acting on a ballerina. It is a force that sends the dancer back to the ground. In order the illusion of floating, the dancer should go into a “split” position in the air. Thus, changing the distance between the center of gravity and ballerina’s head. Next, when doing grand battements and jumps, the Newton’s Third Law is applied. Before kicking the leg up, ballerina need to brush into the ground or plié, because the force ballerina uses to brush into the ground or plié is the same amount of force that will act on upward movement. Therefore, if ballerina use enough force into the ground, her jumps and extensions will be much freer.

As conclusion, sports are connected to physics till the end. Understanding the science behind sports can make athletes to be improved such as run faster and swim further. However, to achieve the goals in sports is not only about the science, there are many other factors too. For example, physical ability, natural talent, endurance and courage. Thus, hard-working and perseverance is the most important attitude to achieve success.

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Application of Newton’s Laws of Motion in Sports. (2020, October 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
“Application of Newton’s Laws of Motion in Sports.” GradesFixer, 31 Oct. 2020,
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