Glenbrook South Year-End Projects
The Physics of
Basic Research Questions
Your role as researcher for this project involves acquiring a
wealth of technical information on the application of physics
priniciples to a variety of sports. The process of conducting a
literature search should yield some basic information about the
connections between physics and athletics. Some basic topics for
research and ultimate discussion have been listed below to assist you
in the initial stages of your literature search. The role of this
listing is to provide an initial framework for your literature search
and not a conclusive list of topics to be discussed. Your group is
expected to go beyond these topics, exploring diverse areas of
individual interest about the physics of sports.
- Identify the variety of kinematic descriptions of motion and
use such descriptions to discuss the physics of motion for a
specific or a variety of sports.
- Use kinematic equations and (if appropriate) projectile
principles and reasonable estimations of real-world motion
parameters (initial velocity, time, displacement, acceleration,
etc.) to describe a final outcome (displacement, time, final
velocity, acceleration, etc.) of a motion in sports.
- Identify Newton's laws and discuss a variety of their
applications to sports.
- Using free-body diagrams, Newton's second law, and vector
applications, explain the motion of objects (in sports) in terms
of individual forces, net force, and acceleration.
- Describe the motion characteristics of a projectile and
identify such projectiles in sports.
- Discuss the influence of air resistance on the path of an
air-borne object and relate such influences to aerodynamic
- Analyze movement in sports using work-energy principles;
represent motion in terms of work-energy bar charts and utilize
the work-energy theorem to perform mathematical analyses of
movements in sports.
- Discuss the impulse-momentum change theorem and use the
theorem to perform both qualitative and quantitative analyses of
collisions in sports.
- Discuss the law of momentum conservation and use a momentum
analysis to study collisions in sports.
- Discuss circular amd rotational motion principles and apply
these principles to analyze a movement in sports.
- Compare and contrast selected movements which are common to
all sports (collisions, accelerations, projectiles, rotation and
spin, etc.) and explain the differences of these movements among
sports in terms of the equipment, the goals of the sports, etc.
- Describe the method of video analysis and explain how sports
scientists can use such methods analyze the efficiency and
effectiveness of certain movements in sports.
- Describe the method of computer modeling and explain how
sports scientists can use such methods to analyze certain
movements in sports and make improvements in the form and style.
- Identify an example by which scientific knowledge and
scientific research has led to improvements in a given sport.
The Physics of Sports
Other GBS Resources
The GBS Physics staff invite
you to send electronic mail:
Questions and comments can be sent to
This page last updated on 2/22/98.