The Science of Softball


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The Science of Softball

  1. 1. Softball The Science of Cassaundra Hisch EDUC 373.002 Fall 2009 Sandrick
  2. 2. Over the summer, my coworkers participated in a co-ed softball league. Every Monday night I went to the games and took pictures. I began to wonder why some players could get a hit every time, while others' attempts got them out, so I decided to take a look at the science behind the hits. My Experience
  3. 3. What's the best way to hit the softball? What happens when the softball hits the bat? How much work is required to hit a home run? How does a bat work? QUESTIONS
  4. 4. Standards <ul><li>Forces of Nature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5.3.11-Investigate and describe that changes in speed or direction of motion of an object are caused by forces. Understand that the greater the force, the greater the change in motion and the more massive an object, the less effect a given force will have. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5.3.13-Demonstrate that Earth's gravity pulls any object toward it without touching it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Numbers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5.5.1-Make precise and varied measurements and specify the appropriate units. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What's the best way to hit a softball? <ul><li>The best way to hit a softball, is to hit it off the “sweet spot” of the bat. </li></ul><ul><li>The “sweet spot” is the part of the bat where the vibrations through the bat cancel each other out. The hitter feels no shaking or stinging when the ball strikes the sweet spot. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the energy of the swing is therefore transferred to the ball, instead of in the bat. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  6. 6. Activity: How to find the sweet spot <ul><li>“ To find one of the 'sweet spots' on a baseball bat, hold the bat, hanging down, loosely between your thumb and index finger, just below the knob on the bat's handle. Have a friend tap the bat gently with a hammer, starting at the fat end and moving toward the handle. (You can also do it yourself, although it's easier and more fun with a friend.) You should feel a vibration in your fingers whenever the bat is struck, except when the &quot;node&quot; is hit; then you'll feel nothing. You may also notice a slightly different sound when the node is struck.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. What happens when the softball hits the bat? <ul><li>As the ball hits the bat, the softball deforms, or becomes squished. </li></ul><ul><li>A softball experiences more contact time with the bat, so it leaves the bat with less velocity, or speed. </li></ul><ul><li>The bat also experiences some deformation, but not as much as the ball. </li></ul>
  8. 8. What happens when the softball hits the bat? (cont) <ul><li>When the softball changes direction, the ball is still deformed slightly. </li></ul><ul><li>The change in direction is caused by the force of the bat striking the ball. </li></ul><ul><li>The heavier the bat, the greater the force it pushes the ball forward with. </li></ul>
  9. 9. How much work is required to hit a home run? <ul><li>Hitting a home run requires hitting the ball at the correct angle and at a high speed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Angle: The angle must make the ball fly high enough to clear the players on the field. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The amount of force you hit the ball with must be greater than the force of air against it. </li></ul><ul><li>Air resistance will eventually slow the ball down and gravity will bring it back to the to ground. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Interesting... <ul><li>The force that the bat hits the ball with is so intense that the ball actually changes direction and gains speed. </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine running very fast across a field, then having to quickly change direction and run even faster...that's a lot of work! </li></ul><ul><li>The push of the bat can be up to 4 tons of force. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Home run Activity <ul><li>This app lets you pick the venue, speed, and angle of the hit to experiment. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, at a speed of 130 mph and an angle of 46 degrees, a home run is hit. </li></ul>
  12. 12. How does a bat work? <ul><li>A baseball bat is actually a simple machine. </li></ul><ul><li>It acts as a lever, with the fulcrum being where the batter holds the bat. </li></ul><ul><li>Levers change the position of the load. In the case of softball, the load is the ball. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Resources <ul><li>Baseball activity: “finding the sweet spot.” Retrieved from </li></ul><ul><li>The force of gauge: science at the ballgame. Retrieved September 19, 2009, from </li></ul><ul><li>Matson, John. (2009). Field equations: the physics of baseball. Scientific American. Retrieved September 20, 2009, from </li></ul><ul><li>Russell, Daniel A. (2003). Physics and acoustics of baseball & softball bats. Flint, MI: Kettering University. Retrieved September 19, 2009, from </li></ul><ul><li>Tenenbaum, David (2002). High-flying hits. Retrieved from </li></ul>