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Yes, The One That Looks Like A Cannonball



The throwing saga continues! This post is all about shot put (the one that looks like throwing a cannonball), my other event. In this a event, throwers compete to see who can launch a weighted metal ball (8 lbs for girls, 12 lbs for guys) the farthest distance. This fairly basic projectile motion, but a lot of people struggle with it. So, here goes:

Actually, I lied. This is slightly more complex projectile motion since, as the diagram shows, the release point in a height (h) off of the ground (not on the ground) which changes out equations quite a bit. However, we know the equation of a projectile in free flight:

So this is very helpful. Now, we want to figure out the angle the will create the maximum distance. A basic knowledge of physics and/or trig will tell us 45 degrees should be the optimum angle of projection. Any higher or shorter and the distance begins to shrink. The following data certainly agrees with that assertion:

If the optimum is around 45 degrees and we know this, why is it so hard for us to throw an 8 lb ball a good distance. A lot of throwers have the issue of completely removing the angle of projection altogether. In doing so, they release straightforward and the distance travelled by the shot is dramatically decreased. The lack of angle is due mostly to the inability of arm muscles to support a shot put (although that means they're holding it wrong).

So what does shot put actually look like?

Ok, not that fast, but you get the idea.

For more info, check out Http://www.people.brunel.ac.uk/~spstnpl/BiomechanicsAthletics/shotput.htm

(this where I got the data and the diagrams!)

That's all I've got! Thanks for checking this out!


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