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entry 1 (projectile motion lacrosse)



When we learned about projectile motion, I put it to use with my lacrosse playing. I play goalie, and the only aspect of my game that I really struggle with is my clears. Clearing is when, after I make a save, I have to pass the ball out to my team so they can transition it to the offensive end to score. Generally, goalies are supposed to have very far "clears" so they can pass to almost anybody on the field. Considering I don't have a very far throw, I thought that if I were able to release the ball at closer to a 45 degree angle, I would get a farther throw, so that's what I did.

I decided to test my theory during a practice with a bucket of lacrosse balls and my friend who is on my lacrosse team, standing at a reasonable distance to pass to. I took 10 balls and cleared them to my teammate the way I normally throw. Standing in the goal crease (circle on the field where the goal stands), I managed to throw on average about a 45 yard clear. My release point was about at the top of the arc created by the throwing motion of my stick. Next, I took 10 more balls and tried to release them at closer to a 45 degree angle. On average, my clears reached about a 35 yard mark.

My projectile motion theory turned out to be false. My throw was actually farther when I cleared the way I previously learned. Sources of error could be a misread of the spot where my teammate caught the ball or the lacrosse balls weren't the exact same texture (some more slippery then others) so they wouldn't get traction in my stick. An explanation for this error could be that lacrosse sticks are designed to have maximum distance at the top of your arc, considering most goalies are not physics genius', like myself. :lol:

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Great blog post!  Another effect could be air resistance... we neglect air resistance in most of our analyses (and know that a projectile travels a maximum range on even ground when launched at 45 degrees in the absence of air resistance).  In the real world, however, 45 degrees isn't always optimal due to the effect of drag forces such as air.  

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