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Volleyball through physics

Christina H.


Most people dont realize that there is science through playing a sport. Watching or playing volleyball is a great way to grasp the principles of physics. Understanding physics can be tricky if you just look at the mind boggling equations and such, but by connecting physics to other things, such as volleyball, physics can help you learn in an easier way.


Gravitational force impacts every aspect of volleyball; whether you are serving, passing, or hitting. Gravity will effect every contact with the volleyball. When some one is going to serve, the server uses upward and forward force on the volleyball, while gravity is using a downward force. Because of the downward force of gravity, the volleyball will make it over the net onto the other side. There are different types of serves that can make it harder for the opponent to pass it on the other side. One type of serve is called the jump-float. This particular type of serve has no spin to it, when the player contacts the ball they try to hit the ball with the plam of thier hand without snapping their wrist. When people are performing the jump float serve, they stand back a couple of feet. This is because, the player wants to ensure that the volleyball is cutting through as much air as possible. The longer the volleyball is in the air the more the volleyball is exposed to the air stream. The jump float serve is very similar to a knuckle ball in baseball; it is very hard to time. When being served by a server using the jump float, it seems like the ball is actually floatng in the air. Another type of serve is called the top spin. Top spin serves is quicker than the jump float. When performing a top spin serve the player snaps their wrist, which causes the force on the ball to accelerate quicker to the ground. A top spin serve brings the ball down because the seems on the volleyball are rolling forward.This causes the air velocity to be faster on the top of the ball rather than on the bottom of the ball; this pushes the ball into a downward motion. When a passer is passing a ball an upward and forward force is exerted on to the ball while gravity is pushing the ball down. To ensure that the volleyball will meet at the target spot, the passer will have to follow through with their arms in the direction of the target. When a volleyball player goes up to hit or spike the ball, they try to use as much force as they can so they can get a kill and grant their team a point. When spiking the volleyball the player exerts a downward force on the ball, crushing it to the other side of the net. When spiking the ball, gravity is now working in the players favor. Players dont have to hit the ball as hard because gravitational force is acting on the ball in the same downward direction.

Acceleration and Velocity

As gravity pulls the ball down, the ball is accelerating. When a player is spiking the volleyball to the other side of the net, the balls velocity has increased showing acceleration .Throughout the game of volleyball, the ball is constantly accelerating and decelerating as well as the player is; this all depends on the forces that the players put on the ball and how quick or low the player moves to get to the ball. A player on one side could pass an easy free ball to the other side, when very quickly a player on the opposing side can spike the ball back with a high amount of force; this is showing the balls acceleration. Through volleyball, you can calculate the velocity of the volleyball. To calculate this you would need to use an equation. In this case, you could use the equation v=d/t. This stands for velocity equals distance divided by time. For example, if the server was behind the service line 25 feet away from the net ad it took 2 seconds for the ball to pass the net to the other side, the velocity would be 12.5 feet per second. The higher the velocity is, the harder it is for the passer on the opposing side to deliever a good three option pass, which is a good thing.


Here is a video explaining even more physics on volleyball. Have fun watching this video and thanks for reading! Just remember that physics isnt a tricky thing to learn if you connect it with cool things like sports!

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