Physics of Field Goal Kicking

1228 WordsAug 20, 20085 Pages
The Physics of Field Goal Kicking Physics is involved in all of our daily activities. Most of the time, however, physics is overlooked and never acknowledged. It is important to understand different aspects of physics because physics tells us how and why certain events occur. By definition, physics is the search for laws that describe the most fundamental aspects of nature: matter, energy, force, motion, heat, light, and other phenomena. There are many different sectors of physics, but we will be focusing primarily on mechanical physics. Each step of the field goal kicking process involves physics, which we will explain. The first step in the kicking process is the snap, in which the center snaps the football back seven yards to the…show more content…
The same can be said for automobiles—the tires rely on friction with the concrete or asphalt in order to move. In this case, as the kicker approaches the football, it is friction that is responsible for the movement. Friction, by definition, is a force of resistance to relative motion between two bodies or substances in physical contact. As the kicker steps forward and swings his/her leg back and then forward, contact with the football is made. The kicker kicks the football with the intention of the ball making it through the goal posts, which would result in either one (for an extra point) or three points (for a field goal). The kick is another example of a force. A great force is exerted on the football, causing it to accelerate and travel a distance (Newton’s first law of motion). Also, the football exerts the same force back on the kicker’s foot (Newton’s third law of motion). The kicker tries to kick the football about one-third of the way up the football (towards the bottom) so that the ball will travel high enough to get over the defense and high enough to maximize the distance. When the kicker hits the football, it is another example of an inelastic collision in which some of the energy is transformed into sound. The flight of the football can be described as projectile motion. Projectile motion refers to a parabolic arc in which an object travels. The motion is a composite of horizontal and vertical motions. This particular type of motion involves:

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