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Sports Covered:

This page was designed to demostrate how physics applies to the everyday world of sports. Here are 4 different sports that demostrate several aspects of physics:


Newton's first law states that an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by an outside force; an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an outside force.

What does bowling have to do with Newton's 1st law?

If you have ever bowled, you know that after rolling the ball it continues to move across the alley until it comes into contact with the pins. After being put into motion, the bowling ball will remain in motion until friction eventually slows it down.

If the bowling alley never ended would the ball keep rolling forever?

No! As a result of friction (an outside force) the ball will eventually stop.

Track and Field

•Newton's second law states that Force = Mass•Acceleration (F=ma). Newton's 2nd law applies to the shot-put and the discus (2 field events in track) becuase the shotput, an object with a much greater mass than the discus, must be thrown with much more force than the discus to reach the same acceleration.
Example:Shot-put throwers may throw the shot-put only 50 ft., whereas those who throw the dicsus could throw it about 100 ft.
•Track and Field not only apples to Newton's 2nd law of motion, but also Newton's 1st law. Have you ever noticed that as runners cross the finish line, they continue to move a few steps before halting? Due to inertia (the tendency of an object to remain in motion or at rest) runners have a hard time stopping at the finish line because it require a very sudden change in motion.
•Another reason that the shot-put is so difficult to throw is because it is so massive; it has a great amount of inertia. This means that its "desire" to remain at rest is very high, so it will be very difficult to move.


Field Hockey vs. Ice Hockey In field hockey, a sport which is played on grass, moving the ball from one side of the field is much harder than moving an ice hockey puck across an ice rink due to a force called friction
•Friction can be defined as the resistance to motion of two moving objects or surfaces that touch.
There is more friction on a coarse, grassy surface than on the slick surface of an ice rink due to the amount of resistance. Field hockey player, therefore, must hit the ball with a great amount of force to send it across the field, whereas ice hockey players can easily send a puck gliding across the rink.