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The Science of Spin: How Does Spin Affect the Trajectory of a Kicked Soccer Ball? *

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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

Imagine a symmetrical grid of nine points superimposed over the ball. Kicking the ball squarely on the center point imparts no spin, but kicking on any of the other points will impart spin on the ball. How will the resulting spin affect the trajectory of the ball for each of the 8 outer grid points? Kicking the ball with a sliding motion of the foot is another way to impart spin. Once you've made your predictions, you can set up to test them with a soccer ball, video camera and a tape measure. As you make each kick, estimate how close you came to the kick angle and point of impact you wanted and note it down; also, note the path of the ball and point of impact. You may find it handy to make a sketch of the ball path on a small scale drawing of the field. Put several fields on a page, and make yourself a small stack of blank copies to work with. Afterwards, you can also analyze the kick angle and point of impact on the video recording. (Wesson, 2002, is a good reference for this project.)

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "The Science of Spin: How Does Spin Affect the Trajectory of a Kicked Soccer Ball?" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p031.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). The Science of Spin: How Does Spin Affect the Trajectory of a Kicked Soccer Ball?. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p031.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30

Bibliography

Wesson, J., 2002. The Science of Soccer. Bristol, UK: Institute of Physics Publishing.

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