How Fast Is Your Reaction Time? *
|Time Required||Average (6-10 days)|
|Material Availability||Readily available|
|Cost||Very Low (under $20)|
AbstractMany sports skills require quick reaction times: think of hitting a 95-mph fastball, returning a 100-mph tennis serve, or blocking a slapshot at the net in hockey. (The Experimental Procedure section below has one way to measure reaction time.) Is your right hand faster than your left? Can you improve your reaction time with practice? Do both hands improve if you only practice with one hand? Try relating your reaction time to real situations in your favorite sport. For example, calculate where the baseball is on its way to the plate when the batter has to make his decision to swing. In addition to reaction time, it takes between 150-190 milliseconds from initiating the swing to making contact with the ball. You'll also need to know the distance from the pitcher to home plate, and the speed of a pitched ball. (Wiese, 2002, pp. 6-8; Adair, 2002, Chapter 3; Brody, 1987, pp. 145-147.) See the Science Buddies project Think Fast! for a step-by-step procedure.
Cite This Page
Last edit date: 2017-07-28
- Adair, R.K., 2002. The Physics of Baseball: Third Edition, Revised, Updated and Expanded. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
- Brody, H, 1987. Tennis Science for Tennis Players. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Wiese, J, 2002. Sports Science: 40 Goal-Scoring, High-Flying, Medal-Winning Experiments for Kids. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
News Feed on This Topic
Ask an ExpertThe Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Ask an Expert
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Athletic TrainerSports injuries can be painful and debilitating. Athletic trainers help athletes, and other physically active people, avoid such injuries, while also working to improve their strength and conditioning. Should a sports injury occur, athletic trainers help to evaluate the injury, determine the treatment needed, and design a fitness regime to rehabilitate the athlete so he or she is ready to go out and compete again. Read more
News Feed on This Topic
Looking for more science fun?
Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.Find an Activity