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


Areas of Science
Time Required
Average (6-10 days)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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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.)


Wesson, J., 2002. The Science of Soccer. Bristol, UK: Institute of Physics Publishing.
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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, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Sports_p031/sports-science/how-does-spin-affect-the-trajectory-of-a-kicked-soccer-ball. Accessed 22 May 2022.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). The Science of Spin: How Does Spin Affect the Trajectory of a Kicked Soccer Ball? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Sports_p031/sports-science/how-does-spin-affect-the-trajectory-of-a-kicked-soccer-ball

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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