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Physics of Vibrations

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Average (6-10 days)
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Tennis racquets, baseball bats and golf clubs all vibrate when they hit the ball. You can often feel it in your hands, particularly if you "mis-hit" the ball. You can find the point(s) on your racquet, bat or club—called the "sweet spot"—that minimize unwanted vibrations. Low-tech method: hang the racquet or bat straight up and down with a string from its handle. Lightly hold the handle with your thumb and forefinger and have a helper sharply tap the bat, strings or club face with a ball at regular increments along the length. You'll feel a minimum in the vibration at the "sweet spot" of the bat, racquet or club. High-tech method: loosely tape a card to the handle so that it will vibrate when the racquet, bat or club is tapped (Brody, 1987, 33). If you want to go all out, you can measure the vibration of the card by monitoring light reflecting off the card with a photodiode and analog-to-digital converter. Several projects possible: longest hit from where? best accuracy from where? comparing different racquets for comfort? (Both Brody et al., 2002, and Brody, 1987, have extensive sections on the vibration of racquets; Barr, 1990, 37-39, has a short treatment of vibration in baseball bats.)


  • Barr, G., 1990. Sports Science for Young People. New York, NY: Dover Publications.
  • Brody, H., 1987. Tennis Science for Tennis Players. Philadelphia, PA: The University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Brody, H. et al., 2002 The Physics and Technology of Tennis. Solana Beach, CA: Racquet Tech Publishing.
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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Physics of Vibrations." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Sports_p033/sports-science/physics-of-vibrations. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Physics of Vibrations. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Sports_p033/sports-science/physics-of-vibrations

Last edit date: 2017-07-28
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