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The Physics of Volleyball

explanatory Essay
1318 words
1318 words
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The Physics of o Volleyball

From six thirty one morning to three O’ clock the next morning was my longest volleyball day ever. Fourteen and a half hours of play with only 3 breaks for food, makes for an exhausting event. So what makes volleyball worth such a sacrifice? It is the endless possibilities and outcomes that can occur by playing this magnificent sport and challenging the basic laws of physics. In the sport of volleyball the same thing never happens twice. Things may seem similar but there are always slight differences. The differences are caused by trying to manipulate those ever so important laws of physics.

Volleyball is the constant confirmation of Newton’s first Law. Every object remains at rest or in motion in a strait line at a constant speed unless acted on by an unbalanced force(P.31). The unbalanced forces that the team members try to manipulate are what make volleyball so interesting. The goal in volleyball is to keep a ball in legally in motion for your team, while trying to force the opponent to fail at keeping the ball in motion. There a few basic possible ways of legally contacting the ball: serving, passing, setting, hitting, and blocking. Each is unique and yet similar. The contact between the player and ball forces a “collision” and different laws of physics explain the actions or reactions of these collisions. This is what makes volleyball so exciting.

One type of contact is a serve. To serve a player must be standing behind the end line and hit the ball over the net. The player tosses the ball into the air with one hand, and forces the ball over the net by hitting it with the other hand. A serve is required to start the game and is repeated after each play. So, after the ball...

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...ts collide into each other and make the total kinetic energy decrease where the objects move in separate directions.

In the game of volleyball the laws of physics are evident in most of these different types of collisions. Trying to manipulate objects to challenge these laws is what brings the spice and flavor into the game. Physics might be a hard subject but it can explain what makes this sport worthwhile.

Works Cited

Farnsworth, Debbie. Century High School volleyball coach. Personal

interview. April 30, 2003.

Gozansky, Sue . Volleyball Coach's Survival Guide. Paramus, NJ

Parker Publishing Company, 2001.

Kirkpatrick,Larry D. & Wheeler,Gerald F. A world view. Physics textbook. Copyright 2001,1998,1995,1992 by Harcourt Inc.

Tingey, Allison . The Physics of Volleyball. Online. Goggle.1995. Nov. 2002. http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/staff/trobinso/

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the endless possibilities and outcomes that can occur by playing this magnificent sport and challenging the basic laws of physics.
  • Explains that volleyball is the constant confirmation of newton's first law. the goal is to keep a ball in legally in motion for your team, while trying to force the opponent to fail at keeping the ball.
  • Explains that a serve is required to start the game and is repeated after each play.
  • Explains that without gravity, the ball would never come down. projectile motion involves gravity.
  • Explains how a player can change the direction of the ball in mid-air by using specific techniques.
  • Explains that the jump serve is one of the most affective serves besides the floating serve. when serving, the server wants to hit the ball as hard as possible with a small arc while still getting it over the net.
  • Explains that the faster the ball goes, the less time the other team has to react to its position and presence.
  • Explains that serves are followed by passing, where the hands are clasped together and the forearms are used to absorb the impact of a moving ball.
  • Explains that a well-set ball is almost like taking the ball and throwing it where you want it to go. a setter can use projectile motion and send it practically anywhere.
  • Explains the momentum-impulse theorm, which states that the longer the hand is in contact with the ball, the greater the force applied to it.
  • Explains that when hitting, a player wants to exert the largest amount of force possible, and be able to control the force placed on the ball.
  • Explains that blocking is when the arms are extended above the head to form a "wall" of some sort. the best collisions take place while trying to block.
  • Explains that the laws of physics are evident in most types of collisions in volleyball. trying to manipulate objects to challenge these laws is what makes this sport worthwhile.
  • Cites darnsworth, debbie, and gozansky, sue. the volleyball coach's survival guide is published by paramus, njparker publishing company, 2001.
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