Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things to Know About Baseball Trajectory Angles

A baseball that is thrown or hit in the air travels in an arc that begins at an upward angle and transitions to a downward angle. This phenomenon remains consistent whether you might be observing the low arc of a pitch or a ball hit deep to the outfield. The particular angle trajectory of a baseball causes it to react in certain ways that are not always predictable.
Baseball Design
Looking at a baseball, you notice the leather cover is two pieces that are stitched together along the seams with red thread. To throw a baseball on target effectively, you grip the ball with two fingers on a seam and your thumb on the opposite side of the ball. When you release the ball, friction between your fingers and the stitched seam causes the ball to spin.
Throwing Trajectory
Sir Isaac Newton's first law of motion explains that every action is followed by an equal and opposite reaction. I terms of a baseball, a ball that goes up will come down. Using the correct grip that causes the ball to spin, you can conduct a simple experiment and observe the effect of angle trajectory. Throw a baseball toward the top of an imaginary arc that's three feet high and observe the amount of spin with the aid of the red stitching. Throw it a second time to the top of an arc that's 15 feet high. You notice the ball spins faster in the higher trajectory and took longer to reach the top of the arc. You can conclude that the angle trajectory affected the spin of the baseball and the time it was in the air.
Newton's second law explains that the velocity of a mass object changes when it is subjected to an external force. This is demonstrated when you swing the bat and hit a pitched baseball. If you hit below the center of the ball, it leaves the bat in an upward trajectory. Depending on the force of your swing, the result might be a high pop fly or a low infield fly. The amount of spin and the trajectory of a ball that's hit with a bat are proportionate to the physical forces and the orientation of the ball and bat at the moment of contact.
Baseballs are known to seemingly defy natural phenomenon at times. Watching a baseball game, you might notice an outfielder moving into position as he gauges the trajectory of a routine high fly ball. But instead of taking a position as the ball starts on the downward trajectory, the fielder suddenly starts running to make the catch. This is not uncommon when baseballs are hit in a way that produces less spin. The ball spins as it rises and appears to be traveling in a straight line. But less spin cannot break the oncoming air as efficiently as faster spin and as a result, the ball slows and drops sooner. The angle trajectory of a baseball is not always consistent from start to finish, and this is one aspect of baseball that sets it apart from other ball games.

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