The Physics of Kicking a Ball

Lucas Buchanan & Chris Gonzalez

The Question:

What are the physics behind kicking a football and kicking a soccer ball?

Our Research:
When a ball sits in place, static friction is acting upon it. The ball has a certain amount of inertia, which keeps the ball still. To get any ball moving whether it's a football or a soccer ball you need force. To create a force you need mass and acceleration, the mass in this case is usually a person’s foot. You may think kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football is generally the same thing, well let's find out. The air resistance plays a different role on each ball. The soccer ball is more spherical while a football is more oval shaped. When a football is in a spiral, it is more aerodynamic. A soccer ball is not as aerodynamic, so the air acts on it more and its terminal velocity is lessened. When a football isn't in a spiral the air acts upon it more so its terminal velocity is also lowered. When a ball is airborne the only friction it has acting on it is the air. Also gravity is forcing the ball towards the earth. The friction rises substantially as the ball falls to earth and when it hits the ground.

In this video David Beckham attempts a few field goals with Reggie Bush. David Beckham's foot is a great example of Newtons third law, which states that for every action there is an equal and oposite reaction. When Beckham kicks the ball his force is being transfered through his foot into the football.

This video is also a good example of Newtons third law. The goal keeper in this video pushes on the ground with his feet. When he pushes the ground pushes back with the same force in the opposite direction which gets this goalie airborne and able to stop the shot. This video also is a good example of Newtons first law, an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force and an object will stay in motion unless acted on by an unbalanced force. The soccer ball had a certain level of inertia, it wouldn't budge until the soccer player shooting kicked the ball.

Reggie Bush gets hit by Sheldon Brown. Sheldon Brown tackles Bush with extreme power, this power is transfered into Reggie and he is forced back. This was also a good example of Newtons third law.

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I hope you learned a little about the physics of kicking a ball.

Sources: Web. 1 Apr 2010. Web. 1 Apr 2010. Web. 1 Apr 2010. Web. 1 Apr 2010