The Physics Behind the Football Throw

A physicist explains the science behind a tight spiral pass down the field.
Inside Science Contributor

(Inside Science) -- As football season gets underway, fans get pumped up to watch their favorite team hit the field. All the players are crucial to help win the game, but often it's the quarterback who's watched and critiqued the most. There's enormous pressure for the quarterback to throw a winning touchdown, but throwing the ball isn't as easy as it looks. When you think of football, physics might not be the first subject that comes to mind. But science actually runs deep with the pigskin. Especially when it comes to throwing the ball.

Discussing the best way to throw a football can lead to many different opinions and thoughts, with many people focusing on the grip, the footwork and even the arm motion before release. What you may not hear about as much is the physics involved but understanding the science can help you take your throwing skills to the next level. Several factors come into play, such as the aerodynamics, distance and forces involved.

Tim Gay is a physicist and an avid football fan, and he put together his knowledge of both to help fellow fans learn more.

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