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I Throw Corrected

At what angle should a player throw the ball to make it travel as far as possible...whether it be a baseball, a soccerball, basketball, or a football? Throughout my life as both a mathematics teacher and a baseball player/observer, I have thought the best throwing angle was 45o.

The difference is that my "thought" is based on a mathematical model for the path of a projectile. Unfortunately, this model does not fit well with the biomechanical structure of the human body.

Research in the last four years has shown that the best throwing angle is 30o, and that athletes tend to use this angle naturally!

The mathematical "error" is due to an assumption that the launch velocity and the launch angle are independent variables. Using a video camera and biomechanical-analysis software to analyze how a football quarterback’s throwing speed varied with throwing angle, reseachers found that the quarterback could launch the ball considerably faster at lower angles because "the arrangement of muscle levers in the arms and back allows (a person) to exert more throwing force in the horizontal direction than in the vertical direction."

If only I could now apologize for all of the athletes that I tried to correct because of the mathematics!

Source: http://www.iop.org/News/Community_News_Archive/2006/file_5682.pdf