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Did You Catch My Drift?
Activity

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If so instructed by your teacher, print out a worksheet page for these problems.

Explanation:

Doug is the varsity catcher for the Cleveland Heights Tigers as well as an ace physics student. Heights is down to their last out in the LEL championship game. With the bases loaded, and the Tigers up by one, this last out is for the "whole ball of wax." Tommy, a strong right-hander, has been losing it so we must pitch with his strengths. Doug calls for his curveball inside to a right handed batter. Tommy throws strike one. Two consecutive fastballs are missed, one high and one low. With a two and one call, the next curveball catches the outside corner for a strike. One more strike and the game will be over. Doug asks for time out and walks to the mound. He talks to Tommy for a few seconds. Tom nods. Doug walks back behind the plate, crouches, and collects strike three. Based on what you know about baseball movement from CurveBall, answer the following questions.

Step 1.

What factors are considered when a ball is pitched? 

Step 2.

Using CurveBall, set the parameters that represent the curveball inside and the curveball outside. Identify those in the table on the worksheet.

CURVEBALL INSIDE
CURVEBALL OUTSIDE
Speed

 

 

 

 

Spin

 

 

 

 

Side Force

 

 

 

 

Step 3.

Give a detailed written explanation of the differences between the pitches that Tommy has thrown.

Curveball Inside:

Curveball Outside:

Fastball:

Step 4.

Give a mathematical explanation of each pitch that Tommy has thrown.

Curveball Inside:

Curveball Outside:

Fastball:

Step 5.

Based on your knowledge of CurveBall, what could Doug have said to Tommy?

Step 6.

Demonstrate your explanations to a friend using CurveBall.

 

BONUS:

If Tommy is able to throw a Screwball (reverse spin), what are the differences that will be found in the mathematical parameters?


Related Pages:
Standards
Worksheet
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index

 

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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Wed, Apr 14 01:39:03 PM EDT 2010

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