- Submitted By: selalumak
- Date Submitted: 07/01/2013 7:54 AM
- Category: Science
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The Physics Of Volleyball

Physics Of Volleyball — Optimizing The Serve

One way to optimize a volleyball serve is to minimize the time the ball spends in the air. This in turn minimizes the reaction time of the opposing team, making it more difficult for them to return the shot. In this analysis of the volleyball physics, we will look at ways to minimize the time the ball spends in the air, after the serve is made.

To set up this physics of volleyball analysis we must first define the different variables in the problem. The schematic below shows a top view of a volleyball court, with labels given as shown.

Where:

La is the distance from the serve location (behind the end line) to the net, along the direction the volleyball is served

Lb is the arbitrary distance from the net to where the ball lands on the other side of the court, along the direction the volleyball is served

d is the distance beyond the net where the ball lands

α is the angle the volleyball trajectory makes with the side line

The following schematic shows a view of the volleyball trajectory, between the point of serve and the point at which the volleyball lands on the court.

Where:

g is the acceleration due to gravity (equal to 9.8 m/s2 on earth)

H is the height of the net

hmax is the maximum height reached by the ball

ho is the initial height of the ball at the serve location

V is the initial serve velocity of the ball

θ is the initial angle the ball makes with the horizontal (and above it)

Point A is the serve location

Point B is the location just above the net, through which the ball passes

Point C is the location on the court where the ball lands

The coordinate system xy is defined with the positive x and y axes pointing in the directions shown. For convenience, the origin of this coordinate system is at point A.

The physics of volleyball behind this analysis is of a kinematic nature, since we are only concerned with the motion of the ball....