Last Updated on February 13, 2015 by Jimson Lee

If you liked the “back to school” articles on How much Horsepower does Usain Bolt Generate? and How do you determine the Worlds Fastest Man? then you’ll enjoy this Kindle book.

An Introduction to the Physics of Sports is written by University lecturer Dr. Vassilios McInnes Spathopoulos, who presents the physical mechanisms governing a series of popular sports, including Track and Field.

The author’s goal is twofold:

On the one hand to give a new perspective on sport, enabling fans, even those with limited scientific knowledge, to gain a better idea of exactly how athletic performances are achieved.

On the other hand, the presentation of the basic concepts of physics through sport is an attractive and popular way for the general public to assimilate these concepts:

- the concepts of speed and acceleration are presented through the performance of top athletes such as Usain Bolt.
- Newton’s three fundamental laws of motion are described with examples from sports such as football and basketball.
- the discus, the gymnastics and the pirouettes of athletes in diving and figure skating are used to illustrate the physical principles that govern rotational motion.
- describing how the various forms of energy, such as kinetic and potential, are used by athletes to set records in sports such as pole vaulting, cycling etc.
- the theory of projectiles is used to calculate parameters such as optimal launch angle, maximum range, margin of error, etc. for sports including the shot put, long jump, basketball and tennis.
- the basic principles of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics are presented, as well as the way they are applied to sports such as the javelin throw, ski jumping and swimming.
- an overview is provided of the external factors influencing the performance of athletes, such as weather conditions and altitude, as well as methods that may offer a more objective comparison of records.

In all the chapters, simulations, specially created for the purpose of the book, complement the theoretical concepts. The simulations are based on mathematical models of sports, one of the key research interests of the author.

**About the Author**

Dr. Vassilios McInnes Spathopoulos graduated from the University of Glasgow (UK), with a joint honours degree in Aerospace and Electronic Engineering, in 1995. The following year he completed a MSc course in Flight Dynamics at Cranfield University (UK). In 2001 he obtained his PhD from the University of Glasgow, conducting research on the validation of a rotorcraft mathematical model by means of flight testing a gyroplane. He teaches undergraduate subjects at the Department of Aircraft Technology, at the Technological Education Institute (TEI) of Chalkis, Greece. His research interests include the aerodynamics of sports balls and improving engineering education.

Fabien says

Damn I swear to myself not to buy any other book this month… but physics+track&field this is a combination I couldn’t resist

Jimson Lee says

It’s a good book if you like or need Physics. Great read for high school and college.

Besides, it’s a kindle ebook… takes up no space!

Vassilios says

Now also out in paperback!

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Physics-Vassilios-McInnes-Spathopoulos/dp/1483930076/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1368082425&sr=8-2&keywords=introduction+to+the+physics+of+sports

Jimson Lee says

@Vassilios, excellent, thanks for the update and good news!

Vassilios says

Hi Fabien! Thanks for getting the book. I hope you enjoy it! Any questions, please let me know!

Fabien says

There is a mistake on location 168 :

…lightspeed, which travels in a vacuum at 300 000 km/h. It’s 300 000m/s which is roughly 1 billion km/h

Vassilio says

Ooops, that’s certainly a typo! Please let me know if you spot any others and I’ll correct them. Thanks.

Vassilios says

Yeap, that’s a typo for sure! It should be 300000 km/s, not km/hr! Thanks!

Fabien says

I had already bought it when I wrote the comments. It may give me some funny example if I teach calculus

Jimson Lee says

Acceleration and Calculus 2 (integration) is a must!

Fabien says

My opinion on this topic is very biased but I think every knowladgeable person should know at least : calculus, mathematical analysis, analytical mechanics, classical electrodynamics, general relativity as well as the basics of quantum mechanics+some notion of science history. If not they are just missing the meaning of life and so much enlightment and indeed fun.

I strongly recommand feynman lectrures on physics as well as berkeley lectures on physics. Concerning mathematical analysis : rudin (principle of mathematical analysis) and Godement Analyse mathématique. The last one is in french though, but the first volume is just the funniest math book ever and clearly my favorite.

What nobody cares… :D

Fabien says

HO I forgot to add some probability theory in the list above. Shame on me.

Jimson Lee says

Absolutely! Anyone who gambles (i.e. lottery, betting, Vegas, etc) must take a course in probability. And a working knowledge of statistics is also a must.

Fabien says

Actually anyone (except if you want to be easily manipulated by any politician or pseudo-scientific). I strongly recommand : the pleasure of probability by Richard Isaac. You don’t need to know anything else than basic algebra. Of course it demand some effort but it’s so much fun.

hugh says

in relation to training , any one has any ideas , in relation to speed skate crossover , seems more relevant then bobsleed.?

hugh says

also, croosover in relation to daistance , eg. 1000meter speed skate vs. 400 meter track training … ( also many greetings to jimson still doin a great job:))……in cluding weight training