Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why a Curveball Curves: The Incredible Science of Sports (Popular Mechanics)

Why a Curveball Curves: The Incredible Science of Sports (Popular Mechanics) Review

As a kid, I was never a big science fan . . . I've now become
more interested in the subject and you will, too, if you
read WHY A CURVEBALL CURVES--edited by Frank Vizard.

This book is a collection of articles from POPULAR MECHANICS
by such contributors as Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella,
Olympic swimming coach Bob Bowman and Buzz "The Shot
Doctor" Graman . . . you'll learn how certain hockey
players achieve greater speed on the ice, why swimming is
all about reducing drag and even what Babe Ruth had to say
about the mechanics of his home-run swing:

* Coordination, that is perfect timing and harmony of action, is a great
essential. You have got to develop rhythm and full utility of every
muscle. My whole body goes with every swing. I swing right from the
hips. And those who have seen me take a healthy sock at the ball know
what I mean. With that coordination there is the fact that I assume that
strength is behind it.

Whatever your favorite sport is, you'll probably find it covered
in this book . . . baseball, basketball, bowling, boxing, cycling,
football, golf, hockey, running, skiing, soccer, swimming and
diving, and tennis all get covered in separate chapters, often
accompanied by memorable photos.

I often found out some surprising information; e.g., about the
importance of the follow-through in golf:

* Irrelevant. In truth, a golfer could release the club from his hands
the moment after impact and it would make no difference--except,
of course, to your playing partners, who might not appreciate
having your eight-iron embedded between their shoulder
blades. Still, a full release of your arms and torso, leading to a classic
pose, with your belly button pointed to the target and your hands high
above your front ear? Well, that always looks nice for the cameras.

And then there was this passage about hockey's Wayne Gretzy
that ended with one of my all-time favorite sports quotations:

* By his own admission, Gretzky, who played most famously with the
Edmonton Oilers as well as several other teams during the 1980s and 1990s,
was not the strongest or fastest or most agile player on the ice even though
he was named MVP of the National Hockey League nine times. What
Gretzky did have was an ability that amounted to being able to see into
the future and visualize what was going to happen in the next few seconds.
In an article appearing in WIRED magazine, scientists working for the U. S.
Olympic team and the Australian Institute of Sport concluded that skills
like Gretzky's come from an innate ability to intuitively translate physical
cues dropped by opponents that are not apparent to most other athletes.
Scientists are at work figuring out how this skill can be taught, but this type
of perceptual training is still in its infancy. On the other hand, Gretzky may
have just been following his father's advice, given to him when he was
a youngster: "Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it
has been."

Methinks that's great advice for any sport . . . unfortunately,
putting it into practice was never quite that simple--or at least not
for me.

Why a Curveball Curves: The Incredible Science of Sports (Popular Mechanics) Feature

  • ISBN13: 9781588164759
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Why a Curveball Curves: The Incredible Science of Sports (Popular Mechanics) Overview

Sports. They get our blood pumping and our hearts racing. Fans scream and cheer as their favorite athletes run, throw, pedal, dive, or swing their way to victory. But what makes an athlete successful? Why do some players excel when others fall behind?
In Why a Curveball Curves, the experts at Popular Mechanics, along with top athletes, coaches, and sports journalists, explore the science behind sports. Fluid dynamics, biomechanics, and technology determine everything from speed in cycling to protection in football to performance measurement in all sports. This book is designed for both the player and the fan, helping athletes become better-prepared and giving enthusiasts a more complete understanding and appreciation of the subtle nuances of competition.
The explanations are clear, entertaining, and written by people who really love their game. The issues discussed range from Tiger’s swing to Lance’s legs, from gene doping to the physics of why a seemingly straight kick curves drastically just before its target—in other words, how to bend it like Beckham—plus so much more. 
Among the specialists who weigh in are: Matt Bahr, who kicked the winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV; Bob Bowman, who coached swimmer Michael Phelps to a record-setting eight medals in the 2004 Olympics; Lou Piniella, manager of the Chicago Cubs; Peter Brancazio, Professor Emeritus of Physics at Brooklyn College and author of Sports Science; and Jim Kaat, a major league pitcher for 25 years.


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