A visual reference to the mathematics of sports.
Any definition of sport begins with the term "physical". Motion, power, energy and momentum are the driving forces of physics, and numbers govern all sports. People and objects move in lines and curves, geometry determines progress, times are recorded, points counted, scores calculated. Without understanding numbers, it is impossible to understand sport. Athletes should be interested in the mathematics of sport for the simple reason that it can help them win. For fans, it brings greater enjoyment from their favorite sport.
All the Right Angles is a fun, fascinating and highly visual book that explains the mathematical and scientific principles in sports. With a clear infographics approach, the book never burdens readers with too many numbers and formulas or slows them down with jargon. Instead, dynamic layouts, bold and colorful diagrams and minimal text promote easy comprehension.
There are four parts with self-contained spreads that cover 89 topics in all. They include:
Eight "Sports by Numbers" feature spreads cover baseball, football, rugby, golf, cricket, soccer, tennis and Formula 1. Throughout the book are facts, statistics, trivia and little-known anecdotes that will entertain all sport fans and athletes.
Sports offer a unique and engaging way into an intimidating topic that many people have written off as "too hard." The games we love have an unrivalled power to turn us on to the beauty of numbers. All the Right Angles is a highly entertaining introduction to that power for the mathematically-minded, the science buff and the curious reader alike.
Joel Levy is a writer, journalist and the author of more than a dozen books on science and history, including A Bee in a Cathedral. He has written features and articles for the British press, and appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Joel has a BSc in Biological Sciences and an MA in Psychology and lives in London, England.
Did you know that the oldest known soccer ball dates to 1540 C.E., that the British cyclist Bradley Wiggins climbed the equivalent of a 62-mile-high mountain in training for the 2012 Tour de France, or that a pronghorn antelope would finish galloping the 800-meter race while the world record-holding human was only one-third of the way round the running track?
Did you know that a baseball batter has just over one-fifth of a second to decide whether, how hard and at what angle to hit the ball, and that getting the timing wrong by 7 milliseconds will make the difference between a home run, a pop fly or a strike?
Did you know that an average man can hold his breath for over 20 min, that badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world and that, statistically speaking, Australian cricket player Donald Bradman's batting average is the single most impressive record in sports?
Is it all simply fascinating trivia, or do these facts and figures have any greater significance for the world of sports? Sports are all about motion, power, energy and momentum. The people and objects involved move in lines and curves, their progress determined by geometry. Any definition of sports begins with the term "physical," as in "governed by physics." To regulate and score sports, times are recorded, points counted, scores calculated. Every one of these phenomena, processes and events is governed by numbers, from the energy involved in propelling a ball to the calculation of a coefficient that determines tournament seeding. It is not possible to understand sports without numbers, and without understanding it is impossible to improve.
At elite levels, winning is determined by the tiniest of margins and precise analysis is essential to the incremental improvement of performance. Knowing the numbers can give you the edge. This is increasingly recognized in professional sports, where the introduction of statistical recording and analysis systems, such as Sabermetrics in baseball and Prozone in soccer have made major contributions to athletic success and placed mathematics firmly in the heart of the locker room and the manager's office. Athletes should be interested in the mathematics of sports for this simple reason if nothing else: the application of science can help them win.
The traffic between sports and mathematics goes both ways, because sport offers a unique and engaging way into mathematics. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, is a sort of 'folk mathematician,' unconsciously relating quantities and magnitudes, angles and vectors. But too many people switch off as soon as the maths in their life becomes explicit, and sport has an unrivalled power to turn them on to the power and beauty of numbers.
The fascination of numbers, geometry and statistics will hopefully shine through the pages of this book and you will never think the same way about hitting, or watching someone else hitting, a nine iron, swinging at a curveball, winding up for a slap shot or curling in a free kick.
Table of Contents
1 Power and Motion
2 Angles, Trajectories and Geometry
3 Number Crunching and Statistics
4 Mathematics, Biology and the Environment