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# Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 1:36 AM

American Football was more or less derived from Rugby. At some point, the shape of the American football was made longer and pointier to make it easier to throw a forward pass, or "spiral".

This made me wonder... is the American football actually the ideal size and shape for maximum distance throws by a human arm? The Canadian football is slightly less pointy, and a bit fatter. An Australian Rules ball, less pointy, still. And finally... the Rugby ball. They are all some version of prolate spheroids. But, given that one can assume aerodynamic sciences were not as sophisticated at the time that the American football's dimensions were standardized... does anyone have any ideas on what shape ball can truly be thrown the farthest by a human?

I'm wondering if an even longer, more slender and pointier ball could be tossed a greater distance than the current football. Since pointy prolate spheroids can be thrown farther than spheres of the same material weight... I'm curious about what determines the tipping point, where more pointy and longer is no longer an advantage, and begins to become a disadvantage.

I'm talking only about distance thrown; and am ignoring all other practical aspects of the actual games that are played, as those relate to the ball's shape.

So, given identical material weights, could an inflated ball be designed that could be thrown a greater distance by a human, using an overhand throwing motion? ("overhand", to eliminate any floating discus type properties of the flight)

I'm envisioning a new game, where the players throw a long pointy sausage around

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#1

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 1:51 AM

I don't know.. but awesome question.

when I was 20.. I had a great arm with a softball.... and thought a bit much of myself... until one day I was having a discussion with a co-worker, who was a left hand underhand pitcher of softball... and he contested my assertion that overhand throws were the farthest. I couldn't accept his statement either..... and so it resorted to a contest...

which I lost by about 100 yards minimum... I was shocked out of my mind...

and trust me, I was no slouch with a throw... but his seemed to go forever...

so I suggest that the power of the player, plus technique must also be accounted for and normalized in the testing... not just the weight and shape of the projectile ball. I don't think you can just ignore the differences.. but have a robot throw the same throw, every time, and create consistency in the power and technique as well.

cheers,

Chris

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#17

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:38 AM

Well, the reason I specified "thrown" instead of "launched" (as by a robot), is because I'm speaking of a practical application of it being used in a sport; not strictly a scientific controlled experiment, launched by a machine, in a perfect way that could never be achieved by a human shoulder/arm/hand.

Yes, a pointed cylinder (bullet shape) could be made, and launched by a robot with a perfect rotation for maximum distance. But, 1) an inflated leather or synthetic ball made of typical sporting ball material could not easily be made perfectly cylindrical (inflation would cause a bulge of some sort), 2) a perfect cylinder could not be given a proper rotation by a human (as compared to the way a football is currently gripped and thrown)

So basically, I'm not asking about which shape has the best aerodynamics. I'm asking which shape ball can be thrown the farthest. In other words... can we improve the distance a football can be thrown, by changing its shape? Perhaps that's a better way to phrase it.

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#2

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 2:05 AM

Er...taking it to a logical (but ridiculous) conclusion, wouldn't a javelin be the best shape?

Oops...please disregard the above..we are only talking a ball shape ...sorry. (i have seen some people with a cigar shaped head all right, but that's another story...)

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#4

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 2:10 AM

Snap.

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#5

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 2:12 AM

Wow, great minds not only think alike, but do it at the same time

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#3

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 2:08 AM

How about javelin-shaped? When is a ball not a ball?

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#21

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 10:08 AM

Yes, what about a javelin shape? Keep in mind it would have to be inflated. Also, I'm not sure exactly of the maximum length you could achieve while at the same time keeping the weight of the material in the same vicinity of a modern day football. I believe that the stability of an actual javelin, that contributes to its great range, is partly due to its length... which allows it to be thrown in the manner that a javelin is thrown. Not sure you could achieve that with a... let's say... 30" long inflated "javelin".

But that's exactly one of my points, as stated in my original question, that must be considered. At what point does narrowing and lengthening no longer become an advantage to a thrown ball? It's obviously an advantage when one considers a rugby ball compared to an American football. But can it be taken further?

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#6

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 2:54 AM

Well, a prolate spheroid can have a major axis of any multiple of its minor axis, without becoming a cylinder. Then weight vs air resistance come in....

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#7

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 3:26 AM

Strill not a good enough definition you need to specify a ninimum minor/major axis length else you can still have a barrelled javelin/arrow shape.
Del

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#8

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 3:35 AM

Sausage shape with a sharp side at one end.

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#50

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 8:53 AM

I want one lol

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#51

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 9:21 AM

I am very curious to know how far you can throw it!

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#52

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 9:54 AM

Well, it IS Oktoberfest time isn't it? LMAO

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#9

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 7:13 AM

I would say round.

I think that size and density of the ball is as important as shape. As far as distance, I'd bet that a pro baseball pitcher could throw a baseball way further than any pro quarterback could throw a football. So if they made a football the size, weight, and shape of a baseball, they would get far more speed and distance.

It would be a fun game to watch too.

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#10

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 7:43 AM

Good points from all (I'll take hot mustard on that, Hendrik).... but keep in mind that I specified an inflatable ball. And the weight of an American football. That limits options a bit. Given that an American football is pointier and more slender than a rugby ball... I want to know if a continued narrowing and "pointying" of that ball will give greater distance. Let's keep stability in mind.

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#11

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 7:48 AM

I think aerodynamic shape has something to do here to reduce air resistance. Also Weight-volume ratio may matter which can be altered just by pushing more air inside it.

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#12

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 8:40 AM

I join the others who think that a believe that a spheroid is a ball. To meet the criteria that it must contain air, I imagine a golf ball with a tiny air bubble in the middle. The Reynolds number of the material of construction, the weight to volume ratio and the percentage of air volume must be specified to bring meaning.

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#16

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:19 AM

I'm not following you, on several accounts.

Yes, a spheroid is a ball. I pointed that out in my question. All the footballs I mentioned are spheroids.

And, "Must contain air" is not my stated criteria. I said inflatable. That's not at all the same thing. I'd like to stick with true intent of the question. Not technicalities of semantics.

As far as the weight to volume issue... that would be part of the answer to my question. The "weight" is the weight of a current football, as I've said. The weight is a constant. A given. I'm not talking about any clever out of the box specs, like filling it with helium or some other gas... or some fancy low friction coating, etc. Just a simple issue of shape; all things being equal and normal.

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#13

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:05 AM

The ideal shape will be the one with the lowest drag coefficient.

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#19

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:46 AM

Not necessarily. Please see my response to chrisg228's post, at the top. I'm not looking for an ideal shape with ideal aerodynamics. I'm looking for an ideal shaped BALL that can BE THROWN the farthest.

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#22

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 10:25 AM

This really has me thinking.

The world record distance for a thrown object is a boomerang at 1,401 feet. A boomerang is obviously not really a ball.

The world record distance for a thrown regulation size (American) football (about 15 ounces) is 168 feet. There are a number of sites that indicate a professional football player can throw about 240 feet, but this is unsubstantiated.

The world record distance for a thrown regulation size baseball (about 5 ounces) is nearly 446 feet according to this site.

It appears weight has a lot to do with it. Maybe the optimum is a football shape that weighs in the 5 ounce range?

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#23

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 10:34 AM

"It appears weight has a lot to do with it" - yes, but you couldn't throw a table-tennis ball as far as a golf ball, and you couldn't throw an inflated balloon as far as a steel ball of the same weight.

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#24

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 10:53 AM

Agreed. Simply making the ball featherweight will detract from the performance. Is this a quest for an overall shape/weight combination?

And as I read back, there are a few comments about a ball being "filled with air". The baseball will not fit this FIC, but I don't remember OOBE's question adding that particular qualification.

Question: Is there an existing ball that can be thrown further than a baseball?

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#25

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:05 AM

My question does specify it to be an inflatable ball. In fact it relates to spheroid footballs of all variations, i.e. rugby, American, Canadian and Aussie football. I asked if the American football is as good as it gets (since it has smallest girth and is the pointiest). Or will making it longer and more pointy add to the distance it can be passed?

If that wasn't clear... that is in fact the issue I'm trying to resolve.

Inflatable footballs, and the reason they are oblong in shape (to facilitate them being thrown farther than you can throw a perfectly round ball), is the basis for my query.

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#26

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:13 AM

Oops. Never mind.

From your OP: "So, given identical material weights, could an inflated ball..."

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#27

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:28 AM

Z-man. Ugh! That word gives me a headache. In that case I would have said "Kud en enflytd bol..."

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#28

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:33 AM
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#39

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 12:41 AM

Probably a cricket ball.

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#14

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:08 AM

These are optimum values (zero pitch, zero yaw)

Drag coefficient of a spinning American Football: .05-.06 ±

Drag coefficient of a spinning baseball: .3 ±

Drag coefficient of a non-spinning Rugby ball : .16 ±

I agree with those who have pointed out the distance is a function of both technique and the characteristics of ball.

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#15

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:11 AM

What does it matter? Both sides use the same ball.

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#18

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:44 AM

And of course the stitching will affect the boundary layer, and completely mess up the Reynold's number, allowing the drag to be much lower. I am, of course, assuming it is spinning, that being the point of having the stitching.... My gut feeling is that the stitching will likely have much more effect than the ball being slightly "pointier".

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#20

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 9:54 AM

Yes, exactly. That type of variable is taking into account that I'm talking about a real, manufacturable, throwable, practical ball... not merely an ideally shaped projectile with a low drag.

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#29

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:41 AM

A golf ball. Multimillion dollar finite-element-analyses have been done to give the best aerodynamic shape.

One does need a loooong arm with a small hand at the end though

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#30

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:55 AM

kvsridhar... thank you, but you need to read the entirety of my original question... not just the title.

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#31

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 10:36 PM

Er...i am feeling a bit thick, so would you please explain which part is overlooked ? Inflated and non-inflated are both allowed. Javelin, hot dog, ellipsoid, spherical ... all seem allowed. Manual throw is mandated which i have covered (long arm+small hand to simulate a golf-club)...so, what have i missed?

This is a great question. And some great answers. My compliments to you.

i am not arguing, just curious. Even my suggestions of a javelin or a golf ball have been tongue-in-cheek, since i am no expert at anything but a small part of electrical engineering, so any other subject is an opportunity to learn fun things.

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#46

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 2:51 AM

I was mainly referring to the fact that I specified an inflated ball, of which a golf ball, cricket ball, baseball, jai lai ball, etc., are not.

On the other hand, your javelin idea is not so far fetched, as it is just an extreme version of the type of football "mutation" that I was suggesting, i.e. taking a football shape and giving it a smaller girth and a longer, um... length.

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#36

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 12:10 AM

sorry, i just repeated your post.

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#73

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/13/2011 1:18 AM

Actually, the diagram with the smooth ball and golf ball is incorrect. The smooth ball has greater laminar flow across its surface, creating more drag. The dimples on the golf ball break up this laminar flow sooner, thus less drag and flying further. Also, in response to a reply below, the dimples do not create lift, the spinning of the golf ball creates lift.

Bacl the OP, as part of the surface of the ball goes, having dimples (in or out) will help the ball fly further.

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#74

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/14/2011 2:22 PM

So does this mean that hail damage will improve my car mileage?

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#76

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/14/2011 11:02 PM

Yes, but only if you go fast enough.

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#75

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/14/2011 10:37 PM

i wou;dn't know, since i am no golfer. However i wonder how an incorrect image has been put in some reputed website (regrettably, i have not kept note of that one). It does indicate a 'turbulent layer' on the periphery of the dimpled ball. Not as clearly as this one though...

Regarding lift, here is an extract from an article in Scientific American magazine....

Dimples also affect lift. A smooth ball with backspin creates lift by warping the airflow such that the ball acts like an airplane's wing. The spinning action makes the air pressure on the bottom of the ball higher than the air pressure on the top; this imbalance creates an upward force on the ball. Ball spin contributes about one half of a golf ball's lift. The other half is provided by the dimples, which allow for optimization of the lift force.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-dimples-in-golf-ba

However, golf balls are not to be conidered as per the OP, since we need inflatable balls.

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#77

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 1:19 PM

I agree that golf balls are not a part of the OP's solution, however dimples should be. Having studied advanced fluid dynamics and done experiments with laminar flow, I can tell you the diagram above is also incorrect, no matter where it came from. A smooth surface allows the boundary layer of the fluid (liquids and gases are fluids) to adhere to the object more fully, in this case a ball. The boundary layer is what causes friction or drag on the object. If you can trip the boundary layer sooner (i.e., enter dimples) - meaning to lessen the laminar flow around the surface of the ball - you in fact have less drag.

This is in fact the opposite of what is shown in your diagram. Also, the indicated turbulence below the ball with dimples outside if the laminar flow makes no sense and is irrelevant to the flight of the ball and has nothing to do with dimples. A ball with dimples will create a larger wake then one without dimples. The wake is what occurs after the ball passes through that part of the air and is not acting on the ball itself. It is the direction of the spin that effects the lift or hook of the ball, not the dimples. Just wanted to clarify. And yes, I did read the article (link from 2005) and the one related comment.

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#86

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 10:30 PM

i bow to your obviously superior knowledge. Perhaps this image is closer to reality?

This comes from an article http://www.colorado.edu/MCEN/flowvis/galleries/2010/Team-3/Reports/Wessels_Patrick.pdf

If the University of Colorado is also wrong, i wouldn't know what to believe. Golf ball dimples aren't critical for me, but LV Switchgear is....

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#32

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:21 PM

A very interesting problem and one whose inputs are obvious but for which the solution is very difficult - and I am not going to try providing a solution. The essentials are:

1. Ball must be heavy and dense, which will be a function of skin thickness and it's density, and the overall volume etc. so that for a given size the ball will store a maximum of energy and offer least aerodynamic resistance.

2. There will be an optimum size and mass for the ball that arises out of having to held in the hand for throwing and such that a high throwing velocity is achieved. Too small or light a ball will not store all the energy that the throwing arm could put in, and too large or heavy a ball could either not be held for throwing nor thrown fast enough to have its energy consumed before gravity caused it to fall to earth.

3. Some attention to the surface texture will reduce skin friction and enhance throwing distance, as is the case for the golg ball.

4. Too long and light a ball will not will not continue be oriented in the best direction for long flight, but that relationship will also be a fuction of the throwers ability to spin the ball about its longitudinal axis and get some gyro generated stability.

So out of all that my best bet would be a ball that is about as heavy as a baseball, and maybe a couple of times that figure, that this somewhat more pointy than a standard football and with a smaller body diameter than a standard football.

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#34

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:59 PM

A couple of things--From the start of the forum--American football, Rugby, Cricket etc, all start with a SIZE of field, and the object being used has always seemed to be scaled to size of the field being used. No sense in having something that can be thrown 150 yards when your field is only 2/3 rds of that-- Now, in the method of LAUNCHING such sphere, cylinder, hotdog , whatever. No one has mentioned Jai Lai--Now--There is some speed and force--Any stats on the distances with this sport?--Also , regarding relative densities of the objects, lets include velocity--How abut the aforementioned ping pong, and introduce Badminton --Nasty stuff --up real close to you...and you can't see it coming, unless you are real good--

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#55

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 3:54 PM

Arena Football seems to be a little contradictory.

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#33

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/10/2011 11:51 PM

It is a wonderful question, open and all.

Also, you guys are all wonderful, and still all wet. The best form devised in modern times is the boattail form of the 0.5 caliber machine gun bullet. A hundred years old, unsurpassed, politically incorrect master of the slipperiness universe. Give credit where credit is due!

Sorry, and shameless victory dance inserted here.

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#35

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 12:08 AM

golf balls are designed with dimples that gives the ball lift enabling it to travel farther.

it doubt that it would be a factor if it was just thrown.

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#37

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 12:15 AM

Does the ball need to be end-for-end symmetrical, or is a teardrop shape allowed, or a cylinder with round/pointed ends?

To keep the weight the same as that of a football, the area of the leather must be kept the same.

A rugby ball is (nearly) a prolate spheroid, a football not quite so on account of the pointed ends.

My wild guess would be somewhat longer and thinner than a football, but not by much. Best checked by making a few samples rather than attempting calculations?

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#38

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 12:34 AM

Valiant effort, appreciated and wasted.

Give it up, see my previous one. I like it, I love it, now, fold gracefully, please?!?

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#40

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 12:56 AM

Del, Lyn I need to deal with these professional ruffians. I won, I knew I won, and still they do not give in! What am I to do with these knuckleheads?!? I won, I won, I really won fair and square, cross my hearth! What is with these Neanderthals, unwilling to quit? Not knowing the Marquee of Shrewsberry rules?

I need some sleep. The arms to be taken up again is tomorrow. Bye.

By that time I expect unconditional surrender. There!

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#41

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 1:15 AM

Are you Z-man's alter ego?

(It's Marquis of Queensbury, btw, though the pun ain't bad.)

(If we cross your hearth, do we land in the fireplace?)

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#42

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 1:28 AM

33

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#43

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 1:39 AM

If same types of balls are improved to travel longer distance, then we need to have longer fields/stadiums than what we have now. I think that will create problems and we will enjoy the game less. How about same shape,size,weight but made in such a way it can be thrown to lesser distance only than what we have now. It might make the games more enjoyable.

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#44

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 1:47 AM

On 37, Bufe ambles out for the short bomb....

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#58

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:12 PM

That is exactly what I alluded to--A Badminton court, with light birdie, is intentionally short, being that the velocity dissapates rapidly, but is intense for the first 4 meters--Ping pong, similar--

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#45

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 2:19 AM

In rugby there are no advantage in the ability to throw a ball further than about 30 to 40m. Only lateral throws is permitted and never to the front.

Long lateral passes may either result in a try or interception and points against.

No rugby player will have an incentive to develop that skill.

The answer is therefore that in a contest between current athletes of the same built the American ball should win. (combination of shape and skill)

The question is now - If the skills of the American thrower (including the spin) are adapted to the rugby ball what will the result be.

Does any one have the comparative CR4 specifications for both available?

My second choice vote goes to the rugby ball. (because I don't understand American rules)

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#48

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 3:14 AM

I do know that American football was originally played with a ball very much like a rugby ball. But at the time, the ball was advanced almost exclusively by running it forward. It wasn't until the forward pass became a common method of ball advancement (overhand throw, rotating the ball as you throw), that the shape of the ball was changed, so that it could be thrown further. At that time, the ball was made thinner, longer and pointier; and the American football was born. But I've a feeling that exactly how much thinner, longer and pointier, was determined by rather rustic methods.

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#49

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 8:24 AM

"determined by rather rustic methods" Doesn't make them poor or easily improved upon

Example?

The ball is a complex relationship of mass, ergonomics, symmetry and durability, in a non-injurious, easily portable package.

The American ball requires a particular skill to compensate for its inherently poor aerodynamic stability.

If looked at as thrown in a vacuum - power diverted to spinning detracts from velocity - so range.

Javelins are spun BTW

So by focusing on only one facet, (and resisting/ignoring, all other options/discussion) you do end up with javelins at 100 meters - a 'pointed' version of 'Dodge-ball'?

So - perhaps what you really want is fins on the ball, so all the throwing energy can be directed to velocity?

Suggestion;

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#53

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 10:08 AM

Ha. Funny.

Too late, though. They already have those.

And neither this one nor your example fit my specs.

As far as "resisting/ignoring, all other options/discussion"... yep, that's what I'm going to do. It's my question. Pretty sure I can do that.

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#54

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 10:22 AM

Yes indeed Roger

But why doesn't this fit your specs?

And why is an aerodynamic proposition locked into the materials of the example?

Would reject 'teardrop' on the basis of water filled?

So - do you want anything discussed, or are you just doing a penguin attention getting exercise?

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#47

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 3:03 AM

Several people, it seems, have in fact suggested that a ball that is longer and thinner than a football would travel farther, which is what I suspected. But as I pointed out, there is a point where longer and thinner ceases to be an advantage, because you lose ability to grip it in a way that allows you to rotate it while you throw it (try throwing a spear and have it rotate).

So it appears that my theory is sound, but the answer still eludes us. I certainly don't have the science of aerodynamics down well enough to calculate. As far as it being "easier to build and test them" as someone suggested.... I'm not sure my ball forming and sewing skills are up to par for that either.

This entire question arose only because I started to wonder how the exact dimensions of an American football were determined. And since it was determined nearly a hundred years ago, I wondered if today's technology would produce a slightly differently shaped ball that could be thrown a longer distance, if the football had been developed today.

Finally... I quite doubt that a ball that had the ability to be thrown the entire length of the field would detract, in any way, from the game; as someone suggested. For that matter... we could invent an entirely different sport! Especially if we're throwing a ball that looks like a torpedo, that can fly a hundred yards at a time!

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#60

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:21 PM

Spheres are designed with velocity in mind--More velocity, versus the length of field, no game to play--Like the Astronauts that hit Golf balls on the moon--the course would have to be so big, that everyone would lose interest, They also play Ice Golf--drives of 1000 yards are not uncommon--Chasing them requires a passion. Hi Velocity, low density--like the ping pong mentioned (Imagine a SuperBall at 10 to 15 feet, hit a full velocity)--No fun--No game--Game is the most important part of it--You could put baseball bases 300 feet apart--Wouldn't be any fun to watch--

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#63

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:51 PM

I suppose those that prefer Arena Football to regular football would share your opinion. Or half-court basketball vs standard basketball. It's really all relative and personal opinion, as to what is or is not fun to watch. For some people, great distances are boring at times. For instance, golf bores the hell out of me. I think that is probably the most distance-intensive ball game there is.

On the other hand, one of the most exciting moments in any football game is a long bomb all the way down the field. I don't think many will argue that point. I don't see how a football that could be passed 100 yards is going to make the game less exciting. A 60 yard pass is rare in itself.

Of course, the NFL will never change the ball. My question is hypothetical. But I still don't agree a longer flying ball would detract from a football game in any way.

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#78

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 1:45 PM

As some have pointed out, I think your question is an interesting one. I also agree the question doesn't have to be relevant to any current game to be interesting. The short answer to your question is I don't know for sure.

The somewhat longer answer is perhaps a little longer may be beneficial, but javelin-like does not seem like it would be easy to throw, hence little to no spiral stability. An overly long "ball" may also be difficult to release without dragging or touching the thrower's hand. I could be wrong, but in order for the human hand to impart a good spin while maximizing distance might limit the max outside diameter to no less then the fingers and thumb touching when wrapped around the ball to throw. I am not sure you could just calc the optimum shape without some significant empirical testing.

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#79

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 3:32 PM

That brings up an interesting point. I have known design engineers who's modus operandi was to best guess on a design, and then just test, adjust, and retest prototypes till they achieved the results they wanted. I have also known design engineers who abhor and berate that method, and believe in figuring it all out through calculation first, with (supposedly) very minor correction to a prototype.

If we were to take a modern day American football, and try to come up with a design that can be thrown further... as far as I can see from this conversation... neither sweating out the calculations, nor actually building numerous prototypes is particularly simple.

The modern ball seems to have a pretty good angle that allows a human hand to grip it and spiral it. So I think that changing that aspect too drastically in either direction, might impede applying an ideal rotation to the ball, thus losing stability. It throws pretty far (that's a technical term of distance). But if I assume that the country's best aerodynamic engineers were not actually involved in its last major re-design 100 years ago, my thought is that it could be improved.

So, anyway, I looked around and discovered that the Aerodynamic Engineering Dept. at Mississippi State University is actually conducting studies on this subject, because manufacturers have expressed an interest in improved performance. Apparently, the design of the football is not yet set in stone. Will be interesting to see what comes of it.

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#81

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 3:53 PM

There is another way to innovate, as described by Genrich Altshuller, which is basically modelling technical systems with 'fields', selecting from an array of prior solutions or approaches, for best results. you could call it calculating... but it is rather a different approach from what I think you were suggesting. You can read about it in this book.

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#82

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 4:08 PM

Interesting. Might be worth a read.

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#56

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 4:12 PM

Just in case someone didn't look here. Wiki history of the football. Link

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#57

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 5:38 PM

I didn't see anybody mention why the baseball went so far thrown underhand. That throw puts top spin on the ball...betcha a bunch that it makes it fly further. Ask golfers which spin puts more distance on the ball....so maybe if a 'football' could be thrown with top spin it would fly further...of course, it would have to be round...so my answer to your question is round.

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#59

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:12 PM

Bend It Like Beckham is a 2002 comedy-drama film starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Anupam Kher, Shaznay Lewis, and Archie Panjabi first released in the United Kingdom. The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha. Its title comes from the football player David Beckham and his skill at scoring from free kicks by "bending" (curving) the ball past a wall of defenders.

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#62

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:40 PM

I did.

I mentioned that the spin makes the ball fly. Inertial energy from the spinning ball causes a lower pressure on the top of the ball, developing lift. Lift. Thats what flying is.

But I also noted that it is irrelevant since there is no back spin on a football.

How the stitches affect flight is remarkable, and is more important than a little more pointy-ness.

ttfn

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#83

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 4:57 PM

Just what I wanted to say, intuition tells me.

This could travel further if spun.

Keep your heads high all you Welsh people, my admiration goes out to you. The game they play in heaven is not played with a ball so much but with the heart, Ky.

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#85

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 5:19 PM

The way the spin aides flight is it keeps it from wobbling, which keeps the cross-section smallest, hence least resistance to forward motion. Wobbling ball will have a greater cross-section. A ball thrown with its long axis perpendicular to travel will obviously have the greatest cross-section.

As far as the sharpness of the point.... that's an entirely different, albeit concurrent dynamic, than the cross section issue, above.

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#61

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:38 PM

For interest for Rugby balls;

The size and shape of the ball was not written into the rules until 1892:

- Length 11 to 11 1/4 inches
- Circumference (end on) 30 to 31 inches
- Circumference (in width) 25 1/2 to 26 inches
- Weight: 12 to 13 ounces
- Hand sewn with not less than 8 stitches to the inch

The weight was reduced to 13 to 14 1/2 ounces in 1893.
The width of the ball was reduced to 24 to 25 1/2 inches and the weight was increased to 13 1/2 to 15 ounces in 1931.

The specifications of all size 5 rugby balls are determined by the International Rugby Board (iRB)

The ball must be oval and made of four panels.
Length in line 280 - 300 millimeters
Circumference (end to end) 740 - 770 millimeters
Circumference (in width) 580 - 620 millimeters
Material: Leather or suitable synthetic material. It may be treated to make it water resistant and easier to grip.
Weight: 410 - 460 grams
Air pressure at start of play: 65.71-68.75 kilopascals, or 0.67-0.70 kilograms per square centimeter, or 9.5-10.0 lbs per square inch.

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#64

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/11/2011 11:56 PM

I wish rugby would catch on in the US. Awesome game! So much more exciting than soccer. IMO

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#65

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 12:09 AM

Indeed, soccer is a fluid tactical game like chess and netball - dead boring to many.

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#66

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 12:20 AM

Pocket billards is the best spectator sport, especially if Ewa is playing.

Though not inflated, the balls could probably be thrown pretty far, too.

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#67

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 12:23 AM

"Pocket billards" - spectator sport?

Not in Britlandish - AHAHAHAHAHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

But come to think of it guess so

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#68

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 1:06 AM

Aha! You must have looked at some pictures.

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#69

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 1:18 AM

Might have

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#70

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 1:34 AM

The smileys you really should have mentioned are and .

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#71

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 10:39 AM

A match against the Russian would be doubly interesting. ok. and

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#84

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 5:12 PM

Soccer allows for wimping and cheating and touching the Ref and has less highlights if the replay button is stuck.

Fluid? Anything that moves is a fluid. Like the Welsh did, turn into an avalanche, lose and carry their heads high.

Maybe Chess could be played faster and longer if the figurines were shaped more aerodramatic?

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#88

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 11:56 AM

Soccer ? Boring ? Pele, Maradona, Cryuff, Linekar, Beckham ...? Please go across to Brazil and Argentina or across the pond and say the same thing if you got guts!!!

American Football ? Where is the foot in that ? Plain legal hooliganism...

Here is artistry for you ....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q5FvN6zz08

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#96

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/19/2011 12:08 PM

There are kicked field goals, kick offs, punt and there used to be a drop kick. As far as the link that is a nice kick. The overall game though is boring (in my opinion). That was a couple seconds of excitement and only one person was doing anything. What about the rest of the game? They just run back and forth and if your lucky you will eventually get a shot on the goal. In real football you get a massive amount of excitement at least every 40 seconds (and they don't fake the injuries).

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#72

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/12/2011 12:26 PM

You ARE missing a lot of our spectator sport and ideal shaped balls and accessories .

Inappropriate Image: This post (or part of this post) was deleted because it included an inappropriate image that violates the CR4 Rules of Conduct.

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#80

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/15/2011 3:46 PM

In reading about footballs... I've noticed an interesting semantic. I'd like to ask my non-American friends a question. In America, when we refer to the ball used in our football games, we call it a "football". But I have read some various articles written by non-Americans, and in some cases I have seen that when the ball that is used in soccer (football) is referred to, it is called a "football ball" (for instance when distinguishing it from, let's say, a rugby ball).

Is this true in any of your countries? You don't just call it a football?

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#87

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 11:25 AM

I don't ever remember the term "football ball" being used. Whatever type of ball it is will usually obvious from the context. If it became necessary to distinguish (say when going into a sports shop to buy one or the other), I think the natural thing to say would be "rugby ball" or "soccer ball". Some may say "football ball", but it doesn't 'scan', or 'roll off the tongue' very well. While the name "soccer" is not often used here over, it is used in this context.

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#89

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 12:25 PM

i just ask for a 'Football'. Even illiterate people in India understand. And American football? Rugby? Does one need a ball at all for those hooligan sports ? Why worry about the shape of the ball ? They actually throw people in those sports

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#90

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 4:41 PM

Hooligan sports... hehe ...

Well, those are men's sports.

Then on the other hand, there are sports like badminton and soccer....

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#91

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 6:34 PM

And cricket

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#92

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 6:53 PM

Did you miss the part in the wiki link that explains the American ball is a foot long?

I realize this makes the javelin idea a bit fraught, but was serendipitously pondering your 'synchronicity' with your posted knowledge of R&D into the flight properties of the ball in question.

Though kicking a javelin a foot long could be fun to watch.

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#93

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 8:32 PM

I wonder if it is possible to create a collapsible ball that is fatter when you touch it, and streamlined when thrown (not touched). it would have to have capacitive sensors somehow built in. (nano)... hmmm.

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#94

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 9:41 PM

Heheheheeeee

I did something like that once with an arcuate sector of concentric circles.

Now you may ask "WTF does he mean by that?"

Hahahahaaaaaaaaa

Evil I am

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#95

### Re: Which Ball Shape Can Be Thrown Farthest?

10/16/2011 11:45 PM

thats all right... I've got weird and crazy to match!

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