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Math and Sports

Date: 02/26/97 at 18:25:55
From: Alex Parrish
Subject: Applying math to sports.

Dear Dr. Math,

I am doing a math project for school and the theme is applying math to 
real life situations.  I have the topic of applying math to sports. 
The only thing I can come up with is using math or geometry to make 
the court or field just the right size.  I could also look at how they 
keep statistics. Maybe they use math to see what boosts sales of their 
jerseys, caps, etc.  Do you have any ideas on how math can be applied 
to sports?  

Thank you so much.

Date: 02/26/97 at 18:42:05
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: Applying math to sports.

Hi Alex -

You can make up good geometry problems having to do with sports.  The 
Math Forum's Geometry Problem of the Week has some great examples 
using football. Check these out:   

Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys took the handoff and ran toward the 
right sideline, eventually going out of bounds five yards downfield. 
What's the minimum distance he could have run?   

It's Superbowl Sunday and the Steelers are losing 20-17. They have a 
chance to tie the football game with a field goal (worth three points) 
from 50 yards away. If the kicker is on a direct line to the goal 
posts, how far off that line could the ball be when it crosses the 
line of scrimmage and still go through the goal posts? How far does 
the kicker have to kick it to get it over the cross bar?   

Super Bowl Goal Posts: If a football goalpost were rotated around the 
support post so that one corner ended up 1 inch from its original 
position, how far would the top of one upright be from where it 

Kickoff Return: Herschel Walker received the kickoff on the right hash 
mark at the 7 yard line and ran it back to the other 7 yard line on 
the left side of the field for a total of 86 yards. Was the actual 
distance close to a 100-yard dash? 

You'll find comments on the problems and solutions on the Web.  Enjoy!

-Doctor Sarah,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!   
Associated Topics:
High School Geometry
High School Triangles and Other Polygons
Middle School Geometry
Middle School Triangles and Other Polygons

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