How a curveball curves



October 14, 2019 - 9:34 AM

You may have seen a pitcher throw a curveball in baseball. 

The pitcher puts a spin on the ball when they release it from their hand. This could be a “topspin” rotation, where the top of the ball spins forward while the ball hurtles towards the plate. That creates air pressure differences on the ball that cause it to “break,” or change direction.

When the ball is spinning, it’s dragging the air with it due to friction between the air and the ball. It’s like there’s a whirlpool of motion of the air around the ball.

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