Reflection on maths in sports!

Previously, it hadn’t occurred to me about maths in sports. If I was playing a sport, my main aim and line of thought would be to try and score, or win, along with using some tactics. Therefore, today’s workshop about maths in sports really opened up my eyes to see how the fundamentals of mathematics can be used to help people in everyday life activities such as playing sports.

Prior to today workshop, I researched about the maths in the sport Cricket. Interestingly, I found that even the weight of the bat can affect your performance in the game, the angle at which the ball hits the bat, the vertical bounce of the ball, the speed the ball is bowled at, the mass of the ball and even the ball spin (Physics of Cricket, 2005). Angles, weight and speed are all basic concepts used in mathematics which links to what Ma (20 10, p.104) refers to. All of these basic concepts link together, can be tested over a period of time and thus, the game performance can benefit over a period of time, by building upon the results and doing research. (Ma, 2010, p.104).

In addition to maths and cricket, today in workshop we redesigned the football league table from 1888-1889 by including the goals against, goals for, goal difference, points, games played, games won, games drawn and games lost. Below is an example of the original football league table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to order the football clubs from top to bottom according to the most points a club had won. We used basic mathematical principles (Ma. 2010, p. 104) of counting to find out how many games each team had won, drawn or lost. To work out the goal difference we used the basic mathematical concept of subtraction, subtracting the goals against from goals for.

After creating our new football league table, we discovered that we could have used simple  algebra to work out the points if we multiple the wins by 2 and add the draws.

Winn x2 + draws = the points (simple algebra). 

We could have designed this table differently by taking at the average of the goals scored (goal average)  and sorted them that way.

Next, we designed our own sports game and looked at how maths was applied to the sport. Our sport was called Smack-ball. It was based on the memory of a game many people have played. This being, when you have a balloon you try and keep the balloon up in the air by hitting the balloon as it comes back down and you can’t let it touch the ground. So, essentially, smack-ball involves using a ball that is the size of your hand-span and it weighs 196 grams. The court will be rectangular, 10m by 5m, the shorter walls are the goals, there are three players on each team and the game lasts 10 minutes. The aim is to try and smack the ball (involving passes to your other team members) towards your teams wall without letting the opposite team intercept the ball.

Applying maths to our sport:

  • using Pythagoras to try and perfect the perfect pass (Tohi, 2016)
  • force and distance for hitting the wall
  • when is the best time to intercept the ball out of someones hand
  • ball spin and speed

Reflection point:

In the future, I would like demonstrate to pupils how basic mathematical principles can be applied to sport! Pupils could choose one of their favourite sports therefore, creating interest and they could play the sport whilst others record results to illustrate how speed, distance and points are all relevant to sports. Demonstrating how maths can link to their interests, making maths enjoyable and relevant (The Scottish Government, 2008, p. 30)!

In summary, maths can be used to help benefit peoples performance in sport and can actually help people win! Many fundamental basic concepts were involved to create a league table and to look into how to improve in sport such as examining size, weight, position, location, counting, adding, subtraction, multiplication, simple algebra, force, distance, speed and time (Ma, 2010, p.104). Therefore, the fundamentals of mathematics can be used to help people in everyday life activities such as playing sports.

 

Mathematics is in everything!

List of references:

  • Ma, L., (2010) Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics (Anniversary Ed.) New York: Routledge.
  • Physics of Cricket (2005) Available at: http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/cricket.html (Accessed: 5 November 2017).
  • The Scottish Government (2008) curriculum for excellence building the curriculum 3 a framework for learning and teaching. Available at:  http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/226155/0061245.pdf (Accessed: 6 November 2017).
  • Tohi, K. (2016) Maths in Field Hockey. Available at: https://prezi.com/3mk2gu_u74ph/maths-in-field-hockey/ (Accessed: 6 November 2017).

1 thought on “Reflection on maths in sports!

  1. Richard

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for posting this – I think this links you have identified to basic pronciples are really interesting. If you consider sports with differnt scoring options (rugby, cricket, basketball etc) the choice to go for one form of scoring over another might be taken for granted, but requires a sound knowledge of the game, rules and maths!
    I like the idea of smackball too – maybe you could start a new Univeristy team, or even form a league!
    Thanks again,
    Richard

    Reply

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