Name: Douglas R.
I am a pitcher and can throw the ball one hundred miles
per hour. (Not really, but let us pretend.) Is it true that my hand -- at
the moment of release -- must also be moving at that speed? A related
question: When does the ball reach maximum speed? (I assume at the
Yes, if the ball moves at 100 miles per hour, your hand had to move that
fast as well. And yes, the maximum velocity of the ball in the forward
direction will be at the point of release. If you throw a pitch off the
Empire State Building, it may accelerate to a very high speed in the
downward direction, but its forward velocity will continuously decrease from
the effect of wind resistance.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
Your hand, or at least your fingers, have to be moving at the same speed
as the ball when you let go. At this point the ball has its maximum speed,
and it slows down all the way to the catcher.
I assume that since there is nothing to accellerate
the ball after it is released, the fastest speed is at
the point of release. Your fingertips, relative to
the ground, has to be moving at 100 mph.
Yes and Yes. Newton's Laws of motion require that the ball be at max. speed
upon release. After release it can only change direction and slow down due
to air resistance.
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Update: June 2012