Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Pitching Mound
Name: N/A
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
If you raise the height of the pitcher's mound (which is already 10 inches high) will it increase the velocity of a pitched baseball as it crosses homeplate?



Replies:
The main advantage that a higher mound gives a pitcher is that it's easier to throw the ball farther if you start from higher up. If the pitcher stood on the same level as the plate, he would have to throw the ball a little higher to make it still be within strike level whan it crosses the plate. This reduces the forward speed he can put on the ball.

If the pitcher throws the ball horizontally, it has the maximum forward speed he can give it. However, as the ball travels from his hand to the catcher's mitt, it is constantly pulled downward by gravity. When the ball starts from higher up, the pitcher can throw it nearly horizontally and not have it bounce off the plate. So yes, indirectly, a higher pitcher's mound will allow a pitcher to pitch faster strikes.

However, if the mound is made too high (ridiculously high), the pitcher would have to pitch slower, or actually throw downward, to get strikes. These might be faster overall, but if most of the ball's velocity when it reaches the plate is downward, there won't be much forward velocity.

Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory