The art of returning such a blistering serve requires lightning-quick physical reactions and a slightly different stroke called the forehand. Rather than doing what seems instinctual, which would be to strike the ball as hard as possible with the center of the racket, a seasoned tennis player swings their racket from a low starting position, then angles the racket to be almost parallel to the approaching ball and swipes at it, finishing with their arms high above the shoulder. A BAG OF TRICKS . . . AND ANGLES Golf is another sport where players, knowingly or not, use the Magnus effect to score well. Amateur golfers react with awe every time they see a professional land a ball past the hole of a green, only to see it actually backup several feet toward the target because of that same scientific principle. The impressive backspin action achieved by a professional golfer is the direct result of where the club strikes the back of the ball. When a golfer hits on the bottom of the ball with a high downward-arching motion, the ball is capable of generating a fierce backspin. This is particularly useful when a player is attempting to land the ball on the green. When a golfer hits the green with no backspin, the ball is likely to bounce wildly off the green and force the player to hit another shot, thus adding a stroke to the player’s final score. If the player is sufficiently skilled at creating backspin, however, he or she can land the ball softly on the green with a high trajectory and enough spin to either keep it from rolling altogether or have it actually back up a few feet. To have the flexibility of hitting soft backspin shots and impressive long drives, participants carry a bag full of clubs to



Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter creator