mathematics in sport
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enHow to take a perfect penalty
http://plus.maths.org/content/how-take-perfect-penalty
<p>"It's failure to prepare mentally and failure to take practicing penalties really seriously." This is Ken Bray's explanation for England's dismal performance in penalty shootouts. England are successful in only 17% of their encounters, compared to Germany's impressive 80%. Bray is an expert in the science of football, and he has studied the physics as well as the psychology of penalties and analysed the statistics. The result are three steps to ensure a perfect penalty, which he explains in this video.<p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/how-take-perfect-penalty" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/how-take-perfect-penalty#commentsfootballmathematics in sportpenalty tacticsFri, 13 Jun 2014 09:24:45 +0000mf3446115 at http://plus.maths.org/contentBlink and you'll miss it: The free kick in football (part II)
http://plus.maths.org/content/free-kick-football-blink-and-youll-miss-it-part-ii
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Ken Bray </div>
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<p>In the first part of this article we let maths set the scene for a free kick. Now we continue the drama, tracing the trajectory of the ball throughout the milliseconds it takes it to reach the goal line.</p>
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<p>The free kick in football: the referee blows the whistle, the striker begins his run-up and the players in the wall steel themselves against a possible impact. The goalie strains to see his first sight of the ball and the thump as boot meets ball can be heard all over the now-silent ground.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/free-kick-football-blink-and-youll-miss-it-part-ii" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/free-kick-football-blink-and-youll-miss-it-part-ii#commentsaerodynamicsfootballmathematical modellingmathematics in sportThu, 12 Jun 2014 09:50:31 +0000mf3446113 at http://plus.maths.org/contentBlink and you'll miss it: The free kick in football (part I)
http://plus.maths.org/content/free-kick-football-blink-and-youll-miss-it
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Ken Bray </div>
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<p>Free kicks will deliver much of the drama in the football world cup this summer. But how should strikers approach them and how does the design on the ball impact on its behaviour in flight? Maths can give us answers...</p>
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<p>On 12 June the World Cup kicks off in Brazil where 32 teams will compete for the greatest prize in
football. A total of 64 games will be played up to the Final and much skill will be displayed by the
game's elite players. Can science add anything to the mix? The complexity of ninety minutes' play
rules out any possibility of simulating an entire game; but there are some events which are so
fleeting and where the intentions of the players are so specific, that scientific analysis can be fruitful.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/free-kick-football-blink-and-youll-miss-it" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/free-kick-football-blink-and-youll-miss-it#commentsfootballFP-carouselgeometrymathematics in sportphysicsThu, 12 Jun 2014 09:34:23 +0000mf3446112 at http://plus.maths.org/contentIce, ice baby
http://plus.maths.org/content/ice-ice-baby
<p>With spring (hopefully) on its way, it looks increasingly less likely that we will be blessed with the cold, white, fluffy stuff this year. But if the winter Olympics leave you yearning for snow and ice, here are some related maths stories for you.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/ice-ice-baby" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/ice-ice-baby#commentsmathematics in sportThu, 20 Feb 2014 15:44:25 +0000mf3446045 at http://plus.maths.org/contentWhy you shouldn't use a toss for overtime
http://plus.maths.org/content/toss-overtime
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Steven J. Brams and Zeve N. Sanderson </div>
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<p>In soccer a coin toss is used to decide who goes first in a penalty shootout and similarly in American football a coin decides who plays offence in overtime. But is this really fair? This article explores an alternative.</p>
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<p>When a tied game in professional soccer leagues (football in most of the world) goes into overtime in knock-out tournaments or cup competitions, a coin toss is used to determine which team starts a sequence of penalty kicks to break the tie. Similarly, when a tied game goes into overtime in the National Football League (NFL) in the United States, a coin toss is used to determine which team starts as offence and which starts as defence in the overtime period. </p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/toss-overtime" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/toss-overtime#commentsfair divisionmathematics in sportFri, 10 May 2013 07:49:24 +0000mf3445894 at http://plus.maths.org/contentGearing up for gold
http://plus.maths.org/content/gearing-gold
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<p>Inspired by Sara Storey's phenomenal gold medal we calculate whether we, and our bikes, have what it takes to triumph in our newfound quest for speed!</p>
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As I joined the peloton of commuter cycists this morning I was riding with a new determination and purpose. Inspired by Sarah Storey's phenomenal gold medal performance yesterday, I could almost hear the roar of the crowd as I cycled up Pentonville Hill in a new, personal best, time!
</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/gearing-gold" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/gearing-gold#commentsmathematics in sportolympicsparalympicsvelodromeFri, 31 Aug 2012 08:14:54 +0000Rachel5776 at http://plus.maths.org/contentMedal predictions: Did we get it right?
http://plus.maths.org/content/medal-predictions-did-we-get-it-right
<p>Never afraid of a challenge, before the start of the London 2012 Games we issued predictions for the total medal count for the top 20 countries. They were based on a mathematical model that took account of a country's GDP and population, its performance in 2008 and the home advantage bestowed on Great Britain and also China, who hosted the Games in 2008 (see <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/mapping-medals">Mapping the medals</a>).</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/medal-predictions-did-we-get-it-right" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/medal-predictions-did-we-get-it-right#commentsmathematics in sportolympicsTue, 14 Aug 2012 13:26:20 +0000mf3445763 at http://plus.maths.org/contentMixing doubles
http://plus.maths.org/content/mixed-doubles-matching-pairs
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Ellen Hetland Fenwick </div>
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<p>Andy Murray and Laura Robson made a good team at London 2012, bringing home silver in the mixed doubles. But how do you make sure that the competing pair is the best you can pick from the team?</p>
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<p>Andy Murray and Laura Robson took silver at Wimbledon in the London 2012 Olympics. Image: <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Andy_Murray_and_Laura_Robson_-Wimbledon,_London_2012_Olympics-3Aug2012.jpg">Christopher Johnson</a>.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/mixed-doubles-matching-pairs" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/mixed-doubles-matching-pairs#commentscombinatorial game theorycombinatoricsgame theorymathematics in sportolympicsTue, 14 Aug 2012 10:00:07 +0000mf3445760 at http://plus.maths.org/contentThe Plus Olympic calendar: Friday 10th August
http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-friday-10th-august
<p>The beautiful game has been saved for last at London 2012, with the men's gold medal match taking place on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Games. There are some important questions to ponder while we sit tight in anticipation for the final match. What's the best strategy for taking a penalty kick? When is it worth committing a professional foul? And when is a goal not a goal? Find out about all this and more with our collection of football articles.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-friday-10th-august" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-friday-10th-august#commentsmathematics in sportolympic calendarolympicsFri, 10 Aug 2012 06:03:14 +0000mf3445756 at http://plus.maths.org/contentThe Plus Olympic calendar: Thursday 9th August
http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-thursday-9th-august
<div class="rightimage" style="width: 250px;"><img src="/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/2012/horses/trot.jpg" alt="Trot" width="250" height="166" /><p>A dressage horse and rider performing the extended trot. Image: <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uitgestrektedraf.jpg">Chefsna</a>.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-thursday-9th-august" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-thursday-9th-august#commentsmathematics in sportolympic calendarolympicsThu, 09 Aug 2012 07:46:03 +0000mf3445755 at http://plus.maths.org/contentThe Plus Olympic calendar: Wednesday 8th August
http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-wednesday-8th-august
<div class="rightimage" style="width: 250px"><img src="http://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/2011/pingpong/pingpong.jpg" width="250" height="166" alt="A table tennis player"><p>What is your chance of winning at table tennis?</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-wednesday-8th-august" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-wednesday-8th-august#commentsmathematics in sportolympic calendarolympicsWed, 08 Aug 2012 07:30:10 +0000mf3445754 at http://plus.maths.org/contentThe Plus Olympic calendar: Tuesday 7th August
http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-tuesday-7th-august
<div class="rightimage" style="width: 300px"><img src="http://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/2011/velodrome/chrishoy.jpg" width="300" height="212"><p>Sir Chris Hoy leads the GB Cycling Team during the official opening of the Velodrome (Photograph by David Poultney)</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-tuesday-7th-august" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-tuesday-7th-august#commentsmathematics in sportolympic calendarolympicsTue, 07 Aug 2012 08:34:22 +0000mf3445749 at http://plus.maths.org/contentThe Plus Olympic calendar: Monday 6th August
http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-monday-6th-august
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<p><em>Yesterday was a great day for badminton with gold medals being awarded in the men's singles and doubles. This got us thinking about shuttlecocks. They are not like balls at all and this means that they don't behave like balls either. <a href="http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/people/j.d.barrow/">John D. Barrow</a>, mathematician, cosmologist and prolific popular science writer, explains.</em></p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-monday-6th-august" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/plus-olympic-calendar-monday-6th-august#commentsmathematics in sportolympic calendarolympicsMon, 06 Aug 2012 07:30:01 +0000mf3445752 at http://plus.maths.org/contentSpinning the perfect serve
http://plus.maths.org/content/spinning-perfect-serve
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<p>A new mathematical analysis of how to hit a winning serve shows that spin is the thing. Perhaps there's still time for Murray's coach to include some maths in his preparations for the match today...</p>
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<em>It's the last set of the London 2012 singles final. Andy Murray steps up to the baseline to deliver the opening serve. After a few calculations he tosses the ball in the air with supreme confidence. He has maths on his side and it has given him the secret to the perfect serve...
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http://plus.maths.org/content/logic-drug-testing
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John Haigh </div>
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<p>London 2012 vowed to be the cleanest Olympics ever, with more than 6,000 tests on athletes for performance enhancing drugs. But when an athlete does fail a drug test can we really conclude that they are cheating? John Haigh does the maths.</p>
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<p><em> London 2012 vowed to be the cleanest Olympics ever, with more than 6,000 tests on athletes for performance enhancing drugs. But when an athlete does fail a drug test can we really conclude that they are cheating? John Haigh does the maths. (You can also look at the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/logic-drug-testing#animation">animation below</a> to see the results illustrated.)</em></p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/logic-drug-testing" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/logic-drug-testing#commentsbayes theoremconditional probabilityfalse positivemathematics in sportolympicsThu, 02 Aug 2012 10:23:50 +0000mf3445757 at http://plus.maths.org/content