Rugby is a fast-paced sport, where you’ve
really got to keep your eye on the ball. When players pass the ball to one another,
you’ll have noticed that it spins as it flies through the air. You can spin a rugby ball in three different axes: end over end, along its side, or along its length. Passing the ball head-on means that it’s
more aerodynamic than throwing it on its side. But why spin the ball instead
of just passing it with no spin? To find out why, we caught up with Jennifer Palmer, captain of the England women’s 27s touch rugby team. [nervous laughter] A rugby ball is a funny shape, which means when you throw it, it tends to wobble through the air. So, if you want to get a long pass – to make sure that your long pass is still accurate – you want to reduce the wabble, otherwise it could go anywhere. So, if you spin it as you pass it, the ball is more likely to go exactly where you want it to go. First of all, get your hands positioned on the ball correctly. If you’re passing right-to-left, you want your right hand on the base of the ball. Squeeze hard with your fingertips and the power and spin comes from your right hand. Pass across your body If you’re passing left-to-right, you want your left hand near the bottom of the ball. And you spin that was across your body. And then the final tip is once you’ve released the ball, leave with your hands facing the target, where your want it to go. So spinning the ball makes it more stable
and accurate when passing. The reason for this is because it acts like one of these…
a spinning top. If we take this spinning top and try to balance
it on its tip… it falls over. But if we give it a spin… it stays upright. The reason it doesn’t topple over is because of the law of conservation of angular momentum. When the top is spinning, it has angular momentum. And because angular momentum is conserved,
it will resist any change in its momentum. Put another way, because the top is spinning
in one axis, it will resist moving or tipping over in another axis, because that would mean
changing its momentum. The same thing happens if we try it with a
rugby ball… Place it on its end… … and it falls over. Give it a spin… … and it stays upright. So when you pass the ball, it rotates on its
side and still acts like the spinning top. Its angular momentum causing it to resist any
little wobbles from side to side, meaning it’s much more stable and easier for the other
player to catch that all important pass. [laughing] If you enjoyed this video, hit the like button,
share it around or click on my rugby ball to subscribe. For more on the physics of sport, check out our ice-skating series. And if we’ve inspired you to try science
(or rugby) at home, Send us your pictures and videos on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for watching! [beep] So spinning the ball makes it more stable and accurate when passing… Oooft! [laughing]

Why do you spin a rugby ball? | The Physics of Rugby | We The Curious
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8 thoughts on “Why do you spin a rugby ball? | The Physics of Rugby | We The Curious

  • September 25, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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    Surprised you didn't mention this in the video, but that's where rifles get their name. The inside of the barrel is made in such a way that rounds leaving the gun will be spinning like the rugby ball. This leads to increased accuracy.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2015 at 6:05 am
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    The girl looks like amy from bbt

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  • October 24, 2015 at 9:14 am
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    You just can't spin pass at all just go home please

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  • December 21, 2016 at 5:02 pm
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    Loved and enjoyed this very helpful video.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2017 at 9:22 pm
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    At the end of video, position of hands on ball by the guy is visible wrong! 🙂

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  • July 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm
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    His technique at the end made me suicidal

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  • June 20, 2018 at 3:00 pm
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    That guy’s pass is aweful

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  • September 9, 2018 at 6:44 am
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    Can u tell me the specific brand and style of that ball

    Reply

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