Baseball vs Tennis Ball

Posted in the Physics Forum

Baseball vs Tennis Ball

AOL

#1 Jan 25, 2007
I was having a discussion with a friend about whether a tennis ball or a baseball would hurt more if thrown by the same person with the same strength.

Will the weight of the ball affect how fast the person is able to throw the ball?

Which would hurt more?

Which would go faster?

At the release of the ball, which would be faster and which would pick up more speed?

Thank you!
willd11

United States

#2 Jun 5, 2007
The baseball would go much faster and hurt much more. I play on a travel baseball team and pitch. I can throw a baseball about 75mph but can only throw a tennis ball 60mph(I've used my radar gun to clock them both) Also, a baseball is much harder, so will hurt more

“Turning coffee into theorems”

Since: Dec 06

Trapped inside a Klein Bottle

#3 Jun 6, 2007
Actually, the initial speed is likely to be about the same, with the tennis ball slightly higher since it has less mass.

But, with more mass and less air resistance, the baseball will maintain its speed better. However, over a short distance, say a few feet, the difference will be negligible.

The big difference is in the amount of energy that will be transfered when the ball hits. The tennis ball will be a elastic collision, with part of the energy transfered to the target, but some retained in the ball as it bounces off. A baseball will be more of an inelastic collision, as there will be much less rebound. So most of its energy will be transfered to the target.

Add to this the fact the baseball will have more energy because of its greater mass (and traveling at about the same speed), the baseball will hurt more.
Guz

New York, NY

#4 Aug 15, 2007
Darwins Stepchild wrote:
Actually, the initial speed is likely to be about the same, with the tennis ball slightly higher since it has less mass.
But, with more mass and less air resistance, the baseball will maintain its speed better. However, over a short distance, say a few feet, the difference will be negligible.
The big difference is in the amount of energy that will be transfered when the ball hits. The tennis ball will be a elastic collision, with part of the energy transfered to the target, but some retained in the ball as it bounces off. A baseball will be more of an inelastic collision, as there will be much less rebound. So most of its energy will be transfered to the target.
Add to this the fact the baseball will have more energy because of its greater mass (and traveling at about the same speed), the baseball will hurt more.
Hi Mr Stepchild,

I wanted to ask a little more about this topic from a slightly different perspective if you don't mind. I plan on joining a stickball league where the game is played with a tennis ball. The claim is that some of the pitchers can throw a tennis ball in the mid 80's and some have hit the 90's. This has apparently been verified by radar gun.(Were talking MPH of course) My question is if I am used to throwing baseballs will I actually get a minor increase in speed from throwing a tennis ball like some of these guys claim?(5-8 mph?) As follow up questions is is it really possible to throw a tennis ball that fast? I mean it has such little mass compared to a baseball, wouldn't throwing that hard be bad for ones arm?

“Turning coffee into theorems”

Since: Dec 06

Trapped inside a Klein Bottle

#5 Aug 16, 2007
Guz wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi Mr Stepchild,
I wanted to ask a little more about this topic from a slightly different perspective if you don't mind. I plan on joining a stickball league where the game is played with a tennis ball. The claim is that some of the pitchers can throw a tennis ball in the mid 80's and some have hit the 90's. This has apparently been verified by radar gun.(Were talking MPH of course) My question is if I am used to throwing baseballs will I actually get a minor increase in speed from throwing a tennis ball like some of these guys claim?(5-8 mph?) As follow up questions is is it really possible to throw a tennis ball that fast? I mean it has such little mass compared to a baseball, wouldn't throwing that hard be bad for ones arm?
The tennis ball being lighter, putting the same force behind it should give it more acceleration, and thus a higher top speed.

A decent tennis player can serve a tennis ball at more than 100 mph, the top players at around 120. Of course, you have the leverage of the racket to help. Still, 80+ mph for throwing a tennis ball seem reasonable.

As for injuries from throwing a tennis ball - sorry, I'm the wrong person to ask. Haven't a clue.
Frank

Dover, PA

#6 Nov 5, 2007
i am awesome so i mean i am right by saying that i rule and im cool i think baseball would hurt more
blaze

Washington, CT

#7 Jul 29, 2008
i can throw a tennis ball harder than i throw a baseball. Is that possible?
moleman

Fort Dodge, IA

#8 Sep 11, 2008
tennis balls smell differently when you multiply the molecular compound by the velocity. this proves the now fact that a tennis ball's smell would slow the atomic motion greatly. therefore this question is simply answered, a baseball would cause more injury, but a tennis ball would leave a greater impact area.
Gay Williams

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#9 May 21, 2009
Arre you sure about what the othwer people commented
Gay Williams

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#10 May 21, 2009
Are you sure the comments the people posted are correct?
anonymous fella

Luton, UK

#11 Nov 17, 2009
nice topic to google. was checking to see if anyone's set the fastest speed for throwing a tennis ball. all i can find are boring serve speeds bahhh

i threw a tennis ball on about 6th attempt 2 weeks ago after 15 years of being dormant at 98mph - a friend held a bushnell speed gun, hope its accurate. first throws were in the 90's. a few didnt catch the radar which is a shame as 1 looked and felt much faster but didnt register grrr.

shouldve warmed up though and not done it straight after lunch on a full stomach of bbq mmmm, as i pulled a muscle under my rib and couldnt move for 2 days. story of my life that - injuries. still sore but once its better aiming to get well over 105mph as i didnt really feel i had a chance to bend my back. i thought the throws would just be around 75-80mph, so it seems ive been underestimating myself based on crap i heard all my life. i was bit surprised it was that fast but it kinda made sense in terms of what i always knew.

if ur right mr no one thats reading this that a baseball travels faster as it holds it speed in the air(id prob. agree with that)then i suppose i might be able to set a baseball pitching record hopefully around 115-120mph. Something inside me feels 125ish is possible though. Thats got to be worth something i guess. Always knew i had the fastest arms ever - helps that i can press close to 200kg for an 80kg fella and turn into raw power

well hopefully nobody will read this as the last post was in may 2009 and so alas i can stay anonymous 4evaaa - but nice to share stuff out loud i guess ahhh feels good :)
anonymous fella

Luton, UK

#12 Nov 17, 2009
lol, im not even in watford - thats about 60 miles away.

and answering the topic 2 years too late - im pretty sure its easier to throw a baseball faster than a tennis ball. just feels easier to put more force behind it.
anonymous fella

Luton, UK

#13 Nov 17, 2009
i should've mentioned it was over a 20 metre distance.
Mike

United States

#14 May 10, 2010
anonymous fella,

I'm sorry but the part about throwing a baseball 115-120 mph is absolute bull. The hardest a human could possibly throw a baseball is in the 103 mph range. The reason for that is that the body cant handle anymore than that. The ligaments and tendons would be completely destroyed in the arm. That's why the major league record is only about 103 mph.
anonymous fella

Watford, UK

#15 Sep 19, 2010
well i dont know whether ones ligaments and tendons would necessarily tear - if properly conditioned to reach such speeds.

However, the unbelievable 115mph was based on the chap who posted that he thinks based on his speeds that one could throw a baseball 15mph faster than a tennis ball.

the maximum speed ive recorded on a bushnell speed gun and speedtrac extreme throwing a tennis ball and before damaging my shoulder joint was 98mph & 96 which if plus 15 might suggest i could throw up to 112! however, the max speed i recorded for a baseball using the speedtrac extreme was only 90mph which would seem a long way off and barely a minor league reading :-( i simply couldnt throw my arm as fast as i could with the baseball due to its weight - hence also the cause for the shoulder injury.

the tennis ball slows much more over a long distance but along very short distances (which i relied on) its marginal or almost the same. i should know, i tested the theory loads!

i agree max ever speed by a man would probably be about 103 to 105mph unless Superman takes up baseball :-)
My name

Mobile, AL

#16 Jan 15, 2013
willd11 wrote:
The baseball would go much faster and hurt much more. I play on a travel baseball team and pitch. I can throw a baseball about 75mph but can only throw a tennis ball 60mph(I've used my radar gun to clock them both) Also, a baseball is much harder, so will hurt more
a tennis ball will travel faster when you through it because it is lighter.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Physics Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
phone Tue dollhouse 1
Nobel Winner Known for LED Battle in Japan Went... Tue SHlTWORMMUMINDEBD... 19
MM Experiment & Einstein (Dec '13) Oct 13 nakayama 4
TOKYO: We are proud that Japan's bright blue li... Oct 10 SHlTWORMCHAVADEBD... 4
Three Japanese scientists win Nobel prize in ph... Oct 8 SHlTWORMNTANAUDEB... 6
Aether, Again !! (Sep '09) Sep 30 nakayama 38
Newton didn't give second law of motion, says n... Sep 23 sonoran2 3

Physics People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE