A little physics lesson about the 'Magnus effect'?

For sports such as golf, baseball, soccer, tennis, cricket, and table tennis the athlete is looking to bend the ball in flight which is where the Magnus force comes into play. The Magnus effect can be applied in several directions to create topspin, backspin, and sidespin.


  • 1672 Correctly inferred by observing tennis players Isaac Newton
  • 1742 Benjaimin Robins explains the deviations in the trajectory of musket balls by the effect.
  • 1852 the effect was described by Gustav Magnus from why canon balls curve

As shown in this illustration when the tennis ball is hit using topspin, there is high pressure created in front of the ball as it spins forward with a low pressure created below the ball. Therefore the ball is being pushed down towards the ground along with gravity.  On the other hand with backspin or slice, the high and low pressure are in reverse which create more lift. The more backspin rotation is created, the more lift.

Here is another simple illustration of the Magnus effect after the ball crosses the net with topsin. 

A great video explaining the Magnus effect by Professor Rod Cross (University of Sydney, Australia).  

Staff Introduction:
  Shinichi George Kidera  APF ACADEMIES COACH

"From player to coach tennis has become much more interesting when you start looking into the science behind how we hit the ball! Always learning!"

Back into the swing of things in 2014! My goal is to definitely learn more Thai this year, play more tennis, get into great shape, and as always inspire those who want to become better tennis players. Have a great start everyone to your new year and keep your goals alive and in-line.


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