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Angular momentum and athletics

Long jumpers make use of the conservation of angular momentum when they jump. As jumpers leave the board they keep their bodies long in the hang style of long jump in order to slow down forward rotation as shown in the diagram. An alternative technique is the hitch kick where the jumper rotates their legs in the opposite direction to that in which their body tends to rotate and this also reduces forward rotation of the body.

The reverse is true of a diver or a trampolinist; they go into the tuck position to speed up their rotation. In the same way spinning skaters will speed up their rate of rotation if they bring their arms into a vertical position.

(See also Angular momentum, Long jumping)
© Keith Gibbs 2013