# Football ballistics

Watching the occasional World Cup game, it’s easy to be impressed by the speed at which a shot can be kicked toward the goal (though I’d have to say that accuracy seems a bit less impressive). Anyone know what is the typical velocity of a really hard kick? And how does it change with distance from the kicker (due to aerodynamic drag)?

Not exactly what your after but this site, estimates 70 mph (but thats just a starting point for the calculation not an accurate esimate):

If anyone has a match on tape, you could try timing a shot from a known distance. The mown stripes on the pitch are 6 yards wide.

Let’s say Beckham’s free kick was from 30 yards out and took 1 second to reach the goal.

That gives an average speed from kick to goal of (30/1760) x 3600 = 61mph.

One second seems about right to me - perhaps someone with the match on tape and a quick stopwatch finger can refine that estimate…

(NB the 6 yard figure for the stripes is not a standard thing, but all the World Cup pitches seem to have been mown like that, so that the 6yd box is exactly one stripe wide, the penalty area 3 stripes wide etc)

I’ve noticed this as well, except that the centre circle has a radius of two stripes, which suggests 5 yards per stripe. The stripes in the centre don’t look any narrower than those at the end. I don’t know if this is an optical illusion or if they gradually increase the width of the stripes towards the ends of the pitch