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Do Outfield Condictions Affect the Distance Travelled by a Cricket Ball?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Physics
Wordcount: 1711 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Background Information


Each outfield will vary in conditions such as length of grass, moisture etc, which will impact the way the cricket ball travels across the outfield by a significant margin (distance).


  • 1x English Willow Cricket Bat
  • 1x Leather Cricket Ball
  • 1x Measuring Tape
  • 1x Drying Cloth
  • 1x Ruler (used as a marker from where ball was hit)
  • 1x Stone (used to mark where ball ended up)


Independent variable: Completion of experiment tested on different outfields

Dependent variable: Distance travelled by the ball

Controlled variables: Cricket ball, English Willow cricket bat, speed of bat swing, release height of cricket ball


1)      A shoulder width stance was positioned, parallel to a cricket bat held with the dominant hand aligned with the back foot.

2)      The cricket ball was held by the non-dominant hand, positioned in between the legs.

3)      Simultaneously, the ball was dropped whilst the bat was swung from original position to the ball’s position, where the ball was struck. The bat then forcefully stopped at the ball’s position to prevent any more momentum added to the ball, and ensured it travelled in a straight line.

4)      Placed ruler at the same position from where the ball was dropped, which was indicated as the start of measurement.

5)      Noted down where the ball was travelling, and ensured wind levels and moisture remained constant for validity. Once the cricket ball stopped moving, it was marked with a stone.

6)      Recorded the distance from the ruler to the stone with a measuring tape.

7)      A drying cloth was then used to clean of any dirt residue that may have remained to continue a valid experiment.

8)      Repeated the experiment 3 times on the same outfield for reliability.

9)      Carried out the same experiment on the other outfield to assess if able to compare and contrast the distance travelled by a cricket ball.

Results and Analysis

Distance travelled by the cricket ball (m)

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3


Outfields tested on

Backyard (1)





Park 2





Cricket field (3)






During the first test on the first outfield (backyard), the grass texture and appearance was thick and long. As positioning to take the first hit was taking place, soil patches were noticed spreaded across the area, consisting of dips into the ground. As suspected, the dips played a factor that lead to its low distance of travel, as occasional skips of the ball were detected as it went over those patches. In the second test of another outfield (park), the grass was much thinner and a bit more bunched up yet looked drier. In this case, the ball travelled across the surface smoothly without any disturbance of some sort. Finally, the last test carried out was at a cricket field, where the grass is packed together and much shorter than the other outfields. Surely enough, the cricket ball was able to skid across the ground effortlessly, resulting to the longest distance travelled from just having a look from the naked eye.


What do our results tell us?

The distance travelled by the cricket ball was varied depending on the surface of the ground. It meant that the length of grass and other factors present on the surface Therefore, the conditions did play a contributing factor that ultimately lead to what the results ended up as. From the results collected, outfield 3 (cricket field) had the best outfield conditions suited for a cricket ball to travel across, followed closely by outfield 2 (park), and then outfield 3 (backyard).


Why do we believe the results are what they are?

The speed and distance of which a ball travels across an outfield is determined by what lies on top of the surface, which, in this case, is grass. The length and thickness of grass ultimately decides the distance travelled by the cricket ball, which where friction becomes important. There would be less friction on a short grass outfield, which means that the ball would travel further, hence outfield 3 (cricket field) had the furthest distance travelled, as cricked fields are specifically designed for fast outfields to make scoring easier for batsmen. Outfield 2 (park) had slightly taller and thicker grass, which slowed down the acceleration of the cricket ball by a small margin. Consequently, there were factors in outfield 1 (backyard), for example, even taller and thicker grass with dips into the ground, that lead to its low distance covered out of all the outfields tested on.

Evaluate whether the hypothesis was correct or not.

The hypothesis was partially correct as according to the graphs, there was a clear indication that there was a difference in distance due to the different outfields and its accompanying conditions, however, it wasn’t a significant margin between them.


What variables did we control and why did we control them?

The variables that were controlled throughout the whole experiment were the bat swing, the bat itself and the cricket ball. The most important variable that needed to be controlled, the cricket bat, was done so as it was the main influencer to what the outcome would turn out to be. An English Willow bat has various features to it that makes it suited to a batsman need, such as thicker wood for power hitting. In addition, grains on the open face of the bat, size and shape has a contributing factor, making it vital to use the same cricket bat throughout to ensure validity was present in the experiment. Similarly, the bat swing had to be controlled in terms of both speed and distance of the bat swing to provide a reliable score, or else it would have made a significant unreliable difference between the distances recorded. The height of the release point for the cricket was done so that the result for each attempt would come out as fair. Lastly, the cricket ball itself needed to be in perfect conditions or similar conditions to each test recorded so it would not affect travel rate of the ball between repetitions of this experiment.


Did we repeat our measurements?

Measurements were repeated for each of the tests on different outfields, exactly a total of three times. This can be seen in the results section, where there were three columns for amount of times each test was carried out for the three different outfields. With this, it makes the whole experiment reliable to refer to.


Were there any areas for improvement in our method for next time?

Improvements could have been made to the experiment to conduct a much more accurate finding, like testing different angles of the outfields to see if consistency of distance travelled is displayed. In that way, external factors such as moisture levels in soil and wind could have been examined to see if it had any influence on the findings made. The use of better markers, such as small flags, would have defined an accurate measurement of where the ball stopped at.


From this experiment, it has been observed, compared and concluded- through three tests of the experiment – that conditions of outfields present do have an impact on travel distance made by the cricket ball.  However, the second part of the thesis stated above was not met as there was only a slight difference between each outfield.



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