Howard Brody. University of
Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia,
1987. 168 pp. $14.95.

Every tennis player now has a new excuse for the flubbed shot: the laws of nature. Tennis existed before Newton but his laws determine the motion of a " tennis ball just as they do the motion of the planets. Tennis is as much a game of string tension, ball trajectories and coefficients of compression and restitution as it is a game of watching the ball, bending knees and swinging the racket. Howard Brody, a physicist, ap plies his professional vantage point to explain the scientific principles at work (at play?). This book explores the innards of the game. The underlying philosophy of the book is that understanding improves praxis.

The emphasis is on the physics of the tennis racket, the strings and the motion of the ball. The insights that result are sometimes...

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