Monday 18 June 2007

Practicalities of Cherry-pip spitting

Sunday trip to Wells Next the Sea for an enjoyable walk by the seaside. Here I unexpectedly came upon the "11 to sign" party in the midst of their annual Northern Hemisphere Cherry pip spitting competition! (One of the Southern Hemisphere Cherry pip spitting competitions is by GlobeVista.)

So what is the best spitting technique in this sport? Not being able to find anything on the web, I submit the following theoretical considerations:

From conventional ballistics, the maximum trajectory is theoretically obtained with a launch angle of 45 degrees from the horizontal. This YouTube video by a ladies amateur team demonstrates the benefit of launch angle.

Height also increases distance traversed.

The distance is then dependent on the launch velocity, so the longer you can accelerate an object before it enters free flight, the faster the speed and the greater the distance travelled. A professional cherry-pip spitter will purse their lips to provide a simple "gun barrell". The higher the explosive pressure release to accelerate the pip, the better.

Distance travelled is also dependent upon air resistance.

Therefore for maximum spitting distance I would recommend standing on tip-toe for maximum height, pursing the lips as much as possible to achieve the longest mouth barrell/acceleration route for the pip, and placing the pip at the back of this barrell as opposed to the front of the lips. Aim to spit the pip at an angle of 45 degirees upwards. Build up a good lungfull of air and explosively blast the pip. Additional centimeters may be gained by thrusting the head/body forward and the same time to impart further momentum. A few millimeters may be gained by conducting the contest either at high altitude or during a low pressure weather system.

The playfull amateur may wish to spit in the wind direction instead of against it, the professional might wish to take wind velocity into account when establishing records.

I would be interested in the opinions, experiences and advice for trainers & practitioners in this sport of Cherry pip spitting following this article.

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