Broomball is played on a hockey rink like the one pictured below.

(Image courtesy of

When one examines the hockey rink closer one discovers that the game is simply played on ice. Most people know that ice is slippery, but fewer know that the kinetic coefficient of friction between ice and ice .03. This simply means that the play surface is going to be slippery.

We know this because of Newton's first law. Simply put, the aspect of this law relevant to us states, a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by outside forces. The major outside forces that usually allow us to stop is friction. On ice the friction coefficient is greatly reduced to what it is on a sidewalk. Therefore stopping is made much more difficult. This adds an element to the game play that is missing from most other sports. Understanding this concept can make one a better broomball player. However there are broomball shoes, which are discussed in the equipment section of this site.

To better understand the concept of ones movement on the ice the free body diagram of a moving person in relation to the ice is below. (Note: F sub you incorporates friction)

However it is also important to point out that because the ice is surrounded by a "wall" of wood and plastic panels, a player can use these to stop, go, or change direction quickly. The ball can also be played off of this barrier.

With the power of physics on can predict where the ball will land. We know that in elastic collisions momentum and kinetic energy is conserved. If we can guesstimate the angle of attack of the ball in relation to the wall we can figure out where it will land on the ice. Approximately anyway because we don't know the acceleration of the ball.

Some people find sliding to be a good solution to stopping without falling on your back. This works by spreading your force over a larger area thus increasing the surface area contact of your body in relation to the ice. However, sliding can take you out of the play because the ice makes it harder to get started running again, especially when you are laying down. This is because the static friction coefficient between ice and ice is 0.1.

Let us recall the concept of throwing your keys away from you while standing on a frictionless surface. One can't walk on a frictionless surface, so in order to move we must add a new element. If we throw our keys one way our mass will slide the opposite direction because there isn't friction.

This is perhaps the most important concept related to the playing surface in broomball. When one swings to hit the ball if his/her center of gravity is too high (they are standing fully erect) they are more likely to fall then if they lower their center of gravity by kneeling or bending over. The momentum of the stick (given by P=mv) is like throwing keys. Therefore, due to Newton's third law, there will be an equal yet opposite reaction, you falling.

As previously stated, the playing surface add a unique element to the game of broomball. If one understands the physics behind the playing surface and how to use it, one's game will be elevated to a new level.