The amount of force needed to change the momentum of an object varies depending on the amount of time that the force is applied. A small force applied over a long period of time can be as effective as a large force applied over a short period of time. A large force applied for a long time is most likely to increase the momentum of an object.
The combine, effect of force and time is known as impulse.
impluse = force x time By considering both force and time, an athlete can maximise the transfer of momentum. For example, a hockey player performing a push pass generates more momentum on the ball the longer the ball stays in contact with the stick. Ideally, a sprinter starting a race will push off the blocks and then take a series of short, fast steps to maximise the time the feet have in contact with the ground, thus maximising the momentum developed. A discus thrower uses intricate footwork in the wind-up to maximise the distance and time spent generating force.
In some sports, such as softball and golf, the time of contanct with the ball is very brief. In these sports it is not possible to increase the contact time, the only way impulse can be increased is by increasing the force applied.