Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Physics of Free-Throw Shooting

This discussion keeps popping up now and then. Recall that I've mentioned an article that suggests that throwing "granny style" might actually increase the chance of making a basket in basketball. Now comes another research on the mechanics of free-throw shooting that studies this a little bit more.

There is a difference though because the starting conditions are different, i.e. they're not studying the best way to do the free-throw, i.e. underhand or overhead.

The engineers used a men’s basketball for the study; it is heavier and a bit larger than basketballs used in women’s games. They also assumed that the basketball player doing the shooting was 6 feet 6 inches tall, and that he released the ball 6 inches above his head, so the “release height” was set to 7 feet. The free-throw line is 15 feet from the backboard, a cylinder-shaped opening that is 10 feet off the ground. Though it looks smaller, the diameter of a regulation basketball hoop is 18 inches; the diameter of a men’s basketball is a bit more than 9 inches.

So they are already starting with the assumption that one is launching the ball overhead.


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