Essay on The Physics of Basketball

Essay on The Physics of Basketball

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When you play the game of basketball, you are not aware of at the time some of the physics that are going on all around you. For example, you have all the players using force to accelerate and go to top speed. You have the jump shot which uses vertical and horizontal forces. The spin of the ball affects its place once it hits the rim or the backboard. Dribbling comes into major play because of all the different types of forces and actions going on around it.
There is two different types of shots that you do in basketball, first being a jump shot, and the second being a layup. There is an exception for a free-throw because it is like a jump shot, you just don’t jump to create momentum. For the jump shot, you use little horizontal force because you cannot just throw the ball straight at the hoop, because you are not 10 feet or taller. The official height for the basketball hoop is 10 feet. Now, the average height in the NBA is 6 feet 7 inches. They have to use mostly vertical force to launch the ball off their hands, and come back down at an arc, to go into the 18 inch diameter basketball rim. Although, if you look at a layup you don’t use and horizontal or vertical force at all, you use the momentum from running transferred to the basketball hitting the backboard and going into the hoop. You can use Newton’s third law of motion for the layup and really everything else in basketball. That every force you exert has an equal and opposite reaction. The force of you accelerating transfers to speed, which you step and jump and that transfers into the ball which you let go of and hits the backboard and goes in. When you shoot a free throw, some forces go into the shot. At first the player has his dribble routine and breathing to relax hi...


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...l players fall at the same rate and the fact that they look like they are gliding is merely an illusion usually done by players right before they jump to bend their legs and then reach as far as they can with their arms, and the fact that they are stopped by the rim but their legs continue “gliding” all allowing for this illusion to occur. A prime example would be Michael Jordan’s famous free throw dunk, he looks like he glides to dunk the ball when in fact it is all in his technique.
The physics in basketball can be educational, but it really is not practical for players playing the game. You would not just stop in the middle of your shot to measure the angle and try and see how much velocity you need to put on the ball to make it into the hoop. Although, some coaches could teach their players physics in order to improve their games, without even realizing it.



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