Physics of Basketball

Joe, Xander, Taylor, Heather, Kevin, and McKinley

Free throw

  • "One-Motion Method"

    • Less effort is required when shooting

    • There is a smoother release

  • The optimal angle of trajectory is 45°

  • Backspin

    • If the ball hits the rim, friction will reduce the forward velocity of the ball

  • Follow through!

    • The longer you are in contact with the ball, the more control you have on it's motion


  • Optimal Angle of Trajectory is about 45 degrees

  • Too much force will send the ball flying off the backboard or rim


  • Put some spin on the ball


  • When the ball hits the ground, the ball loses speed because of friction but also retains force due to its composition

  • force from the ground is applied to the ball and projects back up from the direction it came

  • The ball hits our hand (friction), our hand comes inward accepting force and friction, then reproduces force on the ball. Newtons second law creates acceleration downwards because the hand is applying a downward force.