As David may have already informed you all with his post basketball season is quickly approaching, and analyzing the physics of the game will hopefully allow our team to not be absolutely horrible so we can have fun and actually win for a change as we dribble and twerk down the court. But as everyone may not realize, the physics starts much sooner than simply when the basketball is released. Lets divide the game into individuals sections and take it from there to figure out how to be a total baller.
Set Up- Basketball players must become familiar with the concept of inertia before they can perfect setting up for a jump shot. A player utilizes the physical forces at their disposal when they move quickly side to side and plant their foot to then rise up for a jump shot. The kinetic energy of their lateral movement is quickly converted into potential energy as the player lifts off and gains height and therefore energy.
Release- The release is crucial, for it is the time at which the final forces are applied before the ball enters its own journey in the air. No matter what the shot may be, the players hand creates all of the force on the basketball. With all shots except for a dunk or if the player is absolutely massive and releases the ball at a height greater than ten feet, all shots are initiated at an upward angle and therefore creates arc, a very well known basketball term.
Spin- Then after the ball is releases we can analyze the spin on it, the direct result of the forces we have talked about thus far. Unlike the seams on a baseball or the dimples on a golf ball, basketballs have a smooth texture and travel through the air at a comparatively slow speed. For this reason, shooters can loft a shot directly at the basket or a point on the backboard without the ball changing direction in flight. Shooters apply spin to determine where the rebound goes if there is one, and this is directly representative of Newton's third law regarding action and equal and opposite reactions.