Question: How Does a Person Make a Basketball Shot?

By: Savannah Oak & Willie Wells

Shooting a basketball seems to be a fairly simple concept. However, basic skills used in shooting can become extremely complicated once broken down by physics. This wiki will explain how the laws of motion come into action when a person shoots a basketball.

Isaac Newton's first law of motion states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest;
an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force.

When a player shoots, it seems like nothing would stop the ball from going into the hoop. But, there are many forces acting upon the ball. The shooter must judge the force they wills shoot the ball at so the weight of the ball will be able to find the right line of trajectory so the ball falls into the basket.

Newton's second law states that acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass.
The equation is shown as Force mass x acceleration.
Newton's third law is in action whenever a player shoots the ball.
The basketball has mass, which means that the player must use a good amount of force when shooting.
Too much or too little force applied in relation to the ball's mass and the ball will either fall short or bounce off the backboard.
If you shot with a bowling ball the players would need to use much more force to move the ball the same distance.

The third law of motion is that for every force, there is an equal reaction force in the opposite direction.
If the shooter jumps when he shoots, he is appling force straight down, the ground reaction will launch him upward.

Free fall comes into action when the ball comes down from the basket.

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Gravity causes the ball to accelerate downward throughout its air time and pull back down to earth.
The player must actually aim much higher than the basket so the ball will get into the hoop.