Basketball Shot Physics
By: Josie Curphy and Maddison Bonneville

How does the Laws of Motion affect how you shoot a basketball?

Have you ever wanted to make a basketball shot but didn’t know exactly how? Knowing about the physics of making a shot would help you out a lot. Many things affect your shot that most people don’t even know about. Things like Newton’s Laws of Motion and other factors affect the shot greatly.

Our Response:
When shooting a basketball there are a lot of things you need to think about. One thing you need to consider is your height. Your height helps you determent the angle that you need to shoot the ball at and the speed. When you shoot a basket you need to apply force. You need to push the basketball towards the net. Without force the ball wouldn’t move at all and you’d never make a shot. You push the ball upward while gravity pulls it down with an equal but opposite force. Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action (you shooting the basketball) there is an equal but opposite reaction (gravity pulling downward). Also shooting a basket uses Newton’s First Law of Motion. This law states that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. The basketball wouldn’t move and would stay at rest unless you pushed the ball towards the net. When shooting the ball you need to think of all variables that may affect the shoot. An example of that would be if you were outside, the wind may affect your shot depending on how strong it is. The arc of the shot determents if the ball goes into the hoop or not. Something you also need to factor in is the height of the basketball hoop. The basketball will never hit its terminal velocity because the hoop is not high enough for it to get as fast as it could possibly go. The speed of the ball also affect the shot in some ways. If you shoot the ball fast, it is less likely to be blocked by a player on the other team. Though is you shoot it too fast it will have too much force behind it and will bounce off the back board too hard. When that happens it wont fall into the basket but will bounce off back into the court.

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