News and Media
Oct 31 2012 - Launch, Aim, Spin
A report from NBC News states ‘Mechanical engineer Larry Silverberg of North Carolina State University believes the reason free-throw percentages (amongst professionals 75%) are not higher is that no one had properly analyzed them to determine the optimal trajectory.’
Using computer simulation of millions of trajectories based on shots by the best free-throw shooters, Silverberg and colleague came up with this magic formula:
‘A launch angle of 52 degrees, three revolutions per second of backspin, and aiming for a spot 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) back from the center of the basket, toward the back of the rim’
-Launch angle is probably the hardest thing to practice as I’m sure most of us don’t have someone holding a protractor next to us while we shoot.
-Aiming 2.8 inches back from the center of the hoop is almost impossible to do during live play. Not sure if aiming for it in practice play is easy either unless your standing right in front of the hoop and can fixate on an invisible point. Most coaches say aim for the back of the rim, focusing on the prongs that hold the net, and we tend to agree with this method.
-Backspin. Here’s where Shotloc comes in. By keeping your fingers spread and holding the ball properly Shotloc enforces a proper backspin. As discussed in the article a backward spinning ball will drop easier when hitting the back of the rim and ball.
"With backspin, if the ball hits the rim or backboard, the contact deadens the ball," said Silverberg. "That means it comes off slower, stays closer to the basket and is more likely to fall in."
‘Backspin that exceeds three revolutions per second is even better: At nine revs per second, Silverberg and Tran calculated, a free throw that hits the very top of the backboard will drop straight down for a point. But 9 rps is too difficult for players to achieve.’