Best way to shoot basketball?

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Some basketball players struggle with free throws due to the flat arc of their shots. Researchers suggest that the underhand “granny” shot, which hasn’t been seen in the NBA since 1980, has a higher chance of success due to its backspin and easy-to-control motion. Using trigonometry, the optimal arc angle for a free throw is calculated to be approximately 45 degrees.

There are professional basketball players who are deadly from the foul line. Steve Nash, for example, was the all-time great, hitting 90.43% of his free throws during 18 seasons in the NBA. Then there are guys like Ben Wallace and Deandre Jordan, who are among the worst, boxing foul shots at a dismal 41%. According to some researchers, the shot with the highest chance of success is the underhand — or “granny” — shot that hasn’t been seen in the NBA since Rick Barry used it in 1980. The key lies in the arc of the ball. Backhand shots tend to be flatter, so instead of easily dropping a 9.5cm diameter ball through a 24.1cm wide hoop with an underhanded high arc shot, the target becomes more of an ellipse. “That’s why these guys miss them so much,” says Peter Brancazio, a physics professor and author of SportsScience: Physical Laws and Optimum Performance. By stealth shooting, he says, “there’s a much better chance of making a basket.”

Putting the ball in the basket:

Using trigonometry, Brancazio calculated that the optimal arc angle from the free-throw line is approximately 45 degrees, plus half the angle from the top of the player’s hand to the edge (which represents a shooter’s height). .
The granny shot benefits from a back spin. “The ball bounces, but it doesn’t have forward movement,” Brancazio says. This increases the likelihood of the ball bouncing into the basket, rather than bouncing away.
The underhand pull is an easy-to-control upward pendulum motion. The overhand free throw involves separate wrist, elbow and shoulder movements that can add up to errors, says Tom Steiger, who taught basketball physics at the University of Washington.

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