December 19, 1977

# 19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

 PRINT EMAIL MOST POPULAR SHARE
 1 2 3 4

Sir:
My students and I have enjoyed reviewing this formula to find out why SPORTS ILLUSTRATED had it wrong. I commend the photographer for the two shots on page 42, however. These pictures are excellent examples of motion along a parabola.
SUE BORES
Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Tennessee-Martin
Martin, Tenn.

Sir:
We are sure that the equation presented in the article is merely an oversight.
JOHN W. HAGENS
ALAN D. HEMMINGSON
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas

? SI goofed. For the correct formula and Professor Durbin's analysis of the problem, see below.—ED.

Sir:
The question is: Is there a preferred way to shoot a basketball based on the physics of the process? The answer is yes! One can analyze the problem using a purely ballistic calculation that assumes a clean shot and neglects air friction, opposing players and bouncing off the rim or backboard.

There are three relevant equations. The horizontal distance the ball travels from shooter to basket, or range (R), is given by

R = v[2] sin2?/G

where v. is the launch velocity. G is the acceleration due to gravity and ? is the angle of launch as measured up from the horizontal (90 degrees is straight up).

The second equation

?R = 2v[2] ?? cos2 ?/G

shows the change in range (?R) due to an error in launch angle (??).

 1 2 3 4
 ARTICLES GALLERIES COVERS Enoch Durbin 1 0 0 College Football 12088 0 92 California 4412 0 4 Sports Illustrated 4417 0 41 Big 12 Conference 1824 0 54