The Science Behind the Perfect Free Throw (Infographic)
It takes more than just practice to shoot the perfect free throw.
A mechanical engineer at North Carolina State University analyzed millions of free throws by some of the best shooters and has come up with “a magic formula,” according to Reuters.
The 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. “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 of more than three revolutions per second is ideal. At 9 rps, a free throw that hits the top of the backboard will fall straight down into the basket, but achieving such backspin is difficult.