This is as Close to Archimedes as I Am Going to Get

I am certainly not a physicist in any sense of the word -- my "eureka" moments are usually very abstract -- but last week, while I was coaching a youth basketball game, I figured out how something works in the physical world; my thought process began during a game when our team was slaughtering the opposition, we were really racking up the points, and what surprised me was how often the shots were falling into the basket -- we always seemed to be getting the roll -- but upon further observation, I found that this was often the case . . . little kids make a fair amount of the shots they put up, if they hit the rim . . . and this is my best explanation as to why this is so: when an adult shoots a basketball, the arc of the ball usually rises far above the height of the basket, and then the ball plummets down towards the rim-- it's like the ball is being dropped from five feet above the basket-- and so if it hits wrong, it's got quite a bit of momentum, so it's going to "brick" and bounce wildly from the hoop, but a little kid shot typically just clears the rim . . . the point where the ball is at an actual standstill -- the apex-- is just above the basket, and so it hits the rim with very little impetus and has a much better chance of remaining on the rim, and possibly rolling in.


zman said...

I assume you ran onto the court naked cyring "Eureka!" when you figured this out.

Dave said...

i think that is frowned upon.

comment of the year so far!

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.