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How science, athletes and a ball work together to create the game of basketball

Physics has important role in the sport
Posted at 10:19 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 22:19:26-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Basketball is a sport that many people love, but may not understand how the game is played physically and athletically.

Hanwei Gao is an associate physics professor at Florida State University's College of Arts and Sciences.

Gao says sports like basketball involve effort from individual players, but once a ball is released, it is unknown where it may end up until a play is over.

"I think the reason there's a lot of physics going on in basketball and similarly in other ball type of sport, is that we don't really have a lot of control," Gao said.

He also mentions being able to comprehend the laws of Newton mechanics or aerodynamics, which can produce relative motion while a person is shooting, allowing the ball to continue until it reaches its destination.

"You really need to control the condition well enough before you shoot it, so basically the player is only providing a initial condition for the ball to go out,"Gao said.

While coaches and athletes continue competing in March Madness, FSU College of Education associate professor in sports analytics David Pfier says with help of fans cheering on their favorite schools, it possibly gives players a extra boost of energy, that can help their team win or lose depending on the noise level at a facility.

"A lot of where that home field advantage comes from is from the crowds influence on the referees. Just the matter of fact of the calls are much more heavily favorite towards home teams than they away teams," Pifer said.

According to data studied by professor Pifer, as teams stay competitive and athletes show their skills on big stages like March Madness, people become more interested in filling out tournament brackets every year.

"It's pretty crazy in terms of you know viewership, in terms of people participating and brackets. It's a heavily invested activity one that everybody loves and its one the definitely ramps up this time of year," Pifer said.