The Importance of an Arc in Shooting

Players reboundingWhen you watch Ray Allen or Steph Curry launch a jumper, their shot is silky smooth, but another thing to look out for is the arc of the basketball when it leaves their hands. The ball follows a certain trajectory and angle before it swishes through the rim. You have to shoot the basketball with an arc to improve your percentage.

A coach from a basketball training camp breaks down the reason you need to shoot with an arc.

The Shooting Arc

People have studied parabolas since they started throwing things at each other or at something, from arrows to shot puts. Fast forward to today, people now use all sorts of balls for sports. A parabola is just as important in basketball because a player needs to be precise whenever they shoot, from the moment their feet leave the floor to the motion of their arms and hands to the release of the ball from their fingertips.

Players must not only have an understanding (at least the concept, not the equation) of not just ordinary parabolas because a higher shooting percentage relies on a high arcing shot. A basketball must go through a hoop with not much room to spare, limiting the possibility of a made basket. If a player dunks the ball directly above the room, that’s approximately at a 90-degree angle, which leaves approximately four inches of space, a very comfortable margin.

However, once the angle decreases and reaches closer to horizontal, the free space gets smaller and smaller. Increasing the height at which a player release the basketball reduces the distance it has to reach the basket and also improves the ball’s arch, resulting in a better chance of going in.

The ideal angle is at 45 degrees, but only if you’re 7-feet tall with arms 2-feet long, thus only needing a foot more off the ground to improve your shooting percentage. The angle changes when a player is shorter and farther away from the basket. For everyone else, the least effort and most efficient angle are anywhere between 47 to 52 degrees.