Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 508 - 515   DOI:

Research article
The Relationship of Intra-Individual Release Variability with Distance and Shooting Performance in Basketball
Nathan Slegers , Davin Lee, Grant Wong
Author Information
Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon, USA

Nathan Slegers
✉ Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. George Fox University, 414 N. Meridian St. Newberg, OR, 97132, USA
Publish Date
Received: 10-03-2021
Accepted: 06-06-2021
Published (online): 18-06-2021
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The aim of this study was to investigate the role of release parameter changes within individuals (intra-individual) on basketball shooting performance across both free throws and three-point shots, and identify whether any velocity dependence exists. Twelve male basketball players were recorded shooting seventy-five three-point shots (6.75 m) and fifty free throws (4.19 m). Ball release parameters were estimated by combining an analytic trajectory model including drag, a least squares estimator, and gradient-based release distance compensation. Intra-individual release velocity standard deviations (SD) were found to be significantly smaller across all distances ([0.05-0.13 m/s] when compared to statistics reported by other studies [0.2-0.8 m/s]). Despite an increase in lower body motion and a 24% increase in release velocity (p < 0.001) as shooting distance increased, no increases in intra-individual release velocity or angle SD were observed indicating velocity-dependent changes in release parameters were absent. Shooting performance was found to be strongly correlated to the release velocity SD (r = -0.96, p < 0.001, for three-point shots, and r = -0.88, p < 0.001, for free throws). Release angle SD (1.2 ± 0.24 deg, for three-point shots, and 1.3 ± 0.26 deg, for free throws) showed no increase with distance and unrelated to performance. These findings suggest that velocity-dependent factors have minimal contribution to shooting strategies and an individual’s ability to control release velocity at any distance is a primary factor in determining their shooting performance.

Key words: Throwing, trajectory variability, shooting kinematics, sports biomechanics, release parameter

           Key Points
  • Individual shooting release velocity and angle standard deviations do not increase as distance and lower limb activity increase and remain similar for three-point shots and free throws.
  • Release velocity standard deviation alone accurately predicts shooting performance.
  • Velocity-dependent factors have minimal contribution to basketball shooting strategies.
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