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PURPOSE: The objective was to observe the effect of a simulated defender, in the form of a barrier, on the basketball shot mechanics during a maximal jump free throw shot. It was hypothesized that a jump shot would result in the player increasing wrist flexion and extension thereby having a lower ball release angle when compared to a stationary free-throw shot. METHODS: Experienced male right-hand dominant basketball players (n = 11), ages 21 – 23, who played basketball competitively in high school or college were recruited. Subjects had a height of 185.9 ± 1.8 cm and weight of 82.0 ± 2.6 kg (mean ± SE). Testing consisted of three conditions; the control condition was a free throw shot without jumping (FTNJ), the second condition was a max jump free throw shot without the presence of a barrier (NBMJ), and the third condition was a max jump free throw shot with a barrier obstructing the subject’s vision (BMJ). The barrier was adjusted for each subject such that they would be unable to see the hoop while standing, but during a max jump they would be able to see the hoop. Each subject shot until they completed six made shots from the free throw line for each condition (4.57 meters from the hoop). The elbow and wrist flexion/extension were tracked by an electro goniometer. Each subject had 2 – D motion capture markers placed on the styloid process of the ulna, the acromion of the scapula and the greater tubercle of the humerus. Formulas using motion capture data provided: ball release angle (°), max hip height percent change (%), and wrist height to hip height ratio (cm). A mixed model ANOVA was used to compare means. RESULTS: There was an increase in max hip height percent change (%) between the FTNJ and NBMJ conditions (9.1 ± 1.0% vs. 22.4 ± 2.4%), which was statistically significant (p < .01) and a decrease between the NBMJ and BMJ conditions (22.4 ± 2.4% vs. 29.1 ± 3.5%), which was statistically significant (p < .01). There was a significant negative correlation in the BMJ condition between elbow flexion (deg.) and ball angle (deg.) (r = -0.631), p < .05, elbow range (°) (the difference between flexion and extension) and ball angle (deg.) (r = -0.781), p < .05, and elbow range (deg.) and mean change in max hip height (%) (r = 0.756), p < .05. CONCLUSION: Implementation of the barrier showed that subjects increased their max jump height over the no barrier condition. Shot mechanics did not change between conditions, indicating that the barrier did not alter shooting technique. However, the reported correlations indicate that shot mechanics are related to the jump height. This indicates that it may be beneficial for players to practice shooting at different jump heights to become accustomed to various shot mechanics.

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