Dr. James Naismith was the inventor of the game of basketball in 1891 at a time when machinery inventions were in their infancy. The concept of a basketball shooting machine couldn’t be further from Naismith’s mind as he mounted his peach basket in a gym in Springfield, Massachusetts.
As the game evolved over the next one hundred (100) years or so there were many sporting inventions along the way that made the game faster, more technically accurate and exciting. Most notably were the basketball itself and the hoop and backboard system.
When Naismith invented basketball there was no local sporting goods store that he could visit to buy a basketball; so, he did the next best thing, he used a soccer ball with his peach basket setup (pictured). A hole was hit out in the bottom of the peach basket and it was mounted 10 feet above the floor – a distance that is still used today. According to Wikipedia, the first purpose-built basketballs were made from panels of leather stitched together with a rubber bladder inside. A cloth lining was added to the leather for support and uniformity. A molded version of the early basketball was invented in 1942. Leather remained the standard material used in the creation of a basketball until the late 1990’s when synthetic composite materials began to be introduced.
The evolution of the hoop after the peach basket involved a myriad of products beginning with the trap door hoop around 1895-6. When a player scored, the referee would pull a string that released the ball from the hoop. The metal rim with netting was introduced around 1901 with wooden backboards becoming mandatory in 1904 which prompted the introduction of layups and rebounds.
In 1909 the first glass backboard was invented and the net bottom was cut allowing the ball to fall through. American Basketball League (ABL) hoops were invented in 1925-31 but did not have the breakaway feature that rims and backboards had today so it was very customary for players to experience shattered backboards after a dunk. Breakaway rims were invented in the 1970’s and are the standard today.
The basketball shooting machine is perhaps one of the most technically important basketball inventions since the 1970’s. When using the basketball shooting machine by Kinisi Sports, The Edge-Max, the shooter can move around the key, practice his or her shooting and have the rebound automatically returned to them. Instead of taking one shot and then chasing the rebound, the athlete can take multiple shots quickly thereby increasing the pace of their learning.
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