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A basketball player attempting a free throw has two parameters under his or her control: the angle of elevation and the force with which the ball is thrown. We compute upper and lower bounds for the initial velocity for suitable values of the angle of elevation, generating a subset
of the configuration space of all successful free throws. A computer-assisted search of this configuration space yields a free throw shot most forgiving of error hence optimal.
The College Mathematics Journal is designed to enhance classroom learning and stimulate thinking regarding undergraduate mathematics. CMJ publishes articles, short Classroom Capsules, problems, solutions, media reviews and other pieces. All are aimed at the college mathematics curriculum with emphasis on topics taught in the first two years.