Acoustic Information from Basketball Courts


I came across an article on ANSI standards that had an interesting human factors anecdote. Thought I would share:

It seems that a critical part any basketball game is the wood flooring, something which the fans generally take for granted, but not so the players. Basketball floors are highly engineered surfaces, made of three-quarter inch thick tongue-and-groove northern hard maple, laid on plywood and supported by sleepers. One manufacturer of the flooring, Robbins Sport Surfaces of Cincinnati, Ohio, even sells a floor that controls its acoustics so the sound of a bouncing ball is more uniform across the surface. A variation in the sound of the bounce could lead players to incorrectly assume there is a dead spot while running down the court for that winning lay up.

Are there other examples of surprising information sources in sports?

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About Anne McLaughlin

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

3 Responses to Acoustic Information from Basketball Courts

  1. Ariel May 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Here’s a great breakdown of how sprints are started and timed in the Olympics. In an event where every milisecond counts, it takes a concoction of lasers, cameras, guns, and speakers to try and ensure each runner get their cue to start running at the same time.

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