# What is the best shape for a soccer goal post?

You are selecting from distributions over sets that include only shots that hit the posts.
But our selection depends on what value we choose for ##D## (see post #124) and if we chose ##D## to be large enough then it would also include the cases where the ball didn't hit the post.
If you select a more inclusive outline that encompasses the entirety of both post outlines then you can find a distribution over a set of shots that intersect with that outline. That distribution can be identical for both posts. Then you can do an apples to apples comparison of which of those shots go in and which do not.
Isn't setting the same constant value of ##D## for the probability calculation of both posts a like to like comparison?

Just tell me whether my this conclusion is correct or not?
both posts are equivalent as long as a shot's angle with the goal line is between (0,π) and distance from the center of the post is less than or equal to |D|

haruspex
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Now, if we want to compare the posts we can take the value of D=S##\sqrt 2##=R (as it doesn't matter what value of D we take as long as its larger than or equal to S##\sqrt 2##=R)
No. It doesn’t matter what D is as long as it exceeds both S##\sqrt 2## and R. This is independent of the relationship between S and R.
You are specifically interested in the case S=R (and it turns out that in that case the probabilities are the same). So choose D##\geq S\sqrt 2=R\sqrt 2##.
But our selection depends on what value we choose for D (see post #124) and if we chose D to be large enough then it would also include the cases where the ball didn't hit the post.
Yes. It is not possible to compare the posts correctly without allowing some cases where one of the posts would be missed. This is because no matter what the relative values of S and R are there will be trajectories that would miss one post and hit the other.
Isn't setting the same constant value of D for the probability calculation of both posts a like to like comparison?
Yes, but if you insist on only considering trajectories that hit a post then you will not be using constant D.
Even just looking at the square post, if you restrict attention to shots that hit the post then you will be considering more trajectories at 45 degrees than at any other angle. That distorts the distribution, making 45 degree angles relatively more likely.

No. It doesn’t matter what D is as long as it exceeds both S2 and R. This is independent of the relationship between S and R.
You are specifically interested in the case S=R (and it turns out that in that case the probabilities are the same). So choose D≥S2=R2.
I need a numerical value of ##D## because that will give us a number, i.e., if ##D=R=6cm## then we get 18% chance as calculated in post #124 instead of getting just that the probability in square and round post are equal, we get that probability in square and round post are equal which is equal to 0.1816 which is better
Yes, but if you insist on only considering trajectories that hit a post then you will not be using constant D.
Even just looking at the square post, if you restrict attention to shots that hit the post then you will be considering more trajectories at 45 degrees than at any other angle. That distorts the distribution, making 45 degree angles relatively more likely.
I now understand that if I restrict the shots to hit the post then that will be an unfair comparison of the two posts, but as I said earlier that if I just fix the value of ##D## then wouldn't that be a fair comparison?

e.g., say that I fix the value of ##d## to range from ##-3.66m## (which is the distance from one post to the midpoint of the goal) to ##+41.34m## (which is the distance from one post to the corner flag) then I get (using ##R=S=0.06m##)

##P(square)=\frac 1{45\pi}\int_0^\pi 3.66-0.06\sqrt 2\cos(\frac{\pi}4-\theta)d\theta=0.08048##

##P(round)=\frac 1{45\pi}\int_0^\pi(3.66-0.06\cos(\frac\theta 2))d\theta=0.08048##

Then can I say that the chance of any shot hit within the legal area of play has an 8% chance of going in for both the posts?

Also, I have another doubt,

Say if I set the value of ##D=R## in the round post, then it should mean that now I'm considering only the shots that hit the round post, so now I get the probability of a shot hitting the round post going in as

##P(round)=\dfrac{D\pi-2R}{2D\pi}=0.18##

But that seems logically incorrect as this probability must be atleast 0.25 (as any shot hitting sector AB {see the second diagram in post #1} must go in). What is wrong here?

haruspex
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this probability must be atleast 0.25 (as any shot hitting sector AB {see the second diagram in post #1} must go in).
No, that was incorrect. With D=R, the probability of going in is ##1-\cos(\theta/2)##. Sketch 1-cos. It rises quadratically at first.
As regards hitting sector AB, that won't even start to happen until ##\theta=\pi/2##, and again it is quite unlikely to begin with. The overall probability of hitting that sector is ##\frac 1\pi\int_0^{\pi/2}(1-\cos(\theta)).d\theta=\frac 14-\frac 1{2\pi}##. (Exactly half the total probability of going in.)

As regards hitting sector AB, that won't even start to happen until ##\theta=\pi/2##, and again it is quite unlikely to begin with. The overall probability of hitting that sector is ##\frac 1\pi\int_0^{\pi/2}(1-\cos(\theta)).d\theta=\frac 14-\frac 1{2\pi}##. (Exactly half the total probability of going in.)
I am thinking with a different model, consider all possible shots that hit the post, now the probability that a shot hits the sector AB is ##\frac14##, right? the whole post is divided into 4 quarters and hitting any one of these quarter is equally likely? correct?

Now back to your model, we again considered all possible paths that hit the post (by stetting the ranges of ##d## from ##-R## to ##R##), then still of all these paths the chance that one of them ends up at sector AB has to ##\frac14## right? again the post can be divided into 4 quarters and each path should be equally likely to end up at any one quarter I cannot understand why won't it?

I am thinking with a different model, consider all possible shots that hit the post, now the probability that a shot hits the sector AB is ##\frac14##, right? the whole post is divided into 4 quarters and hitting any one of these quarter is equally likely? correct?

Now back to your model, we again considered all possible paths that hit the post (by stetting the ranges of ##d## from ##-R## to ##R##), then still of all these paths the chance that one of them ends up at sector AB has to ##\frac14## right? again the post can be divided into 4 quarters and each path should be equally likely to end up at any one quarter I cannot understand why won't it?
Why is the model I'm talking about a subset of your model? for ##R \gt d \gt -R## aren't both the models equivalent?

haruspex
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the post, now the probability that a shot hits the sector AB is 1/4, right?
Wrong.
If the shots could come equally likely around the whole 360 degrees you would be right, but for the 180 degrees allowed the sector AB is more to the rear than to the front, so the probability must be less than 1/4.

Wrong.
If the shots could come equally likely around the whole 360 degrees you would be right, but for the 180 degrees allowed the sector AB is more to the rear than to the front, so the probability must be less than 1/4.
Okay, I think now I understand (but still it doesn't feel right)

Anyway, let me ask one final thing, for a given post round or square, ##\dfrac{D\pi-2S}{2D\pi}=\dfrac{D\pi-2R}{2D\pi}## is the probability of a shot that is hit within the semicircular area of radius ##D## going in goal assuming the other post to be at ##-\infty##? haruspex
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Okay, I think now I understand (but still it doesn't feel right)

Anyway, let me ask one final thing, for a given post round or square, ##\dfrac{D\pi-2S}{2D\pi}=\dfrac{D\pi-2R}{2D\pi}## is the probability of a shot that is hit within the semicircular area of radius ##D## going in goal assuming the other post to be at ##-\infty##?
View attachment 287821
No, that won't give a uniform distribution for d, so it will be a different result.
E.g. treating the post as a point, if the ball comes from a point at angle theta around the arc it has probability ##\frac \theta{2\pi}## of scoring, giving a total of 1/4. For the distribution we used before, setting the post to a point makes the probability 1/2.

treating the post as a point, if the ball comes from a point at angle theta around the arc it has probability θ/2π of scoring, giving a total of 1/4.
I didn't get how you did this?

Also if that is not how we can think of this probability then what is the physical meaning of the probability that we calculated?

haruspex
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I didn't get how you did this?

Also if that is not how we can think of this probability then what is the physical meaning of the probability that we calculated?
If the ball comes from ##(D,\theta)## in polar then, of the whole ##2\pi## range of angles it can go in, only a sector of angle width ##\theta## is headed for the goal. The probability of a goal is therefore ##\frac \theta{2\pi}##. Integrating, the overall probability is ##\frac 1\pi\int_0^\pi\frac \theta{2\pi}.d\theta=\frac 14##.

The probability we calculated before is what I defined it to be: the probability of a goal if the angle of the trajectory is uniformly distributed over its legal range ##(\pi)## and its displacement from the centre of the post is uniformly distributed over (-D,D).
Changing it to the shot being made from an arc of radius D, uniformly distributed along the arc, leads to a different distribution of trajectories and a different probability.

I note that throughout this thread you have not really understood the importance of clearly defining the assumed distribution. This is fundamental to dealing with probabilities.

If the ball comes from ##(D,\theta)## in polar then, of the whole ##2\pi## range of angles it can go in, only a sector of angle width ##\theta## is headed for the goal. The probability of a goal is therefore ##\frac \theta{2\pi}##. Integrating, the overall probability is ##\frac 1\pi\int_0^\pi\frac \theta{2\pi}.d\theta=\frac 14##.

The probability we calculated before is what I defined it to be: the probability of a goal if the angle of the trajectory is uniformly distributed over its legal range ##(\pi)## and its displacement from the centre of the post is uniformly distributed over (-D,D).
Changing it to the shot being made from an arc of radius D, uniformly distributed along the arc, leads to a different distribution of trajectories and a different probability.

I note that throughout this thread you have not really understood the importance of clearly defining the assumed distribution. This is fundamental to dealing with probabilities.
I think that you assumed that a shot is hit from a point on the arc of a semicircle of radius ##D## but I meant that a shot hit from any point in the area of the semicircle of radius ##D##, because now we see that ##\theta## is uniformly distributed in ##(0,\pi)## and ##d## (displacement form the center of the post) is uniformly distributed in ##(-D,D)##.

haruspex
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I meant that a shot hit from any point in the area of the semicircle of radius D,
That's different again. And it's messier because now there are three degrees of freedom to integrate over instead of two.

That's different again. And it's messier because now there are three degrees of freedom to integrate over instead of two.
But only ##d## and ##\theta## are variable, what do you mean by 3 degrees of freedom?

I just want to visualise the probability, saying that "this is the probability when the path of the ball is such that ##d## and ##\theta## are uniformly distributed over ##(-D,D)## and ##(0,\pi)## respectively" doesn't give me any hint about what is happening physically. Saying that "this is the probability when the path of the ball is always intersected in a semicircular area of radius ##D##" gives a much better understanding of how the ball is hit.

haruspex
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But only ##d## and ##\theta## are variable, what do you mean by 3 degrees of freedom?
If the ball is coming at angle theta from a uniform distribution of points in the semicircle then there are two degrees of freedom just to specify the point.

If the ball is coming at angle theta from a uniform distribution of points in the semicircle then there are two degrees of freedom just to specify the point.
Yes, but isn't it correct that for a given point in that semicircular area, there is only one path possible that passes through that point and is perpendicular to the origin

haruspex
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Yes, but isn't it correct that for a given point in that semicircular area, there is only one path possible that passes through that point and is perpendicular to the origin
Perpendicular to a point? What does that mean?
Why can't I pick any point in the semicircle and any angle from that point that's in the 180 degree range?

Perpendicular to a point? What does that mean?
Sorry I meant, perpendicular to the line joining that point and origin

Why can't I pick any point in the semicircle and any angle from that point that's in the 180 degree range?
For every point you pick we can define a unique line which is perpendicular to the line joining that point and origin

I was trying to define the equation of the line in parametric form with a given slope and given distance (perpendicular distance) from origin

haruspex