Baseline Shorks

August 26, 2009 12:22 PM


If you're the wife or girlfriend of a muscle-head, surfer or biker of any strain, genuine geek-consumer of electronics or (chortle) a soccer player, you'll be spared the dramatic evaluation "I sucked, again" regarding that deeply personal male concern called lousy free throw shooting. It's not going to break any Guy Codes to possibly clue you ladies about this smaller than the bedroom (but potentially related) stroke problem either. In fact, you might consider this info relative to 'Five Minute Great Abs!' because you'll feel show-offy smooth and quietly better, reacting with understated coolness while providing support the guy won't question.

"It just felt weird coming off my hand" is an evaluation that obviously means Mr. Gym Rat is feeling vulnerable. Ladies, when we're riding the testosterone train, returning triumphant and wanting to regale everyone about dynamic drives and rainbow jumpers, all you have to do is accept the three-beer kisses and sweaty manliness and nod. Hopefully your poor shooter isn't a REAL whiner when things aren't going so good.

Bottom line, we hoopsters, and I certainly include myself here, believe free throw shooting is elementally linked to a Universal Cookie Jar-type reward system. Do well at the charity stripe, somehow earn, no *deserve* goodies, from successful dates to free football tickets to new jobs. While I haven't actually had that new job offer drop into the equation after recently re-discovering effective shooting techniques during a just-sneakers-and-shorts-lets-get-this-right-again session, that doesn't mean I don't feel its due me.

Fifteen feet, up and in is the simple reality. Especially with any 'small white guard' tag attached, making free throws was integral to playing during all formative years. Those extra points are supposedly gravy, playing with house money, a piece of cake, punishing opponents for hacking the wrong guy. All kidding aside, foul shooting is a legitimate point of pride and extremely fair way of judging oneself 'better'--its really not JUST foul shooting.

Free throw stooting is at a premium in '21', Rochester, and often while picking teams--miss early and obviously you don't play. I got traded to the light shirt team for missing Monday night, I've had nights where I sat out three times. In '21', scoring a couple each turn, or (sweetness!) nailing eight consecutive shots to close another player out, means they get fewer chances to beat you. 'Rochester' features everyone-for-themselves play, where making baskets allows up to three unguarded foul shots. 7-8-9 extra points from there means less whacking heads with four other dudes for your scores. Miss your '21-plus-one' finale though, you go back to 15. Its safe to say that everybody has missed a couple at clutch time, and negative consequences usually follow. Do it a lot, it gets you pissed at yourself.

Truthfully, few guys are actually snake bite 80% shooters, not even me. I bust on Shaq, but I also cheer when he rips nine straight; Syracuse as a team traditionally sucks, and I have no use for that at all. FYI ladies--Joining your man in "I shoulda beat those guys twice BUT..." pity parties contributes less than a three-chardonnay lunch, and while reading this affords insight to YOU, neither you or his Momma can make foul shots for Sweet Cheeks.

Three things can be helpful in the overall scheme of things. First, anyone can ask just how lousy lousy was and listen; venting is gender neutral. Gym Rat lost some tight Rochesters again, or had to sit out a couple? Uhh-huh babe, or sorry to hear that bro is all you need to say, no problem keeping an eye on that new LOST episode or the EWT match either. Offering to shag misses for half an hour is exceptional, and guys, if your lady does this for you, let her know its Angel Face time. Its worth a beer when your bud does it, whatever she wants if she closes the lap top and works with you.

Should anyone know a guy with a blacksmith's touch though, here's a solid fix-it suggestion. The fact is, most high percentage shooters come to a check or stopping point before their release. Its less about rhythm or three bounces, more about flex the knees, bring the ball to eye or above head level and hold a moment, follow through motion with arms and fingertips vs. toss and stop immediately.

Just my little contribution to making this a better world.
Glenn S.

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