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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)

    Nelson Free Throws

    No observation or judgement, just an interesting and rather unbelievable fact I found at Foxsports.com:

    Here’s an interesting stat: DeMarcus Nelson has attempted as many free throws (29) as field goals over his past three games. And he’s made one more field goal than free throw.

    -EarlJam

  2. #2
    it's actually easy to believe. you know, dmark does miss some FG's here and there, but he makes a lot of shots out on the floor. but when he goes to the FT line .... well, you'd probably just be better off if you blind-folded shaq and put him on the line.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
    Said it before, Dman loses all connection with the big muscles of his body when he bends his shooting arm beyond 90 degrees. Makes distance control impossible.

    Somebody tell him to watch film of Dollar Bill, who drove his shot from his big muscles (butt and quads) which he allowed to create the momentum to straighten his torso slightly, lift his entire upper frame slightly, which then lead to a straightening of the angles in his arm and wrist through release. Dollar Bill's shot was particularly unusual because of the extent to which he took everything else out of play, made the shot entirely a function of the legs and butt. Created the most simple shooting machine imaginable with the possible exception of Rick Barry's, which no one on the planet would ever get DeMarcus to even think about trying to emulate.

    Would take someone like Demarcus maybe an hour of experimenting to figure out how to construct and operate that machine. It will be very repeatable; we know that because the machine is simple (has so few energy sources--the push into the floor is solely responsible for a series of expanding angles) and because Dollar Bill proved it repeatable. So, if you pick a simple formula and you know that there is an answer, the solution will come.

    Now, there are lots of other ways to shoot repeatably. But this one is simple and proven. He should try it. Or, he can keep bending that arm the way he does (bet a nickle that he developed that style to shoot the 3, and I'm not talking about the college 3 either) and keep guessing how far the ball will fly.

  4. #4
    Great analysis, but it's not just bending the elbow more than 90 degrees... the elbow is also thrust up above his shoulder, so that the angle of his upper arm approaches vertical, and the ball winds up being "slung" from up above and almost behind his head. A mechanical recipe for inconsistency.

  5. #5
    Nelson has been a poor free throw shooter for his entire career at Duke. This year he is shooting 60% whereas his career average is 58%. Personally, I think that his current shooting form is a significant improvement over his form as a freshman. Form is important but I'm convinced that confidence and being able to relax are even more important. Scheyer, Singler, Smith and Paulus are good shooters from the free throw line and I would expect them to be good throughout their career. Henderson, Thomas and McClure are below average free throw shooters and I will be surprised if they improve much over their careers. The player who I can't figure out is King.

    I'm not sure that it is wise to tinker with your form during the season although many who have trouble from the line seem to do so. I watched the Maryland game last night and Osby "bricked" five of five free throws using a technique that looks horrible and is very different from the form he used early in the season. The Terps also have a unique player in Milbourne who has a tough time making a shot beyond two feet but is shooting over 80% from the line.

    gw67

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)
    Quote Originally Posted by gw67 View Post
    I'm not sure that it is wise to tinker with your form during the season although many who have trouble from the line seem to do so. I watched the Maryland game last night and Osby "bricked" five of five free throws using a technique that looks horrible and is very different from the form he used early in the season. The Terps also have a unique player in Milbourne who has a tough time making a shot beyond two feet but is shooting over 80% from the line.

    gw67
    Hee hee hee. You said "Tinker."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
    True story, when I was a senior in high school, our All-County center, a very good friend of mine, was a horrific foul shooter. He had this habbit of putting his left hand in front of the ball when shooting. On short jump shots, he'd let go and it worked, well sort of. He usually just jumped over people.

    Anyway, on foul shots he wouldn't let go and it was truly ugly. One day the coach asked me to work with him, only the coach decided to use a prop. He tied Stein's left arm to his left thigh, giving him enough rope to keep his hand on the ball for a while to guide it, but not to keep it on through the release.

    Suffice it to say that my boy Stein nearly killed the both of us, hanging on through the release while yanking his left leg up in the air like a rocket.

    He took to shooting them underhand, and made two at the end of a quarterfinal game with no time remaining for us to win by one.

    Probably not a good idea to fool with Nelson's shot; definitely would not use no rope.

    Later that year, my boy went on to win the high jump in the Macabea games; when I saw him a few years ago for the first time since college, he gave me a big hug and reminded me of that accomplishment, saying: "You know, you just hugged a guy who was once the highest jumping Jew in the world."

    grey "stories make life that much richer and thanks for listening to mine" beard
    Last edited by greybeard; 01-09-2008 at 03:56 PM. Reason: correct spelling

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh

    word choices

    Quote Originally Posted by EarlJam View Post
    Hee hee hee. You said "Tinker."
    EJ, settle down, he said 'tinker' not 'tinkle'.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inman, SC & Fort Myers, FL
    I don't have the box score, but I guess that Markie did better on free throws tonight.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by mgtr View Post
    I don't have the box score, but I guess that Markie did better on free throws tonight.
    DeMarcus Nelson was 6-7 from the line against Temple. He has now made 42 of 67 attempts or 62.68 percent for the season. The team made over 82% of their attempts from the line.
    Bob Green
    DBR Survivor Football Champion
    2010 & 2016

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Barrie, ON, Canada

    Free Throws

    I've heard a lot of talk lately about college players and their inability to hit free throws at a high percentage. The topic came up again during the Clemson game for obvious reasons.

    Just wanted to add my two cents. I do remember the early 90's when many teams won games because of their ability to get to the line. Heck, Duke ALWAYS made more than their opponents attempted. This was due in large part to an emphasis on the post game but percentages were higher across D1 throughout.

    I don't see the percentage drop as a lack of commitment to practice for most players as it was mentioned during the Clemson game. As a high school player myself, I was a good outside shooter but struggled to maintain a 70% average from the stripe. I felt a lot of pressure when alone on the line and tended to push the ball and would leave many shots long. In a game situation I could knock down jumpers from 15 feet much more effectively because I didn't have to think as much.

    So here's my question, could it be more mental rather than physical? Could players like Hammonds or even Nelson use help from a sport psychologist? When the game is on they react to the situation and shoot when open but at the line they have time to analyze everything.

    Second, the game is much faster than it was during the Hurley era. Seems like many players can't calm themselves or their breathing and focus on putting the ball in the basket. Scheyer is a great example of setting up a routine and calming himself before shooting.

    Just a thought I've had. Would love to hear what you all have to think about the current foul shooting situation.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA.
    I do think that a lot of free-throw shooting is mental. At the same time, I wonder whether kids think about and practice free-throw shooting as much as they did when I was a kid. Our high-school coach used to make us shoot free throws at the end of practice, after suicides, when we were dog-tired. He'd make us each take one shot, one after another, and we couldn't go home until we made 10 in a row. This caused the pressure to go up as the made free-throw count approached ten, thus at least approximating a game-type situation. One evening when we just couldn't seem to get it done, the janitors came in and said we absolutely had to leave the gym. Coach took us outside to the recess hoop, pulled his car over and turned his headlights on so we could see, and we continued to shoot them until we made the 10 in a row.

    Research has shown that free-throw shooting can improve just by mentally practicing; visualizing the shot go through the hoop over and over again. This shows the importance of the mental aspect.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau

    All in the mind and the form

    Perhaps younger players don't see as much value in free throw shooting as in other ways of making points which can be flashier. It takes a lot of practice and discipline to groove accurate foul shooting form so that it truly becomes automatic. Without such dedicated practice which includes the mental side of the shot (concentration, visualization, etc.), there's little chance for developing reliable muscle memory.

    Think back to one of Bill Foster's teams known for having a team average of about making about 80% of their free throws. They didn't just develop that after they got to Duke. They built on the skills they already had.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Exactly. I was/am a pretty darn good FT shooter, and have had the opportunity to coach kids. I always focus on FTs, and I simplify it as much as possible into two things: 1) form and 2) routine. And since kids sometimes aren't strong enough to shoot with proper form, I've found that routine is actually more important. You have to do the same thing, every time. Bounce the ball twice. Take a deep breath. Bounced it again. When you set yourself up the same way, you should find enough of an inner calm (starting to sound like Greybeard now) to let your muscle memory take over.
    Once you're strong enough to shoot with proper form, I've found the key is lining yourself up properly (right foot at the center of the line), making sure to bend your knees, following through and -- this can't be stressed strongly enough -- getting enough arc on the ball. One of my friend's old coaches once told him (and he passed it along to me) that the rim is big enough to fit two basketballs. The higher up you get the ball, the better chance it has of going in.

  15. #15

    Many Pros aren't good either

    Quote Originally Posted by Devil in the Blue Dress View Post
    Perhaps younger players don't see as much value in free throw shooting as in other ways of making points which can be flashier. It takes a lot of practice and discipline to groove accurate foul shooting form so that it truly becomes automatic. Without such dedicated practice which includes the mental side of the shot (concentration, visualization, etc.), there's little chance for developing reliable muscle memory.

    Think back to one of Bill Foster's teams known for having a team average of about making about 80% of their free throws. They didn't just develop that after they got to Duke. They built on the skills they already had.
    You would think a pro would get the best coaching and have nothing but time to work on that phase of their game. Yet I watched TV games and was at a game recently and there were many misses. We have some good free throw shooters on the team and some that struggle. They all get the same coaching, so the difference has to be in the individual, whether it is mental or mechanics.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Deeetroit City

    Arc

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumbo View Post
    I've found the key is ... -- this can't be stressed strongly enough -- getting enough arc on the ball. One of my friend's old coaches once told him (and he passed it along to me) that the rim is big enough to fit two basketballs. The higher up you get the ball, the better chance it has of going in.
    Well ... Actually, increasing the arc of the ball also increases the flight path of the ball and thus increases the total angular error for a given shot - if you are a bit right on a flat shot, you'll be more right on the same shot with higher arc. Further, particularly with kids having problems getting the ball to the rim, trying to get the ball way above the rim will add significantly more error. Last, a ball with a high arc is going to have a greater momentum when reaching the rim and thus bounce more if it hits the rim. Given the presence of the backboard, direction is far more important than arc, as hitting the front or back of the rim will yield many more baskets than hitting either side of the rim. A higher arc will benefit most shooters, as long as they have the strength to achieve consistency and directional accuracy with that higher arc. The other tips are dead on, why can't more players shoot free throws?

    Although, I have often wondered how I would do trying to shoot a late game free throw in front of a hostile crowd such as Cameron. Many players who shoot 90% in practice shoot 60% in games.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau

    Career path and the ball's path

    Quote Originally Posted by Saratoga2 View Post
    You would think a pro would get the best coaching and have nothing but time to work on that phase of their game. Yet I watched TV games and was at a game recently and there were many misses. We have some good free throw shooters on the team and some that struggle. They all get the same coaching, so the difference has to be in the individual, whether it is mental or mechanics.
    Perhaps the career path of many pro basketball players is a key to their lack of interest in mastering free throws. Players who spend little or no time in college somehow seem to me less likely to develop the discipline it takes to learn to shoot free throws well and accurately. While being a good free throw shooter can be as valuable in a close basketball game as being a good kicker can be in a close football game, it's just not FLASHY.

  18. #18

    Free throw shooting

    I recall seeing a team play this year with a FT shooting specialist on staff who was credited for raising the team's % by something like 10 points in the space of a year. I can't remember who it was. After tearing my hair out y'day afternoon (1st half) I checked and was surprised to see the Duke men are shooting better than I imagined: 7/12 in conference, .695. The women are an anemic 10/12, .629. Maybe Duke should open its wallet and put another suit on the bench: a shared resource for the two teams. Maybe Chip Engelland has a few spare cycles...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    You're thinking of Florida State.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau

    Good question

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmymax View Post
    I recall seeing a team play this year with a FT shooting specialist on staff who was credited for raising the team's % by something like 10 points in the space of a year. I can't remember who it was. After tearing my hair out y'day afternoon (1st half) I checked and was surprised to see the Duke men are shooting better than I imagined: 7/12 in conference, .695. The women are an anemic 10/12, .629. Maybe Duke should open its wallet and put another suit on the bench: a shared resource for the two teams. Maybe Chip Engelland has a few spare cycles...
    The same notion came up last night in the section where I sit in Cameron. We talked about "passing the hat" to come up with some cash for this purpose. Since Chip's an alum, if the right person asked he might find time in his schedule.

    I do have a question about the math involved in your post. Where/how did you get the numbers? I can't follow the reasoning.

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