Mind Over Sports


Posted on: October 12, 2012

In the 1930’s, a young man named Hank Luisetti changed the game of basketball forever by inventing the “one handed jump shot.” He shot the ball with one hand while he hung in the air, in stark contrast to the two-handed set shots or hook shots that were commonly attempted in those days. Luisetti attended Stanford University and on January 1, 1938, became the first player to score 50 points in a single game.

I’ve been watching women’s basketball games for many years now, including high school, college and the pros, and have yet to see a female athlete use the one-handed jump shot correctly. It’s true that some use the jump shot but it’s not a true jump shot since they don’t float in the air but rather jump as they are shooting it (thus the name). A more appropriate name might be a “jumping shot.”

I was trying to figure out why and it dawned on me that when they are very young (perhaps 12 or 13 years old) and first introduced to the game, it is assumed that women have weaker wrist action than boys and as a result no one had shown them how to shoot it.  In addition, many young girls today seem to “launch” the ball when shooting a 3-point shot.  They “launch” it by holding it off to one side of their head, almost resting on their shoulder.

So my question is, why aren’t young girls today being taught how to shoot the one-handed jump shot correctly?   And why are they being taught to launch a ball from their shoulder?   I personally don’t believe it’s a matter of having “weaker wrist action.”  Perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look at the basketball fundamentals being taught in our schools to young female athletes.   And who knows, there might be a “Henrietta Luisetti” out there somewhere just waiting to introduce a true one-handed jump shot (where she floats in the air) in a women’s game.




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