Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Stanford University

“Code Red” is a term popularized by the film “A Few Good Men.” In the NFL, specifically the Miami Dolphins, it took the form of hazing (bullying) while team coaches looked the other way.

For those of you who follow my column, you might remember that in November 2011 I recommended that all hazing be discontinued by the NFL. Coaches and team owners, I wrote at the time, should insist that hazing become a thing of the past. These are not young college students; they are mature men playing a violent game and a great deal is at stake in their lives.

Here’s the latest example, as reported on the Internet:

Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito’s harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin included text messages that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation have said. The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin, a second-year pro who graduated from Stanford, is biracial. Incognito, a guard in his ninth NFL season, is white. The 30-year old Incognito has been suspended from the team and the case not only leaves his career in doubt, but an associate professor at the University of Miami School of Law said he could face criminal charges since there’s an indication that some form of extortion was involved.

I believe one of the reasons the Kansas City Chiefs were off to such a slow start during the 2011 season, and played so poorly, was the result of a locker room fight that broke out during preseason between two team members, and it affected team chemistry. The fist fight, according to unnamed sources, was a result of Dwayne Bowe hazing rookie Jon Baldwin. Baldwin would have none of it resulting in a confrontation between the two players. Baldwin fractured his right thumb and because it was in a cast, was unable to play when the season started. There are ways to build team chemistry other than hazing, and in this case, the hazing had the opposite effect for which it was intended.

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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