Tag Archives: basketball

Seeing The World Through Tony Parker’s Eyes

via Axon Sports

After the San Antonio Spurs clinched their trip to the NBA Finals on Monday night, Tim Duncan was asked to describe the contributions of his point guard, Tony Parker.  “Every year he just gets better and better and better,” he commented to the press. “I told him I’m just riding his coattails.”  High praise indeed from a four-time NBA champion and 14-time All-Star. Duncan’s remarks add to the growing opinion that Parker is the best postseason point guard in NBA history.  Whether its his scoring touch, 37 points in Game 4 against Memphis, or his vision on the court, a career best 18 assists in Game 2, Parker has the ability …

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Steve Nash And The Imaginary Free Throw

via Axon Sports

Every time Steve Nash goes to the foul line, he shoots five or six free throws. Sure, there’s the two that really count, but the NBA’s all-time free throw percentage leader always takes several imaginary shots before getting the ball.  He says it helps him not only visualize the ball going through the net but also gets his brain and body prepped for the upcoming motor skill.  After almost 3,400 regular season attempts, his 90.4% success rate seems to work, even if Dwight Howard isn’t interested. Actually, this “dry run” motor imagery is a well-used technique across several sports.  Golfers always take the imaginary swing or putt before stepping up to …

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Basketball And The BAM Project

via Axon Sports

Imagine an NCAA basketball coach trying to create a game plan for their first March Madness game with absolutely no video footage of their upcoming opponent.  Sure, he has their roster with player names, height/weight and positions.  He also has a set of specific stats that show the performance of each player and the team during the season.  Yet, there is no opportunity to see the team play as a unit, how they move the ball, or their communication.  The resulting game strategy would be full of educated guesses and assumptions based on just the macro picture of the roster and the micro world of data and statistics. Welcome to the …

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March Madness Fans Have Selective Memories

via Axon Sports

Depending on who you talk to, there are different definitions of something called, “The Shot” in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  To North Carolina fans, its Michael Jordan’s game winning jumper in the 1982 final, while to Hoosier fans, its Keith Smart’s 16-foot swish with under 10 seconds to go in 1988. But Christian Laettner’s last second turnaround game winner in the 1991 regional final over Kentucky is forever etched into the memories of Duke fans. Do those same rabid supporters remember the crucial missed shots from their heroes over the years?  Neuroscience researchers at Duke University wanted to find out so they tested the memories of some …

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There are no such thing as hot streaks

via Axon Sports

Over at his blog, The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer has a post that references one of the most interesting and baffling studies on athletes ever performed.  In 1985, Amos Taversky and Thomas Gilovich, two absolute giants in the field of cognitive psychology, looked at the shooting performance of the Philadelphia 76er’s, the Boston Celtics and the Cornell University men’s basketball team to see if what had happened over a player’s previous shots had any future, predictive effect on his next shot–are players on a shooting streak more likely to stay on that streak? Here’s what they found: Over 90% of basketball fans believe that a player has a better chance of …

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Jazz, basketball, and are great athletes geniuses?

via Axon Sports

Jonah Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex has an interesting piece on the similarities in the types of reactive intelligence exhibited by athletes and jazz musicians. In it, he asks why, culturally, we don’t think of great athletes or improvisiational musicians as geniuses on the same level as mathematicians or symphony composers. Here’s Lehrer on the neuroscience of basketball players and jazz musicians: The rebounding experiment went like this: 10 basketball players, 10 coaches and 10 sportswriters, plus a group of complete basketball novices, watched video clips of a player attempting a free throw. (You can watch the videos here.) Not surprisingly, the professional athletes were far better at predicting whether or …

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