Sunday, June 26, 2016

Why Dawson Dominated/ Or What Noah Can Teach Us About Shooting

Another year of camp is in the books! Friday concluded eighteen years of WCS All-Star Basketball Camps for me. By my estimate, I've worked ninety sessions; each week has morning and afternoon sessions, fifteen hours in duration apiece. A little math reveals that is 1,350 hours total since June of 1999. I enjoyed it as always but I was glad when it ended so I can focus on preparing for my mission to Vietnam, nine days off. The morning session with younger kids is much harder that the afternoon where the campers are older, more mature, and fifty percent female which makes a BIG difference! Our camp director, Trey Austin, lets me start out with a joke of the day both in the AM and the PM. The comedy fell into two camps this summer; sheep jokes and pirate jokes. Here is a sampling!
Why did the policeman give the sheep a ticket? He was a baaaaad driver!
What do you call a pirate with two legs, two hand, and two eyes? A beginner!

I always tell the kids these are intelligent jokes and I would know they were smart if they laughed. Not all comprehended that correlation! Here's another joke that has some bearing on camp and my topic tonight!
Why was Noah the first pirate? Because he built the AAARRRK!
Like I said, my brand of humor is an acquired taste!

But the Noah punchline actually is a camp topic although in its homonym form, arc. We aren't talking about the three point line but the trajectory of one's shot at the basket. Outside of my high school coach, Dale Neal, the biggest influence in my basketball theology has been the late Don Meyer, a fellow Nebraskan and proponent of the 60 degree arc when shooting. Some coaches teach a 45 degree arc with the argument being a ball shot at 60 degrees has to travel a greater distance, a valid point. When I give my  free throw clinic, I recall a quote about UCLA's Lynn Shackelford's shot being so pretty, it was like dropping rocks in a well. I add that I loved doing that at my Grandpa Chesshir's well in Arkansas.... and I never missed, likening it to having a target right over the front of the rim. If I could have shot basketballs like I dropped those rocks, UNSTOPPABLE!

Since it was a shooting camp, we spent a good deal of time on form. Our afternoon kids did great. One of my middle school players, Haley, made 24 shots in a row on what we call grooving our shot, or dropping the ball right over the rim from close range, harking back to the well example. Our morning boys did OK until we added the basket to the equation. Making the shot becomes paramount and most attempts at form go out the window. Even though we shoot on lowered goals with smaller basketballs, it's hard for most youngsters to legitimately shoot until they are about fifth graders. Having the ball go in the basket overrides much of the deliberate work we put into teaching the basics. The good news is that many of them, hopefully, will remember when they are older.

That brings us to Dawson, who I mentioned in a blog two weeks ago. A bashful five year old WCS student, Dawson loves dinosaurs and invited me to come to his house to see his collection of 1,000! Dawson has a basketball issue. He isn't very big and the only way he could get to the basketball to the rim when we began shooting was underhanded, AKA granny style, or ala Rick Barry. But the result was about a 60 degree arc and Dawson being our most accurate camp shooter, borne out by his winning several shooting contests. I heard some of the older kids object because of Dawson's style and obviously he can't shoot that way from the floor when actually playing basketball. He was oblivious to their protestations and just excited the ball went through the cylinder. And guess what? Dawson made it simple and it worked for him. He wasn't affected by what others thought or said or by being the smallest little boy in the gym; he just likes to shoot! We can learn so much from the youngest among us. Jesus blessed/healed/praised/resurrected children. Jesus also was a child and fed 5,000 from a child's lunch. The Savior was all about those who were most recently knit together in the their mother's wombs as David would say. So Dawson unknowingly being a shooting savant? No big deal. In fact, it was just child's play. Just ask Noah.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Me shooting 40% at the free throw line is just God's way of saying nobody's perfect."
Shaquille O'Neal

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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