Perception at the Basketball Hoop: Finding my Shot

Posted on May 19, 2009 by


When I go to a park with a basketball hoop and a court, I play one of two games: 1) basketball 2) soccer-basketball/footketball/basket soccer.

The first game, self-explanatory. Basketball. That’s what people normally do when they go to the basketball court.

The second game, probably makes people wonder what I’m doing, unrestrained, without a straitjacket and/or adult supervision. This is a game that is mostly solitary and involves me kicking a soccer ball to try and get it in the basketball hoop. Easy-sounding enough, perhaps slightly socially unacceptable looking in physical observation especially with my dearth of soccer skills and most especially if there are people looking to play basketball.

Perception During Basketball

Basketball is an intensely social game. I play with friends, or whoever happens to be on a court. In the social game, there are different roles to be played; I navigate the role of super-passing, rebounding point guard. Unless the team I have doesn’t have any other options and I get lay-ups, I generally don’t like to take shots at the basket, which is kind of self-limiting and dumb.

Within the context of a basketball game, sometimes, my perception of the hoop  is of this very remote small, but very tall hole, which would take magic to get the ball in. It feels like an exercise in breaking bricks with skull.  That’s usually when I’m struggling.

And then sometimes, every shot looks mighty attractive.  The ball seems like it wants to go in, and so I take a tremendous leap of faith and hoist it up there.

Michael Jordan once commented on one of his awesome shooting displays that sometimes the basket is this really big bucket.  NBA Commentators talk about how long-distance shooters ala Ray Allen and Ben Gordon need to “find their shots”, as if their shots are lost items.  Finding shots seems to imply that once the item, the made shot, is located they can be used over and over. But the cost is sifting through a bunch of missed shots, which could be damaging to the team.

Sorry to say that I’m not MJ, Ray Allen, Ben Gordon and try as I might I’ve never had one of those feelings or perceptions during a game.  My shot is not something to be found;  it lives on in scarcity.

Perception During Soccer-Basketball

Now, the game is still about getting the ball in the hoop, just that I’m kicking the ball in instead of tossing it in with my hands.  I play this on an empty basketball court.

With this game, there’s a big difference in how I look at the basket.  I generally don’t expect to make as many shots kicking than I do using arms and hands, but I expect to make exactly 18 shots each time I go out and play.  15 shots usually with my right foot, the final 3 shots with my left.

Sometimes the shots go in one after another;  like I could be in the circus after Andre the Seal.  Sometimes, they just don’t, but I hold firm to the idea that I’m eventually going to get my 18 shots made.  It’s a matter of “finding the shot”, which means finding the right angles and generating the correct rhythm in my legs.

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