I created one other offensive platform, the “100 Shot Challenge”. Tired of watching players not work on their game, miss open shots and spend more time in the weight room than shooting the ball left me pondering. How can I help provide a solution for players to become better shooters?
First 100 shot challenge started July 2013 when I challenged myself to make 100 15 footers every day in July. I set out to make 100 shots each day and test this muscle memory notion I learned from Austin and George Lehman as a Kay Yow Camper decades ago. I commitment to the task and wanted to inspire others to do the same to help our game. I gave little inspiration but received more from coaches around the country that loved the challenge/incentive and the reasons I took my game to my driveway.
This July 2014, I added an element of time to the “100 shot challenge.” I also wore a different college shirt to shoot my shots and issued direct challenge to that team. How fast could I make 100 15 footers between the elbows, 1 ball, 1 rebounder? How would my time stack up against the best college players? If I recorded a good time, would it motivate or humiliate because of my experience (I played before all of them were born). I had to go 2-a-days to keep up with the shirts I received in the mail from coaches that wanted their teams included. Fun right?
Muscle memory is real but I already knew that. I put in my time “back in the day” into proper technique and practice. I charted a time. On July 7, 2014 with my husband Frank on the stopwatch and former NC State player Marissa Kastanek as my rebounder, I made 100 of 104 in 5:32. That’s not embarrassing! I made the first 35 in a row before missing. July 1st I picked up the ball for the first time in months and renewed this challenge. 7 days later I recorded a respectable time. Katie McCormick, Georgetown (5:07) Kari Korver at UCLA (5:15) and Morgan Eye at Missouri (5:30) beat my time. Princeton had 3 players come in under 6 minutes! I was relieved someone beat my time as the times that were coming in were over 7 minutes. Shooting is the most important fundamental. Where are the shooters? Why don’t we have more shooters in this great game?
Should players be inspired by my time? What’s in question and what am I missing? Is it their shooting form, rebounder, footwork or is it something completely missing in their work ethic, their drive, their focus? It was a simple challenge. It wasn’t a conditioning or a strength test but it measured the most important skill in our game, shooting! Shooting leads to scoring. Do we expect our game to grow, draw fans and media if we don’t become better offensive players?
Is shooting the ball the solution? YES! PRACTICE!
I spent 8 years at Kentucky and Ohio State as the Director of Marketing with responsibility for promoting women’s basketball at both. What hasn’t changed in 3 decades is the need to market and grow the game. If we want to grow the game by attendance, we must grow the product. We want packed gyms. How do we achieve? If you go to my 4 Ps of Basketball Economics, the answer to this marketing and economic crossroads is the PRODUCT. Our PRODUCT will grow and get better when we commit to PRACTICE and becoming better offensive players. Better shooters lead to better scorers, more excitement in the game, more fans. I’m not interested in a fancy promotion, ticket price or best practices. How you are rewarding the fans with the product? Product comes first. Consumers will pay if they like the product, style of play and personalities of the players. I want a dramatic shift in our game. Limit the time in the weight room and switch the hours to the court so we can call more players shooters. Make the game more offensive and less physical. On television, remove the stats and highlights at halftime and pre-produce features on coaches and players highlighting IQ, personalities and intensity in the game. Incentivize the coaches for offense not academics!
Side bar: I find it interesting we are following FIBA in the way our game is structured. I thought USA invented basketball with Dr. Naismith’s 13 rules of play. We often discuss the “European Players or the European way to play” as the style that references those players as skilled in passing, shooting, facing up no matter their size. How did our rule book get so large? We are quick to blame the refs but there are some officials that work harder than some coaches and players at their craft. Let’s make sure we continue to get the unnecessary physical out of our game.
Have we reached the tipping point and its UCONN and no one else? Will someone challenge Geno to keep the season interesting? You have to score with UCONN to beat them. You have to make shots. I challenge players to shoot game shots at game speed. You can make a difference in your own game and your teams results. Be part of the solution by getting in the gym and working on your offensive game. PLEASE PRACTICE!
I hope 100 players beat my time next summer. No reason why they shouldn’t!