Monday, April 3, 2017

9. Rational extremist

Think of how useful it would be - I’m just thinking aloud here – how useful it would be to choose exactly what memories to remember and what to forget.  What to reinforce and what to undo from existing in your mind.  Every bad memory banished, every blessing polished.  It would be a form of extremism certainly, but if done right, it could be a kind of superpower, couldn’t it? 

The obvious benefit of such an ability would be an overwhelming amount of confidence.  If you could forget or selectively diminish your failures, you’d think that you had proportionately a lot more success than failure, justifying your confidence.  Would your newfound confidence lead you to have more success or would it just make you dangerously overconfident?

My shot starts from my calves.  My heels should be off the floor, a slight forward lean.  The ball is held mostly in my off-hand, with my off-arm having very little tension.  My shooting wrist is minimally flexed and the ball is held lightly.  The ball is pumped down forcefully in time to the bend in my knees before rising into my shooting pocket.  My shooting wrist flexes more extensively rolling the ball up to position just above my forehead.  There is a feeling of alignment between my hip, my shoulder, my elbow and my wrist and a pushing motion in my pecs and triceps driving the ball up like a shot-put.  My off-wrist pops and snaps off the ball as my shooting wrist extends forward towards the basket.  There is a coordination between the extension of my calves, knee, and wrist.

The difference between the rhythm of this sequence in alignment and balance and this rhythm out of sequence out of alignment and out of balance is stark.  Like breathtakingly stark.  When the rhythm and sequence and alignment is in sync, I feel like I have control of the shot to within probably four or five inches at 15 feet away.  When anything is out of wack, I can tell that its out of wack but I have no idea whether the ball will be long or short.  It really is akin to shooting versus shooting in the dark: it’s like I can see the basket, but I can’t feel it.  It feels like I have no idea where the basket is.

Now what would happen if I couldn’t help but remember the feeling of my shot and the feeling of knowing where the basket is?  If I had no memory of something being out of alignment?  I spent 40 minutes shooting badly on Tuesday, another 20 minutes shooting poorly today before putting it back together: more pressure from the off-hand, more flex in my wrist in the shooting pocket.  But couldn’t that time have been saved if I could only remember shooting the one way?

I tell myself that the bad shots and the misses are necessary: one less miss for when it counts.  But each miss shot is the memory of having missed.  It’s the memory of the possibility of missing.  Missing is good for your muscle memory – it improves through both the trial and the error.  But to the conscious mind, the rational mind, missing is bad.  Missing becomes more than a possibility; it becomes an option and then a reality.

Confidence makes courage possible.  Confidence comes from familiarity, the readily available memory of capability.  Familiarity is simply mushin and rhythm – what you do without thinking. But sometimes that memory is so far away, so elusive.  The memory of missing is sometimes much more available.


I don't generally take breaks from my measured nature.  I don't really explore extremes.  I've never really been terribly good at being obsessive.  I should try it out considering I talk about visiting extremes as a means to find actual balance.