December 10, 2008
Back during my Cal days, my teammates and I were particularly mean to people who had free throw problems. Coach Braun was a stickler when it came to practicing free throws and thus set many consequences for not achieving free throw goals in practice. It may have been a suicide or abs or early morning free throws with the assistant coach.
I do remember one specific instance when the Spaniard on our team, Jordi Geli, had missed almost every free throw he attempted that day in practice. He was told to stay until he made ten in a row. It would seem easy enough, but for Jordi, this was going to be serious.
I had time to get ice on my knees, shower up, change, and eat my post practice meal before walking back through the gym doors to see Jordi with a team manager about to hit shot 10 out of 10. I yelled out "Hey! Wait! Stop!" He bricked the free throw that would have sent him home. He then turned and looked at me the way Mr. Bennet looked at Sylar before he killed him.
Anyways, this kind of distraction had become so commonplace that nothing could distract us from missing a free throw (at least not in practice). That was until Gabe Hughes did something I never thought I'd see a seven-footer do. One day, while David Paris was about to shoot, Gabe put his hands behind his back and asked: "Have you ever seen a fish out of water?"
He then shook his shoulders, then his hips, then his knees, and jumped off the ground, wriggling his body just like a fish. David's shot was nowhere close to the rim. It was a straight up air-ball. That day the fish-out-of-water distraction move was created.
Here in France, we compete during free throws all the time. We play a game where if you swish your free throw, you get three points, if it hits rim, you get one, and if you miss, you get negative three. The game goes to seven. People tried different distraction moves, but none of them were very effective. That is, until I asked them one simple question: "Have you ever seen a fish out of water?"
The following video is of myself in a free throw shooting competition with my teammate Michel Morandais, complete with utilization of the fish–out-of-water distraction move.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad and former D-Leaguer who plays for SLUC Nancy, the reigning French league champion. When he's not busy cheating, he blogs one or two times a week on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.