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Sympathy For The Shooter

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You know when you're watching a tight game and you can just 'feel' a 3-ball or free throw is going to splash or clank just as the player rises to shoot it? Well, this Newsweek blog post reports on this study which found that elite basketball players take that feeling to another level and can anticipate a miss before the ball is shot. From the study abstract.

Moreover, performance between athletes and the other groups differed before the ball was seen to leave the model's hands, suggesting that athletes predicted the basket shot's fate by reading the body kinematics.

Results suggest that achieving excellence in sports may be related to the fine-tuning of specific anticipatory 'resonance' mechanisms that endow elite athletes' brains with the ability to predict others' actions ahead of their realization.

This takes the phrase, "he's feelin' it" to a whole different level. It would be interesting to see different levels of NBA players (All-Star, journeyman, bench player) measured against each other. Could there be a neurological measurement that could reveal a player's (draft prospect?) mental strengths and weaknesses in this area? Seems like it would be less empirical than the brain typing theories Danny Ainge is fond of using.

Not sure I'd want to get into the mind of some players, but the thought is interesting.