To Pass or To Throw?

To Pass or To Throw? This decision was atop my head during the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ home game last night, at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, which I attended with some friends from Graduate School.

After two quarters, the Warriors team had at least 20 point lead, which quickly changed during the third quarter. Throughout the third quarter, I quietly offered suggestions to the players such as pass the ball to either #10 Lee or #30 Curry, or throw the ball into the hoop. It seemed to me that the players had spent some of their valuable times making decisions on their feet, as if they were debating who on their team was available for passing the ball to.

During these times, I could see that the player with the ball had clear open space within the Low Post, which is the area close to the hoop, for throwing the ball into the hoop, instead, which could benefited the Warriors with additional points. The apparent intent of passing the ball could have been translated into cutting and faking play strategy by the post players.

Regardless of the positions such as point or shooting guards, perhaps the players can factor into the availability of the basket within their peripheral vision field, to see if the shot is open and clear.

These split-second decisions may have caused the team to reduce their 20 point lead to 5 point lead, quickly during the third quarter. Of course, the team won 96-89 against Philadelphia 76ers.

During the game last night, I recollected a book that I downloaded for Kindle several months ago, which was titled, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. In this book, the Duhigg provided case studies, augmented by scientific research regarding cues, within our daily routines, which translated into habits with expected rewards.

Based on Duhigg’s central thesis, “Habits can be changed if we understand how they work,” the decisions that we make during our routines can become a habit, as long as we’re able to conceptualize this habit loop.

A quote found within Duhigg’s book, by Tony Dungy, Super Bowl-winning coach, who stated “Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.” Rather than spending the time making decisions on the field, the team practiced the memorized plays until they became a habit. Thus, when the cue triggers, the habit kicks in.

This concept of the habit loop was on my mind while watching the Warriors’ players spending time anticipating, which included figuring out whom, on their team, was available for passing the ball to. At the same time, the player with the ball was wide open and clear for throwing the ball into the hoop, but was quite intent on passing the ball instead. I observed this occurrence throughout the third quarter of the game.

During the first two quarters, the Warriors took advantage of throwing the ball into the hoop, which included at least a 3-point Bomb shot from the side , thus affording them at least, a hefty 50 points, and prior to half-time. This strategy appeared to have changed during the third quarter.

One of my many passions is sports; as I have been part of several teams throughout Jr. High and High Schools. Thus, my attending the recent Warrior’s game with good friends was a nice treat.

I look forward attending many more professional basketball, football, hockey, and baseball games with friends and colleagues in the future!

The Power of Habit …in 30 Minutes: A Concise Summary of Charles Duhigg’s Bestselling Book Garamond Press. Kindle Edition. Garamond Press (2012-07-12).