Room For Improvement

By Andrew Gilstrap

Being that I’m in the Youtube-sphere now, I can compare myself against other arcade basketball players. I sure thought my 81 last week was pretty good, but it is easily humbled by viewing several videos on Youtube like this one. Or this. Where do these guys/girls come from? I rarely come across players in person who can top my scores, but I am still quite a ways from being elite — judging from some of the other Youtube ballers. Here again is the video of me at GameWorks in Tempe, if you missed it last week:

 

Now that I can visually compare myself to them, I’ve come up with a few takeaways for how we average citizens can get better:

  • Release faster. I feel like I play at a really fast pace and that I release my shots quickly, but I have to get faster if I want to start scoring in the 100s. It all comes down to that sense-of-urgency mode to which I alluded two posts ago.
  • Pick up the basketballs quickly and cleanly. Sometimes I’m not swift when grabbing the next basketball with my left hand and transitioning it to my right. It’s probably the one area I’d say is my achilles’ heel. Gotta work on this. I should be grabbing the next ball and releasing the shot even before my previous one reaches the rim. It’s all got to be continuous: No little breaks between shots.
  • Have more basketballs in the machine. This one can be a little out of your control, especially if each machine is occupied, but each player I see on Youtube putting up a high score usually has five or six basketballs in the machine. I’m usually lucky if I get to work with four. I had four in the machine in my video above, and you can see where that held me up a couple of times. You can’t shoot continuously if there isn’t a basketball to grab at every given moment. If there aren’t a lot of people playing, see if you can grab a couple basketballs from the other machines. Try to get at least five in yours. But, be careful of having too many: It can get crowded. Limit yourself to six or seven in the machine.
  • Make the shots go through cleanly. Even if you make all your shots, your accuracy still might have room for improvement. Try to make them through quickly. Swishes help immensely. If a shot you make dances on the rim for a second or two beforehand, you’ve just impeded your next release — or maybe you shot it but there was no room for it to go in; perhaps your two shots collided, where usually only one or none of the two go in the hoop. Although each bucket counts, swishes help your time considerations.

 

I can see that it’s now time to step down from my high horse and get to work on some new techniques. I want to be among the best, but it looks like I’m a level or two away. When I watch my video above, I notice that I only missed five shots while scoring 81 in a round. Then I’ll go and watch this video and see the player miss at least ten shots in the round and still score 108. (Granted, his game started with five extra seconds, but still…) He shot each ball and picked up the next one so quickly, made almost every basket cleanly and he never had to wait for the next basketball to come down the chute. Yes, that meets all of the four requirements I just outlined.

So, here’s to making improvements in my Pop-A-Shot approach. Follow me: There’s work yet to be done.

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