Walking into the gym at the NRH Rec Center a year or so ago, I stood and watched a young man dribbling and shooting.  After a series of clunkers and a few air-balls he walked to the foul line to shoot some free-throws.

After he missed about 10+ in a row, the old coach in me wandered over and asked, “Could I help you out a bit?”

He looked at me and I could read his mind (who is this old man and how could he help me), but he politely said, “no thanks.”

Smiling I started to walk away, then turned and said, “How about we each shoot 10 free-throws.  If I make more than you, I get 10 minutes of your time to help you.  If you win, I walk away and mind my own business.”

With a bit of a laugh, he said, “Sure … and you can go first.  Do you need to warm up?”

“I may just stretch a bit … but just give me the ball.”  After missing the first shot, I looked at him and again could read his mind (he’ll be gone in a minute and leave me alone).  I said, “Missed that one of purpose!” and he said, “Yes…sure you did.”

Recalling my years of playing and coaching, I said, “You know, young man … the whole secret to this is form, follow-through and confidence.”  Then I sank 9 in a row and flipped him the ball, “You’re up … but when you miss your first 2 … you owe me 10 minutes.”

The interesting thing about this little incident is that we spent about 30 minutes, with an “old man” sharing a few shooting tips.

I shook his hand, handed the ball back to him and walked away, turned my head and said, “Remember … practice makes permanent … the right kind of practice”

I heard the ball bounce a few times and then heard the sweet swishing sound of a ball passing through the net … and a young voice say, “It’s all about form, follow-through and confidence … “

I wish I had this t-shirt that day …

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