Some readers wondered what “throwing for goal” was all about, so I’ll continue with the ongoing shout out to 1904’s “How To Play Basket Ball” that I’ve been doing lately.

This advice is particularly interesting in light of the United States Olympic Basketball Team’s crushing 64% field goal percentage in an exhibition victory over Lithuania the other day.


It’s hard to achieve that against even make-believe defenders during practice! Nice job fellas!

Throwing For Goal

Old basketball shooterAren’t you glad some things
have changed?!

Some teams are throwing for goal all the time. They think, apparently, that out of so many chances some will be made. Of course this is possible and sometimes a goal will be made from the whole length of the field. This, however, os so rare as to make the side that tries it lose steadily.

Only throw for goal when there is a reasonable chance for making it. If you are so attacked that you cannot make a good throw, instead of throwing wild, pass to the other forward or even to the centre. This is team play.

A most common fault of green players is to be continually running after the ball.

When the opponents have the ball, stick to your man like glue. Cover him so effectually that the ball cannot by any manner of means be passed into his hands. Follow him anywhere; prevent his getting the ball. When the ball is thrown then try and get it yourself if it comes your way. If, instead of playing this way, you run off to block the man who has the ball, while you may make it harder for him to make a good throw, still you have left your man uncovered and the ball can and probably will be thrown to him.

Now, however, when it is one of your men who has the ball, your play must be exactly reversed. Get in front of or away from your opponent, so that the ball may be thrown to you with safety.

When it is your immediate opponent who has the ball do not let him have a good throw, take the ball away from him, block him, hit the ball with your open hand. If you hit it with your fist it is a foul.

I know this sounds like ye olde basketball, but it’s still true! Makes me appreciate how the science of the game has emerged.

In any case, the language evolved over the years from “throwing” to “tossing” to “shooting.”

Do you think head coach Mike Krzyzewski is using this same book?

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