Part 8

How Do Granny Shots Bring it all Together?

So, maybe you like basketball and enjoyed the article for that reason but still are a bit skeptical of the concept we are trying to convey through this investing metaphor. I mean, come on, Rick Barry and Canyon Barry are great basketball players but this concept seems a little far fetched, doesn’t it? Well, we will push back on that line a little further and even take the metaphor a step further as well.

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Canyon Barry isn’t just a good basketball player he’s also studying to be a nuclear physicist. Even hedge funders will begrudgingly admit that sounds pretty smart. Canyon took pride in his families  signature shot. After all how many families have their own basketball shot? So, he mixed his trade and his game and started perusing scientific journal articles trying to find anything relevant to the “Granny Shot”. He found the work of a Professor in North Carolina State’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department named Larry Silverberg. Dr. Silverberg did not find that underhanded shooting is more effective, in fact, he found the opposite that it is more effective to shoot overhand if a player has the same consistency with both techniques. That’s a big if, even bigger if you apply the concept to investing. Allow us to explain why. You see, while it is technically possible to shoot better overhand the technique is physically much more complex and therefore more difficult. Shooting underhand is a better option for those who can’t shoot overhand well. So if you can’t shoot overhand (like maybe you don’t have your own Bloomberg terminal and staffed trading desk, let alone the benefit which computerized algorithms bring) then maybe you should try a ‘Granny Shot’. Dr. Silverberg puts it pretty eloquently and we’ll let him take us home. “The beauty of the underhand shot is that the underhand shot is a smooth motion, and it’s easier to become consistent with it if you want to change your habits.”  Silverberg continues, “If the person is maybe a 40, 50 percent shooter in the free throw, changing to an underhand can make a lot of sense. The underhand has that advantage that it’s not a bad option for a coach with a player who is a really bad shooter.”

So are there any examples of this advice working? Well, Wilt Chamberlain was a notoriously bad free throw shooter, like worse than Shaq. He turned to the ‘Granny Shot’ method to help him get a higher percentage. In the 1961-1962 season he used this method to great avail, in fact he had the highest scoring game in the history of basketball; the famous hundred point game. He made an amazing, particularly for Chamberlain, 28/32 free throws which comes out to 87.5% and was also the most free-throws ever scored in a single game. So how does one of the worst free throw shooters and most macho players in the league go on to set the all-time free throw record? With Granny Shots folks.

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