The 50-Yr-Old Basketball Hacker-Genius


I love this story (click to watch the above video). It’s about Bob Fisher of Centralia, KS (pop: several), who decided at age 50 to become the best free-throw shooter on the planet. And then he went out and simply did it. It’s worth a look, especially to see the homemade contraptions he uses to build his remarkable skill (I also like that he mentions a certain book at the 2:45 mark).
There are lots of useful takeaways here, but what I like best is Fisher’s mindset. He’s active. He doesn’t rely on any one source of wisdom; instead, he reads everything he can get his hands on, tests it ruthlessly, keeps what works. His mindset is not one you typically find in an athlete or musician (who often have passive, obedient, “whatever you say, coach” attitudes).
Fisher’s mindset is like one you’d find in a hacker: searching, resourceful, always willing to invent and re-invent. He’s living proof that talent isn’t about obedience to authority — it’s about being entrepreneurial, about taking charge, seeking out good information, and hacking until you get where you want to go. As Fisher so beautifully puts it, “Anybody could do what I do, if they know what I know.”
PS – Just got a nice note from Bob. Guess what he calls the basement contraption? “The Myelin Accelerator.”

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12 Responses to “The 50-Yr-Old Basketball Hacker-Genius”

  1. Inspiring story there. What occurred after? Take care!

  2. Jimmy Parker says:

    The hacker’s mindset–what a brilliant way to communicate the ideal mindset for learning–“searching, resourceful, always willing to invent”…hacking into your own brain to re-wire things yourself instead of letting someone else do it, hoping they get it right. That’s just beautiful!

  3. I love Bobs attitude and thinking, it’s great and I love his wifes comment at the beginning about letting people know, it mirrors my own thinking.

    People are slowly starting to realize it’s upstairs that matters most and that you need to look at someones mindset first and then the skill when picking teams

  4. Dave says:

    Inspirational. Nothing less.

  5. Kasem Kharsa says:

    A true modern-day genius. And as much as I enjoyed ‘The Talent Code’, I never took the time to actually apply the book’s advice, to build my own ‘myelin accelerator’ related to my desired talents. This video inspires me to finally do that.

    Thanks for posting –

  6. Janet Ragan says:

    You mentioned in your book and in a blog post about practicing free throws from different distances to improve free throw shooting percentage. Are there specific distances that players should shoot from?

  7. djcoyle says:

    Great question, Janet — that’s certainly what learning experts like Dr. Robert Bjork have shown in their experiments. But let me ask the expert (Bob Fisher) if he’d like to weigh in on this here — thanks, Dan

  8. Bob Fisher says:

    After reading this in the book, I experimented with different distances while practicing and still do. Nothing drastic, I normally stay within a foot or two from the foul line. I also incorporated perceptual awareness (vision constraints) because several studies have proven this helps. Keep in mind, experimentation is a good thing…

  9. Cody says:

    Wow must be an amazing feeling that something you wrote affected a complete strangers life so much! Loved the story :~)

  10. Lisa Wiele says:

    You took the words out of my mouth Cody! What a great story! Thanks for sharing Dan.

  11. Rod Roth says:

    Super story. My takeaway is Bob’s curiosity and determination to use everything that’s out here, as long as he can satisfy himself that he information is valid for him. Thanks!

  12. Ryan Hockman says:

    Great story and very inspiring. A friend of mine recently sent me this article in hopes of helping a kid earn a college football scholarship, but when I read it, I immediately noticed a relevance to the Hacker-Genius. Here’s a link to the article…

    … but the relevant part is this excerpt…

    “Uhl may be the strongest person in Clark County, regardless of age. He has bench pressed 375 pounds, squatted 625 and just before his 18th birthday in January, he deadlifted 700 pounds.

    So how did he transform himself from an unimposing freshman to the beast that Niece describes him as today? Uhl credits that to his lack of resources and coaches. The community league he played for didn’t have a training and conditioning program.

    “And the school weightroom is basically a closet,” Uhl said. “Not having the program to do the thinking for me, I had to go and research and read stuff and learn all that myself, so I think that’s why I’ve gotten so much stronger than everybody else, because I had to learn how to do it myself. I understand it.”

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