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A Pat on the Back Statistically Improves Free Throw Numbers in Basketball–Demonstrating the Power of Touch

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In difficult situations, physical touch like a hug or a pat on the back can reduce stress; so much so that researchers from the University of Basel have found it can statistically improve free throw points in collegiate basketball.

The research demonstrates just how sensitive humans are to physical touch, and how marriage and family therapist Virginia Satir’s famous quote “we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, twelve hugs a day for growth,” is spot on.

One of the most stressful situations during any basketball game is a free throw, which happens when a player is fouled while attempting to score. Unlike in soccer where anyone can take a penalty kick, in basketball, it is only the fouled player who gets the free throw.

They can win one point per successful shot, and typically get 2 per foul. Games are decided by free throws.

Of the 10 most successful NCAA teams (based on win percentage) since 2001, only one (Michigan State) shot fewer free throws than the median of 20.6 per game. Estimates of the number of games decided by free throws during a single season range from four to as many as one-half of all games according to published research.

Evidently then, whatever can improve free throw completion can only be a good thing for a team.

A team of researchers headed by Christiane Büttner at Basel’s Faculty of Psychology investigated this phenomenon, with their results appearing in the journal Psychology of Sport & Exercise.

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One-Armed Basketball Player Recruited for College Team Scores His First Points

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On December 10th, teammates and fans of Northwestern State sounded their applause when their new freshmen basketball player scored his first points for the team.

It was an extra special applause for the point guard, since Hansel Emmanuel has only one arm.

A minute later he added to his total with a thunderous dunk in what became a 91-73 win over Louisiana-Monroe, bringing the crowd of 1,600 to their feet.

But this is far from the beginning of Hansel Emmanuel’s story: last year, ESPN was already reporting that college recruiting analysts were interested in the young man from the Dominican Republic.

Playing on a cinderblock wall when he was six, it collapsed under him, crushing his arm and necessitating amputation. But like all champion athletes, he never stopped working, never let anyone feel sorry for him, and soon began to create a major social media following with small clips of him playing street ball.

Emmanual’s father was a professional in the Dominican Republic, and the social media videos caught the attention of one of his father’s former teammates—the head coach at Life Christian Acadmey in Florida. He brought Emmanual over on a scholarship, and soon the one-armed guard won the state championship, bringing interest from college scouts.

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Friday Sports: Quite the engagement as the Watertown Wolves hit the ice

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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – Not only was there a Watertown Wolves home game Friday night against visiting Columbus, but fans were also witness to an engagement.

Not only was there ice at the arena, but also on her ring finger.

Off the faceoff, the River Dragons get on the board first as Jake Grade goes top shelf, putting the visitors on top 1-0.

The Wolves tie it up as Troy Taylor scores his first goal of the season and his first as a Watertown player.

The Wolves gain the lead as they win 4-2.

Friday Sports Scores

Pro Hockey

  • Watertown 4, Columbus 2

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