A Sickness Plaguing Today’s Coaches

You’ve heard us mention the FOG before. It’s something we mention regularly because it plagues so many coaches these days. But why does it exist? What is its purpose? Why are so many coaches affected by it?

Our brain is loaded with numerous tricks. Survival tactics and coping mechanisms that distort our perception of reality. The show “Brain Games” on the National Geographic Channel gives us examples of the many ways our brain tricks us.

Today we want to revisit one of these tricks that we have also mentioned in the past. It’s what leads people into what we call the “FOG”. This is the label we give to the idea that people strongly believe one thing but it is obvious that another thing is happening. It’s how we explain coaches and trainers who believe that all the great shooters square to the basket, don’t dip the ball, and shoot and land straight up and down. We want to talk about a subject that relates to this.

It’s called NOSTALGIA. A belief that things were much better in the past. Memories are recalled and the perception is that things in the past were so much simpler. For example, something we hear quite often is the belief that the players of the 60s, 70s, 80s and maybe even 90s were much better than today’s shooters. When they recall by memory to them those players were much better shooters but when you look at the numbers… Not so true.

This “sickness” we call nostalgia is a coping mechanism that our brain gives us as a survival tactic. Many do not realize that when they experience this nostalgic state it’s not A memory. It’s MANY memories and senses all compiled into one to bring about a warm, happy feeling. It’s the way the brain works to store memories that adds bias to the memories that bring about this feeling.

Our brain tries to make a pattern out of everything. So when storing memories, it wants to apply a pattern to better organize those memories. When bringing up a memory it also brings up other memories of similar emotion and feeling. You remember them as one memory but there are many memories that are being recalled at the same time.

Nostalgia exists to do three basic things.
1. It counteracts depression
2. It’s something we can use to relate to others
3. It gives us a reason to live

The problem is not the nostalgia itself. The problem is when an individual can not disconnect from that nostalgia and see reality for what it is. The problem is when past memories influence a person in making a decision or judgement without studying the facts placed right in front of them.

We believe you must make yourself aware of this and attempt to avoid it at all costs! This is why we talk about being open minded or open to listening and studying new ideas and don’t make up your mind before you even examine the evidence in front of you.

One of the best ways to avoid this is watching film. It’s the reason why Pro Shot uses video footage to the extent we do. We want you to see what biases and myths that exist in beliefs on basketball. So let’s put aside our nostalgia and work together to better the level of basketball being played at all levels. Put aside these “Old Ideas” and start seeing the reality in front of us.