Basketball Free Throws

Text: The informant would dribble five times before shooting a free throw when she played basketball for her high school. She performed this ritual because she believed it would help her make more of her free throws.

Context: The informant noticed that she would make a higher percentage of her free throws when she performed this ritual, although she says it was probably because of a placebo affect more than anything else. She started this ritual when she first joined the team and realized that her teammates all had pre-free-throw rituals of their own.

Analysis: For the informant, creating her own ritual was a way of becoming a true part of the team, since everyone else had their own rituals. Additionally, this is an example of the power of belief, and how thinking can actually influence one’s physicality. Just because she believed that her ritual was helping her score more points, it actually was.