Fisher Shoots at Science Festival

Marysville Advocate by Julie Perry

Setting world records in free throws was not on Bob Fisher’s agenda when he and his wife, Connie, both of Centralia, participated last weekend in the Worlds Science Festival Street Fair in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fisher, a 54-year-old who owns 14 Guinness Book of World Records in free throw shooting, performed and answered questions during the festival Sunday. An estimated 175,000 people attended the multi-day festival. Fisher was teamed with professor John Fontanella, the New York author of “Physics of Basketball.” They performed several shooting demonstrations throughout the day. That evening, professor Cynthia Bir of ESPN’s sport science placed sensors on Fisher to track his movements. Those movements were shown on a plasma screen on a stage.

“John Fontanella transformed my thinking,” Fisher said. “Until his book I was listening to the shooting gurus, which was less than productive because so much of it is just opinions. John did a mathematical analysis based upon physics to determine the ideal launch angle for various size players. After studying his book, I approached shooting as a problem to be solved and studied biomechanics and physics to determine the various ways to send a symmetrical sphere in a straight line.”

During dinner with the Fontanellas, Fisher started to diagram various ways to apply effective force to a ball.

“John’s comment was, ‘you have certainly studied this more than I have,’” Fisher said.

The sensors applied to him were on both wrists, upper arms, chest, waist, thighs, ankles and one around his forehead.

“Being wired with sensors was pretty cool, actually awesome,” Fisher said. “Meeting John Fontanella was special for me. Without John’s book, none of this would have happened. It was great to be around him and his wife, Mary, for a couple days. Discussing basketball shooting with John made it all the more apparent to me that I have a rather revolutionary approach to teaching shooting, which is a heck of a lot better than conventional wisdom. Combining physics with biomechaniecs allows everyone to have success. Plus, teaching this concept provides the individual freedom to explore various options which may be more suited for them.”

While at the festival, the Fishers were notified by Court Crandall that “Free Throw,” a documentary on free throw shooting was shown at the Seattle Film Festival. Crandall met with a group that wants to bring him to Wichita in October. The event could include a shooting demonstration.

During the New York trip, Fisher met a man named Nick, who read the article about Fisher in the New York Times that ran earlier in the spring.

“He clipped it out and hung it in his cubicle at work,” Fisher said. “Nick was 35 and thought he was too old to go back to school until he read the article. The article inspired him to go back to school and it was evident that meeting me was important to him. It was a humbling experience to realize that I was a source of inspiration for someone.”

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