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Centralia man world-class free-throw shooter

Lawrence Journal World by Chris Duderstadt

Centralia’s Bob Fisher, right, shows off his free-throw form. Fisher holds 14 Guinness world records for his free-throw shooting.

Over the course of the 2012 NBA regular season, only Jamal Crawford and JJ Reddick shot better than 90 percent from the free-throw line out of those who had 100 or more attempts.

Crawford and Reddick are well above average in the NBA when it comes to knocking down shots from the charity stripe, but they do not compare with Centralia resident Bob Fisher, who holds 14 Guinness world records for free-throw shooting.

Fisher takes pride in all of his records and said that came as a result of finding a better alternative of teaching how to shoot.

Fisher, 54, has not played basketball competitively since high school, but he has spent countless hours of studying the mechanics of shooting.

“I have no athletic ability whatsoever,” Fisher said. “If I can do this, like I said, knowledge for me was the eliminating factor. Once I got the knowledge, that made all the difference in the world.”

The last time Fisher was a shooting coach at any level was the 2009-2010 school year for the Valley Heights High boys and girls basketball teams. In January of 2010, Fisher broke his first world record, making 50 free throws in a minute, and after that, Fisher set his sights on more.

“The story behind the story is that I figured out a better way to teach shooting,” Fisher said. “It’s basically a matter of just meshing the biomechanics in a more conceptual approach that allows each and every individual to experience success. The records came about because I’m nothing of a salesman. I couldn’t sell water in a desert, for that matter and convincing other people that I had some better (method), the records were just a matter of attracting attention via the fact that I have something of value.”

Fisher has studied the mechanics of shooting for over 20 years, and he realized after reading John Fontanella’s book, “The Physics of Basketball,” there was a certain angle that each player should release the ball, based upon his height.

“I’m a 6-foot player,” Fisher said, “and according to Fontanella’s information, I should release (the ball) at a 51 degree angle arc for the slowest moving ball when it hits the rim, and that is normally what I attempt to do unless I’m just messing around.”

While Fisher has figured out what angle the ball needs to be at when entering the basket, he has also practiced a variety of ways to release the ball.

“Shooting is very much an optimization problem,” Fisher said. “What makes it so difficult is that there are so many different ways to shoot and still be accurate.”

Of the 14 records Fisher holds, there is one record he is proudest of, and having the experience of shooting the ball from a number of different release points helped him set it.

“The hour record,” Fisher said. “The 2,371 (free throws) in an hour. It was by far the greatest challenge. That is making one shot every 1.51 seconds for an hour, and that I had to train for. Every record I have, I could go out and break today, except for that one.”

Fisher shot the ball using five releases throughout the hour to prevent any part of his body from being overworked.

“With me, once the knowledge came, then the percentage and the accuracy went up,” Fisher said.

After breaking the 14 records within a 26-month span, there is not a particular record that Fisher is trying to break right now, but there is a reason for that.

“I pretty much have them all,” Fisher said with a laugh.

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