How to Shoot a Free Throw

The Red Bullet Magazine by Megan Michelson
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Bob Fisher currently holds over a dozen World Record for free throws, including most free throws in an hour (2,371) and most free throws in a minute (52). He’s not a professional basketball player. Far from it. He’s a 58-year-old soil technician who lives in Kansas and has invested thousands of hours in his quest to find the perfect shot. If you want to master the free throw, Bob is your guy. He teaches players and coaches his new physics-based approach, which customize motions for each player and promises more balls in the basket.

1 Step Up
“As you step to the line, clear your mind as much as possible and direct your focus to the job at hand, which is to shoot a free throw. It’s important to focus on the process and not the outcome. Studies have shown that focusing on only one or two key elements is optimal. Take a deep breath to calm your body.”

2 Take a Relaxed Stance
“Whether you prefer a staggered stance, a square stance, or a reverse-staggered stance (shooting foot back) is a matter of personal preference. What is really important is the release. Use the stance that most helps you nail the release.”

3 Embrace Routine
“There was a study done in the NBA about free throw routines and they summarized that players with routines shoot a higher free throw percentage than players with no routines. Taking two or three dribbles is helpful in loosening your wrist muscles. Also, dribbling can be used to lock in your focus on how the ball should leave your fingertips. Rehearsing the shooting motion, as Steve Nash did, is a helpful practice. Routines can help lower the tension of the moment.”

4 Generate Force
“Another study dispelled the notion that it’s ‘all in the legs.’ According to that study, the free throw is powered primarily by the upper body, with the wrist being the largest contributor of force. As you finish your last dribble and the ball comes up in your hand, control the basketball. There are many great shooters in the NBA who are palm shooters. The ball comes off your fingertips and will have backspin regardless of whether it starts in your palm or not. Main point to remember? Control the ball.”

5 Pop Goes the Ball
“Bend your legs slightly to load your ankles. As your arm extends and flows into the snap of your wrist, you are popping up on your toes. The wrist snap finalizes the shot and the ball leaves your fingertips. Instead of all the focus being on the basket and follow-through, the physics-based approach switches the focus to the ball. Specifically, where and how you are applying force through the ball at the moment of release. That is what is most important and that is what is going to determine whether you make the shot or not.”

6 Experiment
“Shooting is an optimization process. We all have individual differences—range of motion, finger lengths—that may impact what works best. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It will enhance the learning process and what you find might amaze you.”

Fisher, Roepke Break Guinness World Record

Blue Rapids Free Press by Trinda Chase
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On an incredibly cold Sunday afternoon, some hot shots were made at Valley Heights High School.

Bob Fisher, age 57 from Centralia, and Brandi Jo Roepke, a Junior at Valley Heights High School, paired up and broke the Guinness Book of World Records for most basketball free throws in one minute by a mixed pair making 44 (out of 49) shots. The current record of 34 by Michael Anderson and Katherine Oosthuizen back on August 17th, 2013 will stand until Guinness approves the 44 made by Fisher and Roepke, which can take 4-6 weeks.

For Bob, setting world records is nothing new. Currently he holds 13, which are all for basketball free throws: 2,371 in one hour (1,501 out of 1,744 right-handed, 870 out of 1,233 left-handed), 33 in 30 seconds, 50 in one minute, 92 in two minutes, 448 in 10 minutes, 44 in one minute alternating hands, 88 in two minutes alternating hands, 28 in one minute underhanded, 22 in one minute blindfolded, 37 in two minutes blindfolded, 49 in one minute standing on one leg, 29 in one minute by a pair using unlimited balls (with Garrett Steinlage), and 24 in one minute by a pair using 2 balls (also with Garrett Steinlage).

If you ask Bob, or either of Jo’s parents (Brad and Lynn Roepke, Waterville), they will tell you that Bob and Jo first met before basketball season this year. Jo recalls a different date. She remembers “meeting” Bob for the first time back on January 9th, 2010, when Jo was just a 6th grader. That was when Bob came to Valley Heights High School and set his first world record for free throws shot in one minute. Maybe it was being back at the original location that moved Bob to attempt to break his own record, which Bob’s wife Connie said they were not originally planning to attempt. Things were going his way and he beat his record of 50 making 52 (out of 75) shots in one minute. Bob didn’t stop there with setting records. With much help from Connie, Bob set the goal high with a new category record for the most free throws in 30 seconds while blindfolded making 21 out of 24. He attempted another new category for the most free throws consecutively made in one minute alternating hands. Guinness set the bar at 30 shots and Bob just missed that goal making 29. Once Guinness approves the records set on Sunday, Bob will hold a total of 15 world records and Jo will hold her first.

When Bob met with Jo for the first time, he was impressed with her shooting and casually asked her if she wanted to break a world record together. Jo was with her dad and they both thought why not. They met again in November for additional shooting training and thought maybe they could try to break the record over Christmas break. Their first practice attempt was made the day before, on Saturday, only practicing about 30 minutes. Jo said she was “very nervous to shoot side-by-side with the best free throw shooter in the world”. It didn’t take long for her confidence to build as they each started making shots in sync. Of course it was possible that they wouldn’t beat the record on Sunday; however, Jo said she “felt confident” that they would. Bob knew what it would take to beat the record as he and Dana Kramer, a Junior from Wetmore High School, had previously held the mixed pair record making 32 shots back on December 17th, 2011.

Lynn and Bob both summed up Sunday’s event as “good” and Jo thought it was “cool”. Brad felt like it “served as a motivator” and things Jo learned “can be taken out on the court”. He also agreed with Jo that overall the event was “really a cool thing”. Bob wanted to set the record with Jo because “it was available” and because he “thought it would help Jo get where she wants to go”. Since Jo can remember, her dream goal is to play Division I college basketball after high school.

Being the best free throw shooter in the world, holding over a dozen records, helps provide credibility for Bob that he’s put all his years of intense research into action and figured out what it takes to be a great shooter. But he is still learning and trains every day. And the desire to teach young athletes all over is evident just watching him around all of them that attended on Sunday. Hopefully teaching others what he has learned will only blossom and grow because it is clear he is successful at it. Jo describes Bob as an “awesome, great teacher” and knows he has helped her greatly just in their few meetings. Both Jo and her dad feel like from here Jo’s shooting percentages and confident will greatly increase, and she’s looking to have gained the ability to make a quicker shot. But Jo emphasizes the importance of remaining humble through all her successes as an athlete.

Does the future hold more records for either Bob or Jo? Bob states, “Since I failed at the consecutive alternating hands that will be my next challenge”. In February, Bob has been asked to shoot at the Baileyville Benefit Tournament and he is thinking he might set a record there. Bob feels like his determination to keep setting world records “should give people hope because I am just like everyone else…just an ordinary guy who learned late in life that it only takes three things to become good at anything: knowledge, practice and time”.

For Jo, she is looking to beat the most free throws in one minute by a female. The current record is 40, which Jo attempted to beat (unplanned) on Sunday and was able to get 35. She is confident that she can break the record with practice and using the techniques learned from Bob. And Brad is willing to organize another event for Jo, possibly in the spring or summer. He feels like it was not a lot of “work” but more “a lot of people” to make it work and wants to thank everyone that gave up their Sunday afternoon to come help. In the meantime, Jo will continue practicing hard getting a perfect balance of support from her dad (the one who is much more like Jo being critical and always pushing, looking for ways to improve) and her mom (the one Jo knows will provide her with compliments).

Roepke helps Fisher capture coed record

Marysville Advocate by Julie Perry
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What began as lessons for Brandi Jo Roepke, Waterville, to improve as a free throw shooter turned into a world record she helped Bob Fisher, Centralia, reclaim Sunday afternoon.

It was one of three Fisher had a hand in rewriting or establishing. It was exciting enough that Roepke twice attempted to break the world record for most free throws made by a female.

On the 27th try, Fisher and Roepke reset the coed world record to 44. It will become official when Guinness World Records validates the submission, which could take six to eight weeks. Fisher and Dana Kramer, Wetmore, set the mark at 32 in 2011 and that was broken Aug. 17, 2013, by Michael Anderson and Katherine Oosthuizen at West Bowles Community Church in Littleton, Colo., when they made 34.

It was the only record among 14 set by Fisher from 2010 to 2012 that had fallen.

Roepke, an all-around athlete, is most passionate about basketball. Fisher came into the picture when she became too frustrated with her free throw shooting.

“I wasn’t hitting them at all,” she said.

Constant practice led to improvemet and to Fisher asking if she’d like to attempt a world record.

“Sure, why not,” she said. “I just knew I had to get 17 and he had to get 17,” she said. “It was pretty cool to be asked. We knew we could beat it, but I didn’t know we could beat it by that much.”

While it was “really awesome,” Roepke said, to break a world record, she admitted it was hard to concentrate on her shot and his. What tripped up the duo at times was that one of them would make two shots in a row instead of alternating between him and her.

“I think it’s really awesome (to break the record),” Roepke said. “It makes me want to do more.”

So Roepke attempted the most free throws made in one minute by a female and came close twice to Ashley Graham’s 39 set in July 2010 when Graham played for a Ukrainian team. Roepke made 34 on her first attempt and 35 on her second before calling it a day.

Fisher, who has unofficially improved on his records several times in almost three years, officially reset one of his and established a 15th record. Fisher made 21 of 24 free throws in 30 seconds blindfolded. He owns the record for most made in a minute blindfolded at 22, but there had not been a category for most made in 30 seconds.

He reset his record Sunday for most free throws made in one minute, which was 50 in Jan. 2010, to 52.

His goal for the one minute male record is to make more than one free throw a second. It’s something he will work on this year.

Fisher was 52 when he started breaking records. Now at 57, he’s thinking about improving his marks so his records are harder to break.

“I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking I probably need to make attempts to get my records up to my potential, because I’m getting older and some day won’t be able to do it,” he said.

While Fisher stopped attempting records for almost three years, he never stopped practicing, not even when he and his wife, Connie, went to Texas to visit grandchildren. Fisher still found the gym for a couple of hours.

“My accuracy should be much better,” he said. “I want to get the consecutive alternate hands mark over 100,” he said.

Aside from most consecutive charities made, Fisher doesn’t have most made shooting backwards or from a wheelchair. He doesn’t practice shooting backwards and the wheelchair mark is one he says he will never get.

He has been asked to perform during the Feb. 21 and 22 Baileyville Benefit Tournament, where he said he may make a record attempt.

In 2010, Fisher’s records were most free throws made in 30 seconds at 33; most in one minute at 50; most in one minute made by a pair of shooters with unlimited balls at 29 with Garrett Steinlage, Seneca. In 2011, he penned his name to most shots made underhanded in one minute at 28; most in one minute while standing on one leg at 49; most made in one hour at 2,371; most in one minute blindfolded at 22; and the mark with Kramer. In 2012, he broke most free throws made in two minutes at 92; most in 10 minutes at 448; most in one minute using alternate hands at 44; most in two minutes with alternating hands at 88; most in a minute by a pair of shooters using two balls at 24; and the two-minute blindfolded mark at 37.

San Fernando Valley teen helped mom to safety in LAX shooting spree

Los Angeles Daily News by Brenda Gazzar
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Luke was a student of Bob Fisher’s.

Even the sound of gunshots in a crowded airport couldn’t convince Robyn Love to take cover or run — certainly not when her laptop was still going through security.

But her son’s love and determination did.

Love, 55, a north San Fernando Valley resident and her son Luke, 15, were going through Los Angeles International’s Terminal 3 on Nov. 1 when a gunman opened fire nearby, killing TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez and injuring several others.

Looking back on the incident now, Robyn credits her son’s quick thinking and maturity for not only forcing her to get to the ground and getting her to safety, but helping other travelers as well.

“He’s my hero, absolutely,” she said. “I would still be waiting there for my laptop because I did not want to lose it because of all my data on it. He realized that my life was more important … and he got me to safety.”

Luke, a freshman at Crespi Carmelite High School, will also be recognized next week as the KNX 1070 Newsradio “Hero of the Week,” according to the station.

An FBI spokeswoman noted there were a number of heroic bystanders that day.

“In addition to law enforcement, there were obviously a lot of people who stepped up, members of the traveling public who stepped up and their actions were heroic in and of itself,” said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. “I can’t comment on specific witness accounts because this is obviously a pending case with a potential trial ahead of us.”

Robyn and Luke were preparing to travel to Kansas so he could attend a basketball camp when shots rang out in the terminal as they were going through the security checkpoint.

Robyn was waiting for her laptop to come through the conveyor belt, while Luke was putting his shoes on the belt when they heard shots. Someone yelled “gun,” he crouched down and ran through the metal detector and pulled his mother — “who was probably the only person still standing waiting for our stuff to get out of X-ray” — down to the ground, he said.

TSA agents told them to run. When he was past the security checkpoint, Luke said he looked back and saw a man about 50 feet away walking very slowly up the stairs with an assault rifle across his body.

Still shoeless, Luke ran even further and realized his mother, who has a weak knee, had fallen behind and that a woman had fallen in front of her. He went back, grabbed his mother, and pushed her ahead, he said, when a door opened on their right hand side leading into a hallway and some offices. They found their way into one of the rooms with about eight other people and tried to lock the door. When it wouldn’t lock, Luke tried to barricade the door with his body and then started moving the copy machine with others to block the door.

“I told everyone, ‘don’t open the door for anyone.’ I told everyone to silence their cellphones and for one person to call 9-1-1,” he recalled. “I was comforting my mom and texting my friends at the same time. I didn’t know if I was going to make it out or not.”

They heard several more gunshots and after about 15 minutes, there was a knock on the door from someone who said they had caught the shooter and that they were evacuating the terminal. The people in the room looked to Luke wondering if they should open the door, he said, and he said it was fine.

The other travelers were perhaps more willing to listen to him because Luke, who plays center for his high school JV basketball team, looks older than his 15 years.

“We were at Bradley (terminal) I think for 7 hours,” after the incident, his mother recalled. “The police officer interviewed him, and he said, ‘What’s your occupation sir?’ and he said, ‘I’m a kid. I’m only 15’.”

Ironically, about five or 10 minutes before the shooting started, a TSA agent, who they had not interacted with earlier that day, had called out to Luke by name, asking him in an energetic voice how he was doing and where they were going as they were heading upstairs. Luke responded but couldn’t place how or from where he knew the man. They realized later that it was Hernandez, the slain TSA officer. Luke is still not sure, he said, how Hernandez may have known him.

“He had a very happy voice, it was very energetic,” he said. “It wasn’t that he thought I was a terrorist or anything. He was smiling.”

Rough ride to Kansas for basketball player

The Marysville Advocate by Sarah Kessinger

Bob and Connie Fisher of Centralia were expecting a guest from California last Friday when they received a phone call.

It was a co-worker of their guest’s mother, calling to say they’d be late because they were in Terminal C of Los Angeles International Airport where a gunman was causing chaos.

A local free-throw expert, Bob Fisher is well known for making the Guinness Book of World Records for his basketball shooting prowess.

He recently was contacted by the family of a young basketball player, who had seen Fisher in a shoot-off with Charles Barkley on the Jay Leno Show earlier this year. They asked Bob to spend a few days training Luke Love, a 6’4” standout high school freshman basketball player from Winnetka, Calif.

Fisher’s wife, Connie, said Monday that Luke and his mother did make it to Centralia even after facing the shock at LAX en route.

Connie recounted what Luke and his mother, Robyn Love, told them:

“His mother said they were going through security at LAX and Luke had not taken off his shoes so he had to return to take them off.”

“At that point, he saw the gunman coming up the stairs carrying an assault rifle walking toward them.”

Luke ran back to his mom, Connie said, and pushed her to the floor and the two hid under a conveyor belt at first.

“Then they were taken by security to another room, and he started pushing the copy machine in front of the door. He really had his wits about him.”

They heard all the shots, Connie said.

“Several pop, pop, pop gunshots.”

After the shooter was shot and the scene secure, Luke and his mother were interviewed by several media outlets and the FBI.

“He still had no shoes. They had to go to a store at the airport and buy him some because they had to leave everything in the terminal,” Connie said.

They had a phone and the clothes they were wearing and that was it, she said.

They remained determined to come to Kansas, and their flight left later that day. When they arrived in Kansas City “they were really surprised at the hospitality of Kansans,” Connie said. “Someone took Luke to Walmart so he could buy some extra clothes.”

They drove up Saturday to stay at Seneca’s Settle Inn, where they were given a free night.

“Throughout this whole ordeal to come up here to just get shooting lessons. They were so happy to be here,” Connie said.

“They’re just so dedicated. To me it’s just over the top for a 14-year-old to fly to Kansas for free-throw shooting lessons,” she said. “He said his ambition is to play at KU or Kentucky.”

The Fishers, who live five miles west of Centralia, said Luke left Monday and hopes to return, Connie said.

He not only enjoyed improving his game and the support he and his mother received here, she said, but they both also appreciated one particular thing after their airport trauma.

“They enjoyed how quiet the area was.”

Local free-throw shooter goes Hollywood

The Marysville Advocate by Julie Perry

Bob Fisher still spends two hours practicing free throws in the basement of his Centralia home even after he beat “Sir” Charles Barkley, the 11-time NBA All-Star player and hall of famer, on the Feb. 12 Tonight Show.

That shoot-out, which Fisher won 27-10, will be “tough to top,” Fisher said. “It’s not like NBA players are lining up to risk the possibility of losing to a 55-year-old guy from Kansas. Charles is one of a kind. He did me a huge favor by competing against me and I have to admire him for that, because nobody else would have stepped up to lose on national TV.”

Since Fisher has been home he has been interviewed on a couple of live sports talk shows and at some point would like to conduct shooting clinics in different Australian provinces for two weeks. He will perform at halftime March 21 during semi-finals of the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in the Salina Bicentennial Center. He will run clinics March 22 before tournament games.

Nothing has changed for Bob and wife Connie since arriving home from the appearance with Jay Leno in Burbank, Calif. Fisher returned Feb. 15 to his daily routine and work as a soil conservation resource technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Seneca.

“We got back Thursday (Feb. 14) and went to work Friday and quickly fell back in the same old routine … work, practice, eat, sleep, etc.”

Fisher’s long-term goal is to travel the country and give motivational talks at schools and events, something he’s been doing since setting 14 world records in the past few years.

“To do this we will need to find a sponsor who is interested in our message,” Fisher said. His message: Knowledge plus practice plus time equal world-class skill in anything.

Fisher’s world records, which he started breaking in 2010, are most free throws made in 30 seconds (33); most in one minute (50); and most in one minute made by a pair of shooters with unlimited balls (29 with Garrett Steinlage, Seneca.)

Records continued to fall in 2011: most shots made underhand in one minute (28); most in one minute while standing on one leg (49); most made in one hour (2,371); most in one minute blindfolded (22); and most in one minute by a coed pair (32 with Dana Kramer, Wetmore).

Last year’s records: most made in two minutes (92); most in 10 minutes (448); most in one minute using alternate hands (44); most in two minutes with alternating hands (88); most in one minute by a pair of shooters using two balls (24 with Steinlage); and most in two minutes blindfolded (37).

The biggest change since becoming a world record holder, Fisher said, is that the world has gotten smaller.

“It is nice to have people say I am the fastest free throw shooter in the world,” he said. “And appearing on Leno has brought more local attention. However, I have not changed as much as the way the world perceives me. For example, I received a very nice letter from a teacher in Iowa who thought I was an inspiration. With knowing that some people view me in that light comes a degree of added responsibility, because that is something to live up to.”

The path wasn’t a planned venture. It has taken the Fishers to China to participate on a television show with other Guinness Book of World Records holders, to the New York World Science Festival and a part in a documentary titled “Free Throw” and to California to work with youths vying for a college scholarship.

“My intent was to simply see how good I could become,” Fisher said. “When I first stepped in the gym, I did not really believe I could set a record.”

He started practicing in September 2009 at age 52 and from it discovered various shooting techniques that he has come to rely on during record attempts.

“Not in my wildest dreams,” Fisher said. “I never thought any of this would take place.”

He said he might have started earlier in his life with free-throw accomplishments, but he said he lacked the knowledge.

“Without knowing what you are doing you can practice, practice, practice and not get beyond a certain level of proficiency,” Fisher said. “Anybody could do what I do if they knew what I know. Plus, the book, ‘The Talent Code’ informed me of the substance in our brains called myelin, which helps make us better. Knowing about myelin provided the perseverance to stay with it.

“I know the researchers who claim that talent is built instead of born love me. I am a living example that you can develop your talents at any age. I am a late bloomer,” Fisher said.

“What we all tend to do is squander our talent. We are all really great at selling ourselves short. Probably the biggest change for me personally is that this has altered the way I view talented people. Anyone who is really good at anything has invested a tremendous amount of time and effort to get to where they are, no matter what the field.”

Centralia deadeye shows touch on Leno – Fisher bests Barkley during Tonight Show appearance

The Topeka Capital-Journal by Kevin Haskin

Fisher

There is nothing unusual about Bob Fisher stepping to the foul line.

A soil conservationist for the USDA by trade, Fisher shoots free throws every day. Roughly two hours on average.

The challenges vary, but on Tuesday he was attempting to make as many shots as possible in 30 seconds. He hit 27. And was disappointed.

“I was off the record pace,’’ he said.

He knows. He holds the world record. One of 14 Guinness has certified for Fisher.

His mark of 33 in 30 seconds still stands, but there were factors why Fisher felt a bit frosty from the line.

A studio audience was cheering. Jay Leno was hosting. Charles Barkley was competing.

Fisher was on the Tonight Show. It both taped and aired on Tuesday.

“The studio audience is great, but it is different than just shooting in the gym itself,’’ Fisher said.

Doing just that has become a steady pursuit for Fisher, 55, the past three years. His wife, Connie, has been alongside — mostly to rebound misses off the rim at first, now to retrieve makes out of the net, while reinforcing the blazing touch Fisher perfected.

Inside Edition did a shoot last year after the New York Times sent a reporter to the Fishers’ home in Centralia to do a piece that ran March 15. By then, the Tonight Show had expressed interest too, though it decided to wait.

While in the Los Angeles area recently, Fisher placed a call to the show’s producer to gauge interest in an exhibition. They hooked up, studied how the set could accommodate a goal and an appearance was scheduled. Fisher was excited to learn Barkley would also be a guest.

Fisher not only sat next to Barkley during the interview segment with Leno, but also shot against the Hall of Fame forward, who turns 50 next week. For the record, Barkley made 10 free throws during his 30-second shoot.

“I can’t think of anyone better to be on the show with,’’ Fisher related. “Charles is smart, funny and tells it like it is. Plus, he was a great shooter, a lot better than what he gets credit for.’’

That last observation was something Fisher elaborated on as Leno held aloft a picture of Barkley shooting for the Phoenix Suns. Earlier in the show, Barkley exclaimed: “Ain’t nobody (55) can beat me at anything.”

At free throwing, Fisher can beat anyone — with form, and smarts.

“With our brain, the key word is elasticity,’’ he said. “Failure is not failure. Failure is progress. Failure is information.’’

That insight was not something he shared during the brief sit-down with Leno. Instead, Fisher identified Centralia’s proximity to Topeka, modestly referenced his sub-.500 stints coaching at the middle school and high school levels, and mentioned the instructional video he produced five years ago.

Pictures were also shown of the contraption Fisher built to expedite practice from the foul line, with Connie underneath the hoop.

“So this is another dream date with Bob,’’ joked Leno.

Fisher laughed at the remark and also called Connie, who was on set and helped with the shooting segment, “the love of my life.’’

Obviously the 30-second shot block was the entertainment NBC desired. During rehearsal, Fisher was on fire, though the 27 he managed to make for the show sufficiently impressed the audience … and those rooting back home in northeast Kansas.

“Everybody was super, super nice and the producer thought it was great,’’ Fisher said. “Everything went pretty quick.’’

Just like his release.

Limelight finds Fisher

The Marysville Advocate by Julie Perry

Three years and 14 Guinness Book of World Records in free throw shooting will land Bob Fisher, Centralia, in the limelight of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Fisher and his wife Connie attended a Tonight Show taping last month and were invited back to appear as guests during Tuesday’s 10:30 p.m. show on NBC with guest Charles Barkley.

“The producer loves my story of how an average small town guy became a 14-time Guinness world record holder after the age of 50,” Bob Fisher said. “The plan is that I will sit on the couch for an interview and then demo shooting free throws for about 30 seconds. What makes this even better is that Charles Barkley will also be a guest that night. I can’t think of anyone better to be on the show with. From what I know of him, Charles is smart, funny and tells it like it like it is, which is my kind of guy, plus he was a great shooter, a lot better than he gets credit for.”

Fisher, 55, was featured on Inside Edition in March 2012 and appeared on a show in China with other world record holders in 2011.

“For me this is more like ice cream on top of the cake,” Fisher said. “My cousin asked, ‘What’s next? What could be bigger than this?’ and that is a valid question. The Tonight Show has such a legacy that it is just really a huge honor to be asked to be on.”

Fisher continues to practice, but has restructured his schedule to prepare for 30 seconds of shooting instead of trying to build on accuracy.

“I am practicing shooting fast in short bursts,” he said.

Fisher set two records in 2010 — most free throws made in 30 seconds (33); most in one minute (50); and most in one minute made by a pair of shooters with unlimited balls (29 with Garrett Steinlage, Seneca.) Records that fell in 2011 were most shots made underhand in one minute (28); most in one minute while standing on one leg; most made in one hour (2,371); most in one minute blindfolded (22); and most in one minute by a coed pair (32 with Dana Kramer, Wetmore). His records last year were most made in two minutes (92); most in 10 minutes (448); most in one minute using alternate hands (44); most in two minutes with alternating hands (88); most in one minute by a pair of shooters using two balls (24); and most in two minutes blindfolded (37).

The Fishers were at Topeka Seaman Middle School for a demonstration and motivational talk before 600 youths and Friday night he had a shooting demonstration at Wetmore.

“Connie and I are interested in finding a sponsor or sponsors so we can do presentations at schools or clinics with the message that knowledge plus practice plus time equal world class skill in anything,” he said.

Fisher is also working with Holton coach Ryan Noel, a former Valley Heights girls’ basketball coach, to structure a shooting clinic for the summer.

Give it a Shot

The Leaven by Jessica Langdon

CENTRALIA — Olympic athletes — from gymnasts to basketball teams — drew the world’s attention to London this summer.
But the global spotlight is also illuminating the basketball courts of northeast Kansas, no less, thanks to Bob Fisher.
The 54-year-old parishioner of Annunciation Church in Frankfort admits he doesn’t look like the “prototype” basketball star.
And that, he believes, is what makes his journey to becoming the world’s fastest free-throw shooter so remarkable.

‘Almost all of them’

Fisher holds 14 Guinness World Records for free throws — a feat he only started working toward at age 52.
Alternating with a partner. Blindfolded. Standing on one leg.
When he shoots, he scores — record after record.
“He holds almost all of them,” Fisher’s wife Connie said.
But don’t call him naturally talented. It’s not that, he assures.

New ideas

Fisher, a soil conservation technician who has coached teams over the years, started putting in serious practice time in September 2009.
“It was a matter of bringing credibility to the fact that I’ve learned a new and better way to shoot,” he said.
It involves making the force of the ball work for each individual player, a theory he explores in his instructional video “Secrets of Shooting.”
He’s read  everything from John Fontanella’s “The Physics of Basketball” to Daniel Coyle’s “The Talent Code,” and has applied math, neuroscience and physics to his unending quest for improvement.

For the record

Not long after he started practicing free throws, a couple of record-holding friends suggested he shoot for his own.
He tossed around the idea.
And on Jan. 9, 2010, he sank 50 free throws in one minute, officially setting his first Guinness World Record.
He started to wonder: What if I really put my heart into this?

Practice makes greatness

He’s finding out.
Fisher’s accumulating accomplishments brought a visit from sports reporter John Branch of The New York Times.
That visit saw Fisher set six records in an hour.
It isn’t about perfection. Fisher still misses shots.
He also doesn’t always set a record, a lesson he learned the hard way during a trip to China to attempt one during a special show.
But he readily accepts the failures that accompany his victories.
It’s all part of the process, he believes. Fisher learned from Florida State University professor Dr. K. Anders Ericsson — an “expert on experts” — that mastering any skill takes about 10,000 hours of effort.
And that’s “deliberate practice,” with the bar set a bit beyond reach.
“You are reaching and failing, reaching and failing, and then you get to a point where you’ve hit it and you’re able to do it,” said Fisher. “And then you set the bar even higher.”

‘100 billion neurons’

Fisher is living proof that you don’t have to be born with a special gift to excel.
It’s what you do with what you’re given. Intelligence and talents can be developed.
“With knowledge, practice and time, you can become good at anything,” he said, citing Coyle in “The Talent Code.”
“The Lord has given us each 100 billion neurons in our brain,” Fisher said. “And we all have the ability to develop whatever ability we’re passionate enough about to invest the time and effort — and go through the frustration and hard work necessary — to get to the end result.”

Beyond the basketball goal

At a festival in New York, a man in his 30s told Fisher he always thought he was too old to go back to school — until he saw the article about Fisher in The New York Times. He clipped it and hung it in his cubicle.
“Now,” the man proudly said, “I’m attending school.”
So to people of any age — who dream of achieving any goal — Fisher throws this idea:
“If I can do this, then what can you do?”

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.