4 Steps to Perfect Free Throws

NBA Finals, Game 7…Your team is down one point…One second left… A foul and two free throws coming… Who do you want at the charity stripe?

Of course, we’d like to have a Reggie Miller or a Larry Bird or even better Michael Jordan at the line to sink those crucial shots. Chances are, though, they’re not on your team. So now what? It’s up to you!

So how do you build the skill and confidence needed to win the big games at the charity stripe? 4 simple steps: RitualizeVisualizeOptimizeCapitalize.

Free throws are an important part of your game. How many times have we seen games come down to the final seconds and either be won or lost at the free throw line? All the time! So learn these 4 timeless secrets and join the ranks of John Stockton and become a Great free throw shooter.

1. Ritualize

Ritualize means you create a specific repeating pattern of behavior prior to performance, a regular pre-task routine, which sharpens your focus, concentration and attention.

Reggie Miller would step up to the line holding the ball on his hip with his left hand and place his feet about 12-14 inches apart with his right foot slightly forward. He then would raise his arm straight up towards the basket with his hand bent as if he had just released the ball. Then he would take three consecutive dribbles, sit back into a slight crouch and let if fly. Every free throw was exactly the same.

Karl Malone could be seen mouthing something to himself (We have no idea what he was saying) right before he shot the ball. Whatever ritual you develop for yourself, know that it’s the most effective device for delivering yourself into the mindset you must be in to sink every free throw.

“Repetition brings familiarity, and familiarity is the opposite of the unknown.” – Steven Levenkron

2. Visualize

Visualize means mentally rehearsing or “seeing” in your mind what you intend to do before you do it. When you visualize perfect form and a flawless shot that draws nothing but the bottom of the net, it becomes exponentially more likely to happen.

You’ve heard the saying, “What you see is what you get”, haven’t you? Focus on the process and see perfection. You’ll find that visualization is a powerful tool.

“I see a mental movie before I hit every shot.” – Jack Nicklaus

3. Optimize

Optimize means allowing yourself to trust in yourself and your capabilities, to have the self-confidence to pull the ripcord, knowing the parachute will open. Simply put don’t hesitate! Delay does damage.

Nike said it best with their million dollar slogan: “Just Do It!” This is when shooting free throws just becomes automatic.

“You must seek to have control and then act with abandon!” – Anonymous

4. Capitalize

Capitalize means celebrate your success as well as the success of yourteammates. Pat yourself on the back with each success at the line. When you make your free throws savor the success, nourish it, grow it, use it – capitalize on it. Allow it to build your confidence in other aspects of your game – defense, offense or whatever. Let this positive energy ooze out all over you and your team.

“What I do best is share my enthusiasm.” – Bill Gates

With these easy-to-follow principles you can become the elite free throw shooter of your team. Actually, you can apply these principles to every part of your game. Whatever you do, keep on shooting!

Taxes on Wealth

Taxes on wealth or simply wealth tax is the tax levied on the value of wealth owned by a person. As the term ‘wealth’ carries with it a broader meaning, generally capital transfer taxes (which include inheritance tax and gift tax), property tax, and capital gains taxes are some times invariably referred to as wealth taxes.

Taxes on wealth were first introduced in Europe, aimed at reducing the growing wealth gap between the rich and the poor. It was meant to raise revenue for addressing pressing social requirements and also to discourage the attitude towards amassing wealth.

Still, in countries across the world, majority of wealth is concentrated at the hands of fairly small number of people. Ideally taxes on wealth cuts down the disparities in wealth rather than the income, which actually is the determinant factor on how the scales are weighed for the next generations.

Also, taxes on wealth can bring about vertical as well as horizontal equity, which income tax fails to achieve. For example, neither a wealthy person nor a poor one with no income will pay income tax. But the wealthy ones need to cough up wealth tax while the poor need not.

But, as critics puts down, taxes on wealth can actually cause inefficiency by discouraging wealth producing economic initiatives. Also, the revenue generated by imposing taxes on wealth may not be that productive as the theory suggests. The wealthiest form only a small percentage of the population and by nature they are adept at avoiding taxes while remaining themselves within the contours of law.

Taxes on wealth comes in two forms – the capital transfer taxes that are levied when wealth change hands and the annual wealth taxes. Capital transfer taxes can occur either at death – also called inheritance tax – or via donation (gift tax). Some people tend to believe that Capital Gains tax to be a form of taxes on wealth. But in realty, capital gains tax is the taxation on the income obtained on capital and not a wealth tax on the capital.

Ideally, taxes on wealth should not be severe on the tax payers even if they have lots of wealth. Instead, after the minimum slab of no taxation, the taxes on wealth percentage should increase at increments, depending on the value of wealth in dollars. Such a fairer taxation not only increases the revenue but also goes a long way in bringing down the inequality aspect as well.

But with intelligent investing, one can save a lot that other wise goes as wealth tax. But that requires careful thought and advanced planning. May be a tax professional could help one in this regard.

Parents and Newborns

One must admit that becoming a parent is one of the greatest joys that life can bring to a person. Some believe that having a child is definitely the greatest gift that one can ever receive in his/her entire lifetime.

Some women can’t wait to become mothers. One can just imagine the glee that these young women feel when they find out that she and her husband are bound to be parents in a few month’s time! Surely, having a child is as exciting as it can get. You have to wait for nine months before the child comes out of his/her mother’s womb.

A person can’t just get enough of a newborn baby. Whether the baby is his/her’s, a person will always wish to hold the baby’s tiny hands. You will see that people will crowd over the newborn. You will hear all the gibberish words that this planet has to offer. It’s as if the baby can understand such language. More often than not, babies will smile or even giggle when they hear someone talking to them in gibberish. Given this scenario, the person talking gibberish to the baby can’t help but feel a warm sense of pride because he/she was able to make the baby smile or giggle. A baby’s laughter can get infectious. Actually, just looking at a baby’s or a child’s angelic face is enough to make one’s troubles disappear even for a short while.

However, raising an infant is not always about fun. There are plenty of bumps that must be taken care of in the road of parenthood. Many sleepless nights will be experienced. You will wake up suddenly to sounds of your baby’s shrill cry. The baby must have wet himself/herself. It’s also possible that the baby had a bad dream. Also, the baby must be feeling cold, hot, irritated, etc.

The next issue to be discussed is the baby’s health. The infant’s body systems are not quite developed as those of adults. Therefore, babies get sick most of the time. A parent feels alarmed when he/she finds out that his/her baby is suffering from a fever. Who doesn’t? Babies are such wonderful creatures. They look so angelic, helpless, and innocent. One can’t help but feel instantly protective of the babies. As much as possible, one wants everything to feel right for the little infant.

A baby can get to be quite a bundle if he/she is spoiled as an infant. He/she, even as a toddler, would like to get things done his/her way. It is not unusual for children to throw tantrums every now and then. You would too if you know that the people around you will scurry towards you to give you what you want. There’s nothing wrong with giving a child what he/she wants. However, one must take care not to go overboard. It’s possible that some children will take advantage of your weakness — seeing them cry.

You will learn that giving in to each and every whim of the child will lead to headaches. The child will always have tantrums if he/she doesn’t get what he/she wants. The child might think that he/she has power over you. Avoid these kinds of scenarios. Do show your child who the boss is. As much as possible don’t hit them. Doing such an act will lead to further complications. Talk to them in a kind but firm voice. This will tell them that you are not mad at them. You are merely explaining what they’ve done wrong. You can even enter a compromise with them. It all depends on how you approach the subject matter at hand.

Enjoying your baby is the greatest thing a parent can ever experience.  You will love it just as much as I have and in no time you will want to have another!