Gators seeing progress at stripe after visit from shrink – ESPN
8:56 PM ET
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Desperate to improve Florida’s free throw shooting last season, coach Mike White tried a little bit of everything.
He tweaked some of his players’ mechanics. He increased repetitions in practice. He had guys shoot while tired and winded and with some team accountability at stake. He even considered bringing in a sports psychologist.
“I didn’t want it to become more mental than it already was,” White said Tuesday.
So he waited until the offseason.
Over the summer, White brought in renowned sports psychologist Spencer Wood to work with the Gators.
“If you can train your mind, use different methods to understand how to stay in that place — whatever that place is for you or whatever that trigger word is for you — or get you back into that place of calm, or confident, those type things, I think it can help you with the rest of your game as well,” said White, who’s in his second season in Gainesville.
So far, it’s made a noticeable difference for Florida (2-0), which plays St. Bonaventure (1-0) in Lakeland on Thursday night.
After ranking 323rd (out of 346 NCAA teams) from the foul line last season, shooting a meager 64.7 percent, Florida is up to 78.6 percent so far this season. Two games are hardly enough of a sample size to make White a believer, but he wants to think there is improvement.
“You hope that moving forward we can be in the same mindset,” White said. “I’m not sure it’s fixed. I don’t want to sit here and think we’re a great free throw shooting team. But what we’ve seen the first two games is what we’ve been in practice. You want that to continue, of course. Our guys are