Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When you keep missing the basket

Just think of the UConn women’s basketball team in the first half of the championship game which, as the New York Times reporter quipped, “might have set the women’s game back a couple of decades, with both teams shooting at a staggeringly inept pace.” UConn went scoreless for 10 minutes 37 seconds and ended the half with a mere 12 points.

Assuming some prankster hadn’t moved the baskets up or down an inch, I couldn’t fathom how the two best women’s teams in the NCAA were logging stats worthy of junior high players. In the second half UConn got its rhythm back while Stanford “continued firing away like cross-eyed gunslingers.” And thus it was that UConn triumphed for its 78th consecutive victory and coach Geno Auriemma’s seventh national title, “even as perfection never looked so imperfect.”

We don’t know, of course, why there was such a disparity between UConn’s play in the first and second halves. Was it a case of nerves? Was the Stanford defense shutting down UConn’s shooting game and did the coaches or the players figure out a way around the defense during halftime? Whatever the case, halftime seemed to be essential.

A good trader who starts missing the basket repeatedly needs more than a timeout. If she’s going to change her momentum she needs to get off the court, go into the locker room, figure out what’s been going wrong and how she’s going to improve it, and be cajoled (in whatever way is most effective—yelling at stupidity or encouraging the best player in her trading arsenal to step up and take charge) by her inner coach. She can then say with confidence, “I know there’s a run coming.” Oh yes, the UConn player who said this also made it happen.

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