By ELENA DE ALFREDO
The alarm rings. It is 8 a.m. on a Tuesday: time for Jenny Horvatinovic to wake up. Horvatinovic is a senior guard basketball player at UT, and she is relentless on her daily work routine to improve her game. Every morning, she prepares a bowl of milk with cereal for breakfast, gets dressed and walks to the gym. Once there, Horvatinovic goes through her individual workout before the team arrives for practice at 10 a.m.
However, Horvatinovic is not by herself. There is somebody who never leaves the gym and is always on time. Her name is Noah, but she is not a person. Noah is a new technological tool who is always ready to help players like Horvatinovic, to improve their shooting abilities.
“It is extremely important to work on your shot because it is all muscle memory and repetition,” Horvatinovic said. “I try to work on it from five to six times a week if possible.”
In basketball, shooting is one of the most important skills that a player needs in order to succeed. Shooting is an art, and it takes a lot of repetition, time and commitment in order to improve it.
Noah is a machine developed in 1993 by a trio of friends from Silicon Valley who loved basketball. Alan Marty, Ridge McGhee and Tom Edwards were also science experts. Marty, is a physicist, McGhee has extensive knowledge in the computer field and Edwards is a rocket scientist.
The primary purpose of these scientific experts was to help their daughters become better shooters. Because of the successful results, this invention became a revolutionary shooting machine. Noah measures the arc and depth of every shot taken and gives instant feedback. It allows the players to instantly correct their shots and build muscle memory, which helps them increase their confidence.
Noah verbally says a number, which refers to the shooting arc, after every shot is taken. Experts have shown that the arc of the shooter should be in between 42 and 48 degrees. So, when the player shoots and the machine gives them an instant number of the angle of the arc, the shooter already knows if they should keep shooting the same way), or if they should have more arc on the shoot.
The official Noah basketball website (www.noahbasketball.com) explains that the shooting percentages in basketball have been regularly flat and even declining from professional to amateur levels. The website provides an alarming example from the NBA, where it says that the average free throw shooting percentage has been constant at about 74 percent since 1958.
Noah has been used for everything from NBA teams, such as the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, to college and high school programs.
UT’s women’s basketball is one of the programs that counts on this machine and uses it at practices on a daily basis. UT women’s basketball head coach Tom Jessee believes in statistics as an extremely important part of the game. Hhe decided to purchase this machine so the players could develop their shooting percentages by educating their technique.
Noah has been available to the team for two seasons and has helped players improve their release points when shooting and therefore, their percentages.
This machine could be important in youth basketball because it allows kids to learn the techniques correctly, so there is no need to fight against the lack of fundamentals or technique, Jessee said.
Senior forward Teresa Kucera is a German native and she had never been able to work with this kind of device until she transferred to UT last year. Women’s basketball clubs in Germany and even at her previous school Seton Hall in New Jersey, did not use this highly technological engine.
“Noah has really helped me to become more comfortable with my shot,” Kucera said. “I work with it as much as I can and I definitely see a big improvement comparing myself to the years before.”
Kucera is not the only one who has been benefited from Noah’s services. Faith Sanders is a junior guard transfer from Northern Kentucky University, has been emphasizing her shooting and has started to feel improvement after using Noah this past month.
“When I came here, the Noah machine being accessible was a very good improvement from my last school,” Sanders said. “I didn’t know how to fix the flatness of my shot and thanks to this machine now it’s like my brain automatically tells me how to do it.”
The women’s basketball team takes pride in keeping up with this equipment to give the players resources to be successful.
“I highly recommend it because combining Noah with the shooting gun you get the arc angle and the repetition,” Jessee said. “I waited for years trying to get it because it is a piece of equipment that will help players to be better at a skill.”