Filed in Science

The Hot Hand Sutra

Larry Shainberg

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Two years ago, while researching an article on sports, I came upon a conundrum that resisted any attempt to confine it to the language of the conventional sports page. It concerns a cherished gospel of the playing field that athletes and their fans call the "Hot Hand." Heat in this case refers to transcendence, an inexplicable escalation of energy and skill. A golfer with a Hot Hand will send his drives twenty or thirty yards beyond his ordinary range; an archer will see her arrows graze each other as they strike the bull's eye; a basketball player will hit a string of shots so acrobatic and indifferent to defense that he seems linked by invisible channels to the basket.

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