3 unconventional strategies in sports

These strategies were designed to achieve victory in any way possible.

Lakers player taking a free kick.

Strategies to achieve victory are very common in different sports. / Photo: Unsplash - Ramiro Pianarosa

LatinamericanPost| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: 3 estrategias poco convencionales del mundo de los deportes

It is true that in sports characteristics such as strength, agility and flexibility are key. However, creativity and ingenuity can also lead to victory. These are some of the strategies that teams and individuals have used to win and that perhaps you did not know.

1. Hack-a-Shaq

This basketball strategy is as old as the NBA itself. Its name derives from the famous weakness of legendary Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal: its inability to shoot free throws. It translates to "Hit Shaq" in Spanish. The idea is that, during important moments in the game, the defending team fouls the worst free-throw shooter on the team that is attacking, so that its possession of the ball ends up on the free-throw line.

When the strategy is applied to an especially bad player for free throws, like Shaq, this can reduce his offensive effectiveness. Two points that were guaranteed in attack are reduced to one or none. (Shaq's ERA was 52%).

However, this strategy was not so desired by the league, so in 2016 the additional rule was introduced that a foul on a player who does not have possession of the ball during the last minutes of any quarter grants him a free kick and possession of the ball to the team that is fouled.

The controversial strategy has been used multiple times against players like DeAndreJordan, Dwight Howard and Ben Simmons who dominate the low post but have poor free throw conversion rates. In the following video you can see it in action at Andre Drummond.

2. Ice the Kicker

This American football strategy is pure mental pressure. It is about asking for a time before the kicker of the opposite team performs its kick, in order to break its routine and make it fail on the second attempt. This play is frequently made when the game is on the line, in order to increase the mental pressure the kicker receives. Its effectiveness has been widely discussed, but what is certain is that it is an excellent way to distinguish kickers who are mentally strong from those who are not.

It is noteworthy that coaches can ask for the timeout even when the kicker is starting to kick the ball, so if they achieve the point in that attempt it does not count. This can cause great frustration that adds to mental pressure.

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3. The “dance” of Emanuel Augustus

In this case we are not talking about a team strategy but a style with a very clear purpose that was used by ex-professional boxer Emanuel Augustus. Augustus competed from 1994 to 2001 and was known as the "Drunken Master" or the "Drunk Master" in Spanish.

This is due to his unorthodox form of combat in which he swayed, made dance moves, and moved as if he was going to lose his balance in order to surprise and frustrate his opponents. He smiled and joked in the ring as if the fight was a game for him. It is a style that is better seen than narrated.

It is difficult to say whether Augustus' style was efficient as his record of 38 wins, 34 losses and 6 draws is not very impressive. However, he did win the International Boxing Association Super Lightweight Title in 2004 and has been described by many renowned boxers as a nightmare to face. Among them is Floyd Mayweather JR, one of the best boxers of the decade who said his fight with Augustus " was one of the most difficult he has ever had."

It is also important to remember that Augustus's way of fighting was not well regarded among boxing connoisseurs, as they thought that “it denigrated the sport”. For this reason he lost many of his fights that were decided, making it difficult to measure his true ability.