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A MATTER OF MIND
Paul Westhead, basketball coach at La Salle College in Philadelphia as well as a Shakespearean scholar who teaches English at La Salle, turned this season to psychic energy to help his team. He preaches the power of positive thinking and has given his young charges extensive doses of psycho-cybernetic instruction (basic principle: vivid images of a desired result in the mind's eye help achieve that result).
"We have our guys practice making free throws over and over again in their minds," says Westhead. "We've even had some of the players practice shooting free throws with their eyes closed."
Westhead had an opportunity to put his preachings to use in a game against archrival Villanova. With three seconds remaining and La Salle behind 70-69, the Explorers' Darryl Gladden was fouled. Villanova called time out before the free throw, to put the pressure on the freshman.
"I told Darryl to relax, close his eyes and do his cybernetics," says Westhead. "He looked at me wide-eyed and said, 'Coach, this is no time to screw around.' Everybody on the bench broke up, but I think it helped Darryl get loose."
In any case, the youngster sank both ends of the one-and-one, and La Salle was triumphant, 71-70.