In the depths of a prolonged shooting slump, Rock Island senior basketball player C.J. Carr recalls his mental state.|
"Depression," Carr said. "Once you're not hitting shots, it's terrible."
Funks are part of the game, causing frustration levels to rise as the shooting percentages fall. Carr is not joking when his mood shifts during the rough stretches that take time to escape. Missing shots certainly is tough to accept.
"Your confidence gets low, and it's hard to get out of it," Rocky senior guard Trae Babers said. "You need the support from your coach and teammates to get out of it."
Three players — Babers, Rocky junior guard Trey Sigel and Alleman junior forward Joey Mihm — have connected on the most 3-pointers in Western Big 6 Conference play despite encountering lengthy slumps at some point in the last year that shake the confidence.
Sigel labeled a slump toward the end of last season as "disappointing" before talking about the encouragement he received from teammates and coaches.
Most of all, he had to trust himself that shots would fall.
"You just have to keep shooting," Sigel said. "People tell me that all the time, even people who aren't associated with the program."
Sometimes a jolt can restore the confidence, but hitting shots is the perfect fix.
"It's great," Carr said. "It's the best feeling that you're giving your team what they need from you."
Within the last week, Babers, Mihm and Sigel experienced that feeling. Babers and Mihm each hit five 3-pointers last Friday in league games, with Babers needing seven attempts against Moline and Mihm taking 11 shots at Quincy.
One night later, Sigel upped the ante.
After missing his first four 3-point attempts, he connected on his last six to finish with a game-high 22 points in a 70-58 win over Proviso West. Included in the 3-spree was a 30-footer that splashed through the net as the first-half clock expired.
"You're not really satisfied," said Sigel, who has a Big 6-leading 10 3-pointers in four league games. "Basketball is a game of imperfectness. You can't be perfect, so there's always room for improvement."
Still, a torrid shooting night needs to be savored.
"It obviously helps a lot," said Mihm, who ranks second with nine 3-pointers in league play. "Going forward, it gives me a lot of confidence. It shows my teammates that I can knock them down."
As quickly as the shots can fall, they can clank off the iron as well.
"In the last few games, I haven't been hitting shots," Carr said. "I'm getting the ball to my teammates — creating for others to make the team better."
Ironically, that can end funks for others.
"The best satisfaction is knowing my teammates are confident in me shooting," Sigel said. "That's all that matters."
Words away from the court also offer a boost. Mihm said his confidence grew when Alleman coach Pat Rangel gave him "the green light to shoot."
"I just needed to get the confidence to let it fly," Mihm said.
When breaking through a funk, that's all it takes. No matter how many shots you take during a game or practice, the ability to knock them down comes down to confidence.
Other factors do play a role, but trusting your form, rhythm and ability provides the confidence needed to consistently make shots.
Then again, Sigel sees one other aspect that plays a part.
"My grandpa has a saying that the harder you work, the luckier you get," Sigel said. "I've kept that to heart."
Confidence and luck seem to be the perfect combination.
Metro boys' basketball writer Daniel Makarewicz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @danmak57
Big 6 boys' standings
School W-L Conf.
Quincy 12-3 4-0
Rock Island 14-3 3-1
Galesburg 11-8 3-1
Alleman 6-10 1-3
UTHS 3-14 1-3
Moline 9-8 0-4
Tonight's games (all 7:30 p.m.)
Rock Island at Quincy
Alleman at Galesburg
Moline at United Township