Let me first start off by saying that the Cyclone Alley leaders don't get much love on this board. I do agree with some of the things said, but in all, I think CA is doing "okay." Handing out replica jerseys this year was pretty neat in my opinion. It's a tough job to keep our rowdy students happy and organized and I give them credit in making CA more organized than a lot of other student sections in the country. Other than the CA leaders always getting the front row, I only have one other complaint: the free throw distractions. 1. What We Do. The left to right and hand waving just doesnt do it for me. Especially because we've got people waving those giant Toyota signs too late. If you want to distract a shooter, you make the sudden movement a second before he actually shoots; not while the ball is on his fingertips. By the time the action is made, the shooter has released the shot already. The "sit-down stand-up" out of time outs is the one thing I like that we do. However, again, we do it just a tad too late every time. The overall crowd noise is probably still the most effective tool we have. On sound-off a hawk fan said he saw the rim actually shaking when Gesell was shooting those late game FTs. I can't imagine shooting with the ground beneath me vibrating. -on a side note, the guy who yells "quiet please" during our FTs is just as distracting to our own players as our crowd is to theirs. If our player already has the ball in his hands and is about to shoot, DO NOT YELL QUIET PLEASE. You're just like those kids from the last couple years who yell "It's in the hole" from the balcony. I like the idea and the sign. Just do it early enough not to play mind games with our shooter. 2. What Other Teams Do. Big Heads - Our students aren't keeping up with the sheer number of heads that some other schools have. I think we could if we really wanted to. We tried it, but it seems like we kind of gave up. It's not really a distraction anyway. The giant Georges is still great and gets plenty of camera attention for games on TV. Long Balloons or Foam Sticks - These can be distracting if used correctly. It's a neat switch-up but it isn't any more effective than hands and arms. Spirals/Hypnosis - I'm sure most of you have seen the large circular spirals twirled behind the hoop by schools like Clemson. I think it's an interesting and original idea, but the effectiveness is questionable if it's only a handful of students doing it. A sea of spirals could be really cool. One Guy - From Duke's speedo guy, to Dayton's shirtless fat guy, to Utah State's Wild Bill, the single man distraction can really get into a shooter's head. (Watch the linked videos; especially the speedo guy). I think if used sparingly (3 or 4 times a game) this could be a great way to make even the best shooters miss. We have the perfect person to do this. I'll get to that later. 3. What We Could Do. Field of Background Motion - The first suggestion I'm going to make is scientifically proven to lesson an opposing team's FT percentage. A scientist did the study that showed by making the background look like it was swaying, the shooter's eye would overcorrect and miss. Instead of rapidly waving our arms, this calls for SLOWLY waving the entire section's arms at the same time back and forth like waves in the water. The Dallas Mavericks and Notre Dame both have done this. Here is the article from the NY Times. A very god read. Our version of one guy - It's so obvious. Jared Brackens in his fat woman costume is the perfect candidate to do this for us. The entire student section sits down and lets Jared do his thing. Why not give it a try? Sound - Science shows that sound distractions can actually be more effective than visual ones. (Here's a quick study by sports science.) Basically your brain can filter visual distractions but is unable to filter audial ones. Sounds can speed up your heart rate and physically change the motion of your shot. I've never heard Hilton louder than when Gesell was shooting those free throws. Hilton's decibel levels have been measured around 110 in the past, but I am certain we topped that last Friday. An organized scream could really affect a shooter. My suggestion is that Cy or a CA leader orchestrates the entire crowd from the sidelines. The crowd gets completely silent, but when the orchestrator raises his arms, everyone screams. When he lowers them, its back to silence. A series of random screams once or twice a second the entire time a shooter is preparing to shoot could be extremely distracting. I also like the sound of the siren that the band does sometimes and could see that being really annoying if the entire crowd was in on it too. Colored Signs - This one is easy. Prior to the game, CA will hand out dual-sided colored posters (preferably 11x17 but could be as small as 8.5x11 to save money). One side is cardinal, the other gold. Just blank posters. (I hate to say this, but here's a link to what UI did for a national anthem awhile back for an example.) During a FT attempt, one color will be held up by CA, periodically the orchestrator will give the cue to quickly flip the poster to the other side. It will flash the colors back and forth. I've never seen anyone do this before and it could be ISU's own original FT distraction. Here are a couple other links to some sites about free throw distractions Utah State Fans - Fine Art Of The Free Throw Distraction - Photos - SI.com 15 Impressive Free Throw Distractions Let me know your thoughts and suggestions!