Coach James Janssen of Davidson College

Coach James Janssen is the guest of this episode of the Torg Stories podcast. Coach Janssen is the associate head coach of the women’s basketball team at Davidson College.

You can click on the audio or video versions below and you can also search for “Torg Stories” in the podcast app of an iPhone.

Connect to Torg Stories on Apple podcasts by clicking here.

Here are some topics covered during the conversation:

  • U17 Basketball World Cup
  • Coach Janssen and the Australian Basketball Landscape
  • Division of labor among the staff at Davidson
  • Tag Up System of Offensive Rebounding and Transition Defense

Thanks for checking out this episode of the Torg Stories Podcast!

Disney World Vacation: Resources for Planning

During the summer of 2022 my family took a trip to Disney World in Orlando. Before I share some of the resources I used to plan our trip, here are some relevant details:

  1. When did we go? We decided in April of 2022 to visit Walt Disney World starting Sunday August 7th
  2. Who went on the trip? Myself, my wife Megan, Charlotte age 16 and Izzy age 14
  3. Had we been before? Just once, ten years ago in 2012.
  4. What kind of vacations do we like? We mostly like to be on the go when it comes to a vacation. We thought about flying into Seattle, renting a car, and driving to Los Angeles but the high cost of plane tickets made us look for an alternate trip. You might say my wife Megan is the best at knowing how to relax. My daughter Izzy and I are the ones who really like to go from one thing to the next. Izzy is the most adventurous amusement park rider. My wife and I can both get motion sickness.
Ten years between family Disney World trips
photographs by Megan Torgerson

Here are some of the questions I remember facing pretty quickly in my planning. I’ll get to answering them in upcoming posts:

  1. How many nights should we stay?
  2. Which hotel resort?
  3. Would we go to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT?
  4. Should I purchase the park hopper option?
  5. What about Genie+? 

Here are some resources I found helpful for the planning of our trip:

  1. The Kindle version of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2022. I use an iPad to read from the Kindle app, and I really enjoy being able to highlight passages and take notes in the app.
  2. Purchased access to the book’s accompanying website TouringPlans.com. This included access to their Lines WDW phone app. I used this app constantly during our time in Orlando and found that its estimated wait times for rides was more accurate than what was posted in each Disney Park.
  3. Downloaded and started to get familiar with the Disney World phone app.

The Disney World and Lines WDW apps were not only useful in trip planning, but I also used them constantly when we were in the parks.

Some helpful YouTube videos:

  1. Genie+ Priorities at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom. These are all videos published on the TouringPlans channel.
  2. How to Conquer Rise of the Resistance by AllEars.net.
  3. How to get a boarding group for any Disney attraction. by Mark Ambrose. This one helped us nail our boarding group for EPCOT’s new coaster Guardians of the Galaxy.
  4. My Disney Experience APP Tutorial by Bear Savvy.

Two podcasts I listened to:

  1. Disney Travel Secrets
  2. That Park Life

Thanks for checking out this post and let me know in the comments section if you’ve got your own tips you think would be helpful to others or if you have additional questions about our family trip.

Writing Across the Curriculum and the Vertical Writing Model at App State

Conversation with Dr. Sarah Zurhellen, Assistant Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

Welcome to the August 2, 2022 edition of the Torg Stories podcast. On this episode I talk with Dr. Sarah Zurhellen, assistant director of the Writing Across the Curriculum program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

This conversation is a part of a larger project in which I’m focusing on that examines the progression from the required first year writing course at App State, then to the Writing Across the Curriculum course that I most frequently teach, and on to the writing in the discipline and capstone course that student take as a part of the vertical writing model.

Audio only version above / also available in the Apple Podcast app.

Thanks for checking out the podcast!

Podcast on Directing Composition, Required Writing Courses, and the Vertical Writing Model at App State

Welcome to the June 6, 2022 edition of the Torg Stories podcast. On this episode I talk with Dr. Bethany Mannon. Bethany directs the Rhetoric and Composition program at App State University. I am a lecturer in that program, and I teach a second year required course called Writing Across the Curriculum / RC 2001. 

This conversation is a part of a larger project I am working on that examines the progression from the required first year writing course at Appalachian State to the Writing Across the Curriculum class I most often teach, and then on to the Writing in the Discipline courses that are taught within each major. 

Audio only version of the podcast also available in the podcast app of an iPhone.

I’m always hoping the podcasts can work as conversation starters among writers, students, and those who teach writing. It would be great to hear about your experiences taking and teaching writing courses.

Shot Talk: A Conversation About Shooting the Basketball

  1. This isn’t a “how to shoot” or a “how to teach shooting” video. I’m trying to answer this question: when I watch these shooters, what do I notice?
  2. What shooters did I watch? Steph Curry, Sue Bird, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, and JJ Redick.
  3. Who are some of my influences when it comes to teaching shooting? Indiana HS Coach Sam Alford, his son Steve’s workout videos, Dick Baumgartner, Dave Love and Drew Hanlon.
  4. When I have questions about shooting–for example, where should the guide hand be placed?–I try to watch video of great shooters and look for the answers.
  5. I think of this video and post as a sort of video remix about shooting. Yes, I am using short screen grabs from other people’s YouTube posts the way I might use a quote from a writer’s article writing my own research paper. As a kind of Works Cited, I will link you to each video I screen grab for this project. I hope you will check out some of those YouTube channels and that my linking to them sparks some great conversation / content about shooting.
  6. A belief I have about shooting: good shooters don’t shoot the same way. There are multiple ways to be a good shooter. By the way, I believe the same thing about writing.
  7. For this video analysis, I looked for mostly catch and shoot situations. Great shooters don’t shoot the ball the same way every time. Sometimes the situation–off the dribble or sprinting off a screen–demand the shooter do something different when it comes to footwork, balance, or the path the ball takes from catch to release.

Here’s the screen capture from my study of Steph Curry, Sue Bird, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, and JJ Redick.

image of Steph Shooting from SC30.com

After watching the shooters in the above video, what did you see worth bringing to this discussion?

Here are some of my thoughts after watching those shooters:

  1. A consistent shooting motion can overcome minor mechanical flaws related to some idea of an ideal shot. I need to chill out about some more minor things I see with the players I work with.
  2. Left / right footwork for a right handed shooter is a good starting place. Step toward the ball on the pass with the left foot and put the right foot down on the catch.
  3. The pocket is where the ball is taken on the catch. Teach the pocket as a ball width away from the stomach and slightly toward the side of the body of the shooting hand. I first heard the pocket described that way by Dave Love.
  4. Rather than keep the ball close to the body as it travels from the pocket to the release, the ball travels away from the body to the set point in what looks like a half circle. The upper arms, forearms, and hands can move together as one to the set point. See examples in video above.
  5. I teach what I call rhythm shooting. This rhythm includes taking the ball down to the pocket as needed, (if the ball wasn’t caught there) flexing the legs, and then the ball starts to rise toward the set point just ahead of the legs starting to push and extend. The timing of that process, which is one fluid motion with no stops, is what I mean by rhythm. The word tempo also comes to mind.
  6. I prefer the shooter and the ball go up and toward the basket. Many players have something (hand, jump, footprint) that goes somewhere not toward the hoops. A very common flaw is for a player to drift a lot if they are catching on the move. Some twist of the body is fine and this can become more pronounced depending on what kind of shot is being taken. Of course as players’ skill evolves, they will make use of fade aways, step backs, and drifting in a direction to get away from the defense.

When I finished this project, I wondered where the players I work with look when they shoot. I think they can watch the flight of the ball, the front of the rim, or the back of the rim, but I realized I had not talked much about that to the players I work with.

I do have a routine I use when I start working with a player on their shot. Perhaps that is a future post.

Here is a list of the videos I used in making the video on this page. Again, I am thinking of these videos in my video as quotes I would use in writing a research paper.

Image of Steph Curry on right from SC30.com

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section or on Twitter about what you noticed when you watched these shooters shoot.