The great thing about sports analogies is they provide tangible examples to explain intangible concepts. If you want to win a basketball game, you have to master a variety of offensive and defensive strategies. Dating is the same way.

Special thanks to Tyler Barnes for the initial brainstorming of this list. Anyone who has something to add, e-mail me at venisonskidmore@hotmail.com.



BANK SHOT: You see a friend (male or female) talking to a girl you are interested in. You approach the friend and enter the conversation, which results in an introduction.

LEFT-HANDED BANK SHOT: The friend is not aware of your bank-shot intentions. Neither party sees it coming.

FREE THROWS: Dating for the sake of dating. Not worth as many points, but you'd better make them count when they're uncontested.

OFFENSIVE REBOUND (PUT-BACK, DUNK): Your friend makes the first crack and comes up short, then you sweep in and finish the deal properly.

CLEAR-OUT: Here you take on a group of girls (none of which you know) with the intention of meeting one. Essentially, the offense clears out, and you drive to the hoop unprotected.

THREE-POINT SHOT: Flirting, making phone calls, generally making a weak campaign. If she actually buys it, it is worth more points, but the percentages are low.

RAINBOW JUMPER: A dramatic romantic gesture that looks great if it works, but lousy if it doesn't.

RUNNING JUMPER: Another tough shot that doesn't see a lot of success. Hesitant to take it straight to the hole, but still taking a shot nonetheless. You're making phone calls and going on a few dates, but still letting your fear keep you from being yourself.

CROSS-OVER DRIBBLE: You fake one direction (friends) then go the other (more than friends). It is one of the toughest moves to make, and if you do it successfully, you are well-admired.

RUN-AND-GUN OFFENSE: Not interested in any meaningful relationship, only interested in accumulating as many points as possible.

FAST BREAK: Usually only occurs in LDS settings, you meet, court for two weeks, get engaged, and get married a month later.

DEFENSIVE CONTEST: Not flashy at all, this is focusing so intensely and so persistently on a person over such a long period of time that by the time the contest is over, your friends admire your patience but had a miserable time watching it.



FULL-COURT PRESS: Already a common expression. You have high interest and are putting forth a concentrated effort to succeed.

MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE: Elevated interest, but undetermined. Portfolio is still diversified between five possibilities.

BOX-AND-ONE: Generally apathetic, with one exception. Courting intensity hasn't magnified to Full-Court Press.

DOUBLE TEAM/TRIPLE TEAM: Variations on the Man-to-Man and Box-and-One defenses. More attention means, well, more attention. Could include having friends put in a good word for you.

ZONE DEFENSE: General dating apathy. If someone is in your sector of the court, you pay attention. But if they start to move, you let them go.

DEFENSIVE REBOUND: Another term already in usage ("on the rebound"), essentially a move that plays "not to lose" instead of "plays to win".

STEAL: Another common term, in this case has a positive connotation: you win over a girl no one thinks you had any business with.



ASSIST: A purely selfless action on behalf of a friend. Could be as simple as a passed-on phone number, could be more significant (until it qualifies for ultimate "Alley-Oop" status).

SIXTH MAN: Doesn't have the skills to start, but can help the team pick up a second wind nonetheless.

ALLEY-OOP: The pinnacle of the wingman move. Your best friend sets you up with the girl of our dreams.

PICK-AND-ROLL: A mutual wingman move. You free your friend from a conversation they have no interest in, then they throw you a quick move that enables you to meet a girl you're interested in.

SCREEN: Pure wingman. Friend enters the conversation to distract her friends, leaving you with a one-on-one.

TAKING A CHARGE: A slump buster, a momentum changer. "Taking one for the team" (going to a lame party, going on a set-up, etc.) to provide an opportunity for your friend. Most importantly, this boosts positive Karma.



RINGER: You have been laboring for months, then this guy comes along and picks up the victory with next to no effort.

GOALTENDING: This is a particularly low tactic, known in non-athletic circles as "cutting someone's grass". Taking out your best friend's girlfriend, or just taking out a girl your friend is really interested in.

FLAGRANT FOUL: If you are the violator, it is akin to Goaltending. If you are the victim, it is a particularly unethical form of the Blocked Shot, like getting dumped with an e-mail.

CHERRY-PICKING: An extension of the Run-and-Gun Offense, only the Cherry Picker won't bother to go back on defense and help his friends.



AIR-BALL: After two or three dates (if you can even get them), the girl doesn't remember your name six months later.

DOUBLE-DRIBBLE: Girl sends positive signals, then goes cold quickly. Stops returning phone calls, avoids you in public situations. No explanation. Also known as "Dodgeball" behavior.

TRAVEL: You had a great move, a great line, but couldn't pull it off. You got your hand caught in the cookie jar. But just like in the NBA, superstars can get away with this kind of thing.

BLOCKED SHOT/REJECTION: No explanation necessary.

BRICK: This shot (say, a pick-up line) is so ugly the girl doesn't even need to try to reject it. Your friends are mystified and speechless. You go home and cry alone in your tear-soaked twin bed pillow.



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