March 31, 2014
A little background. It is a canonical bit of athletic lore that players periodically get “hot.” Basketball players in particular are thought to get into a zone that allows them to drain shot after shot. Standard coaching practice suggests that when a player is clearly hot, the other team members should feed him or her the ball as much as possible to take advantage of this boost in performance.
For thirty years the hot hand fallacy has been a standard topic in psychology textbooks. Alan Reifman, a professor of human development and family studies at Texas Tech, writes a popular blog on the hot hand, and he has contributed the only full-length book on the topic, Hot Hand: The Statistics Behind Sports' Greatest Streaks.