Bruce Lee, the famous actor/kung fu expert had a great quote that leads me to believe he would have made a pretty good shooting coach.
“I don’t fear the man that has practiced 10,000 different kicks. I fear the man that has practiced the same kick 10,000 different times.”
Awesome stuff. He basically saying “muscle memory is key”. The more often you do something, the better you know how to do it, the better you can control it, the more often you can repeat exactly what you intend to do.
It’s that way in shooting. We are trying to limit variables. The fewer variables, the more parts of your shot are repeatable. Need an over-simplified example? We make more shots when we are stationary than when we are moving. Why? Fewer variables to control. Can we accurately calculate all the things your brain needs to calculate in order to make a shot, but then can we also EXECUTE exactly what you calculate?
Which brings me to my point. I want players to try to lock their elbow on every shot. Eliminate a variable and create a constant instead. Your brain is going to have to calculate the distance to shoot the ball, then your body is going to have to determine how to create that amount of force. We don’t want it to have to determine how much force, AND when to stop the hand moving. We would like (in a perfect world) the locking to me a constant. Something that is the same every shot, so that your brain only has to determine the force it will create, not the force AND the timing.
And we should be doing this with as many parts of our body as possible. If there is a debate between a constant motion and a variable motion, you will almost always be better off with the constant.