How Your Ball Path Effects Your Arc
It is easy to look at this part of our shot as a major source of power, which it is, but it also affects other parts of our shot. A big, and often overlooked, aspect is the arc that we create.
Let’s start with what SHOULD be happening…
We need the ball path that we create to be realistic. By this I mean that you need to be able to get a shot off. One common mistake that I see, particularly in young shooters and especially when doing versions of One Hand Form Shooting, is that the ball will get too far away from the shooter’s body, and too close to the defence. This will result in the ball getting stolen or stripped more often. For this reason, the ball needs to stay close to the body.
In addition, a ball path that has the ball travelling out away from the shooter’s body, then coming back towards the set point, then reversing direction again to go up and forward toward the hoop, will be a complicated ball path. Every time that the ball changes direction we lose the power that we created before that point. For example, we have the ball out away from our body and beginning bringing it back towards the body as we approach the set point, as soon as we reach the set point and the ball changes direction, any energy created before that change is now useless. The backwards energy doesn’t really help you create forward energy (which is ultimately what we want), so the only carry-over comes from our upward energy.
Instead, we want to try to keep the ball moving in a relatively straight line if we were viewing the shooter from the side. That line should be up, and slightly forward. (I’m oversimplifying to make a point. There will be some slight change of directions in all shots, but we are trying to minimize them).
The overlooked aspect out of all this, is the fact that an S-shaped ball path can lead to a flat shot. Let me explain.
Many players that take the ball way out in front of their body also end up bringing it back over their head more than they should. They end up with extremes on both ends of their shot. Unfortunately, when the ball ends up over the shooter’s head, there isn’t room for the elbow to lift, and the result is a flat shot. Having the ball so far from the body creates that backwards motion, and it is very easy to start taking the ball back too far.
Likewise, if the shooter keeps the ball too far from the body throughout their release, they are also in a position to shoot the ball flat. It is very difficult to get under the ball and lift it when the ball is our away from the body.
Avoid thinking of arc as only affected by the last motions of our shot. The reality is that many parts of our shooting motion affect our ability to lift the ball.