But before we get into that, let’s make sure we understand why balance is so important.
When we talk about balance we need to make sure that players understand that their ability to get and maintain their balance directly impacts their ability to control their shots and keep their shots simple. Picture a player taking a couple of hard dribbles going to their left. That player is generating a lot of energy moving left in order to get into a shooting position, but if they don’t have good balance then the energy will continue to flow left as they start to shoot, and the ball either misses left, or the player needs to create opposite energy to cancel the “left” energy out. However, if a player has great balance, they are basically able to quickly stop all negative energy (in this case going left) and create positive energy (going at the target and/or straight up in the air). It stands to reason, that if a player is quickly able to shoot what is basically as stationary shot (I’m over-simplifying to make a point) they will shoot a higher percentage.
Our balance helps us simplify each shot.
While the feet do play a major role in a player’s balance, so does just about every other part of a players body. For the purpose of this blog, we are going to focus on their spine.
My goal is for players to get their spine vertical on each shot (as much as possible).
My reasoning is, if a player’s spine is more vertical, they have a better chance of placing equal weight on each foot, and therefore push evenly with both feet. The resulting even leg push should help a player push straight up in the air, creating positive power. If a player were to be leaning their spine to the left, they would have more weight on their left foot, and likely push more with with their left leg, creating some negative energy. Can you make shots like this?
But we will likely make more shots when the majority of the energy created by our body is positive. Pointed at the target, and straight up in the air.
And this idea applies to more than just the spine. I’ll even watch player’s heads. Some players will lean their head to the left, and because the head is relatively heavy and at the end of the body, it can pull the body off balance.
So what I try to do is visualize straight lines. Are the lower legs/shins of players relatively vertical? How about the spine? How about the head? All those things together will go a long way towards making sure the player maintains simple and repeatable shooting mechanics.