Synchronizing Your Shot
But before we go too deep into this topic, lets make sure we understand something. Range isn’t about just getting the ball to the rim. Range isn’t determined by whether you can get the ball to the rim. Consistently clanging ball after ball off the rim but rarely making a shot doesn’t mean you have that kind of range. Your range is determined by the results. What distance can you actually make a high enough percentage of shots to justify shooting from that distance. Remember, you have four other capable human beings standing on the floor with you.
One of the most common issues that I see in players who should be capable of shooting from a greater distance, but struggle with accuracy (like 6’7″ NBA players that are capable from the midrange but struggle from 3), is that their body isn’t firing in the correct sequence. They use one part of their body, and then they use another part, but they don’t use the two together.
Most commonly in players of all ages, is the use of the legs too early in the shot. This happens particularly with players that really struggle on free throws.
The player bends their legs, then begins the shooting motion by lifting the ball as they start extending their legs. Many times, this results in the legs being fully extended by the time the ball arrives at the player’s set point, but now they have no legs to push with.
What I try to encourage players that struggle with synchronizing their body to do is to keep the legs engaged until the ball gets to around the set point, then fire the legs and the arms at the same time. I’ll phrase this a couple of different ways, hoping to find something that makes sense to the player I’m working with. The phrasing is usually something along the lines of “keep your legs down longer” or “start the ball, then start the legs.” There is no correct way to phrase it, you are just trying to find something that makes sense to the player.
Ideally, we would like the ankles, knees, hips, arm and wrist all extending at the same time. This will allow for maximum power output, and it is part of the reason someone like Steph Curry can shoot what looks like an effortless shot from 25 feet out.