I have a shooting theory. It is a series of ideas and concepts that I have developed over my many years working with different coaches, teams, and players. The theory has proven time and again to improve players’ shooting performance and it informs the changes, drills, or adjustments that I use with them.
It is important to have theoretical ideas as your starting point. These theories and ideas should lead to one solid truth and endpoint: giving the ball the best possible chance of going through the hoop.
But because every player is different, their habits and bodies are different, their needs will also be slightly different.
So when people ask about shooting theory, I try to be as simple as possible to start, just because there are so many variables.
Don’t box yourself in by having a rigid theory that players must fit into; both Klay and Steph are incredible shooters, but their shooting form couldn’t be more different. Very rarely is there “right and wrong” when it comes to shooting a basketball. There is only gray area. Very rarely do we ever truly MASTER anything… we only try to get BETTER.
With that in mind, I aim to start with very BROAD ideas, and then drill down to the specifics of each player I work with.
Here are my 3 shooting NON-NEGOTIABLES that apply to every shooter, no matter their age, gender, skill level, or habits.
And if you want my help in sorting through all the habits to get to the heart of what is really holding you back… MAKE SURE YOU CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY INNER CIRCLE.
BE AS BALANCED AS POSSIBLE.
The game isn’t played in a vacuum. Shooting a basketball is not a closed skill.
The game is very dynamic with a lot of negative energy being created just to get open to shoot shots. Negative energy is any energy created that is moving away from the target.
But the reality remains that it is easier to hit a stationary target than a moving target. And while the hoop never actually moves, shooters can make it a moving target if they don’t have good balance.
If a shooter is moving to their right, then the hoop is basically moving to their left. Therefore if the player continues moving right DURING their shooting motion, they are effectively shooting at a moving target. Still possible to hit, but much harder.
If in that moment of planting their feet to start their shooting motion, the shooter is able to quickly become stationary and create only positive power (straight up and in line with the target), the hoop also becomes a stationary target and easier to hit.
With this in mind, the better a player can stop the negative energy they create by moving side to side or fading away, the more accurate they have a chance to become. Perfection isn’t always possible. But the more balanced a player can become, the more negative energy will be stopped.
Do you have a tendency to lean or fade? Are your feet facing the sideline after you shoot? I can help with that.
SHOOT THE MIDDLE OF THE BALL WITH THE MIDDLE OF THE HAND.
Our goal with all shooting habits is to create as few variables as possible. This means we are generating as much positive energy as possible.
Having to cancel out one negative energy source with another just adds variables. Pushing with your guide hand in one direction forces the shooting hand to push off line in the other direction to cancel out the negative energy. You are adding additional variables to an already challenging skill.
Instead, we want to learn how to get the shooting hand underneath the middle of the ball. And even more specifically, we want to get the middle of the shooting hand under the middle of the ball.
If a shooter does this, they are lifting both sides of the ball evenly and the ball goes straight. One variable.
But if the shooting hand is off to one side, it pushes that side of the ball more and the ball goes in the opposite direction. Now the guide hand will need to push or the body will need to rotate or lean to create negative energy in the opposite direction to cancel out the shooting hand mistake.
That is why I make sure to measure players hands when I start to work with them. Then I focus on teaching them a better hand positioning at their set point.
Is your guide hand more involved than it should be? Is the rotation of your shot off-kilter? I can help with that.
CREATING A LIFTING MOTION.
Alignment is important. But it is all for nothing if the ball isn’t getting above the rim.
To get the ball to consistently have a chance to go in, we need to get the ball dropping down on a large target, not being shot AT a smaller target.
Shooting the ball with a flat arc will produce a small surface area for the ball to fit through. Conversely, getting the ball dropping down on the hoop produces a larger scoring surface area.
Knowing that is important, but knowing HOW to actually produce that arc is critical.
There are a couple of key components:
- The shooting hand must get under the ball
- The elbow of the shooting hand must create a lifting motion
Miss either of those two things and a player’s shot will be flat.
Is your shot flat? Are your misses always hitting the front rim? I can help with that.
HOW DO WE BUILD THESE HABITS?
Now that we know what parts of the shot to prioritize, how do we go about building better habits?
There are many factors that go into the actual work to improve habits. Far too much information to explain in one blog and with too many variables.
And all of the theoretical information is far less important when talking about a real player…
So if you need help from a REAL NBA Shooting Coach to determine what is holding your shot back, I can help!! Or if you have an idea WHAT you need to work on but not sure HOW to work on it, I can help!
I can be your Shooting Coach, no matter where you live in the world. All we need is an internet connection, a camera, and some patience.
With my INNER CIRCLE, you get access to all the drills in my DRILLS DATABASE. But most important, you get a phone number where you can text me or send video clips EVERY DAY. You’ll send me video of your shot one day, I’ll look at it and recommend the drills I want you doing and what I want you focusing on during those drills. Then you go off and work on those drills, take more video and send that to me a couple days later.
This is exactly how it works for my NBA Clients. They work, I give guidance. They work more, I help any way I can. Always wanted to “practice like the pros?” Now you actually can!
I commit to getting back to you with 24 hrs of every message. So send me video EVERY DAY if you want.