When Should My Non-Shooting Hand Come Off The Ball?

We’ve talked in other blogs about the relationship between the shooting hand and the non-shooting hand (NSH).  The two hands do work together, but with one as the supporting actor, and one as the star of the show.


Ultimately, shooting a ball is a one-person-show.  Or at least the end of the performance is.


See, when you are shooting the ball with one hand, you’ve cut the variables in half (at least theoretically).  We all understand this, and work to build the new habits with one hand, but for a lot of us there is still the nagging question…


“When do I take the non-shooting hand off?”


The answer is actually pretty simple.  You need to make sure that the non-shooting hand is coming off the ball when the shooting hand is a position to solely take over the shooting motion.


In other words, if you are holding the ball in triple threat position, with your shooting hand on the top of the ball, you will need your NSH in order to be successful.  Take away your NSH at this point and the ball will either fall out of your shooting hand, or you will need to grip the ball to palm it, which isn’t a successful shooting grip.  So at triple threat position the role of the NSH is to keep the ball held in the shooting hand.


As we lift the ball a little higher (lets say chest height now), your shooting hand will likely be positioned on the back of the basketball.  Again, if you take away your NSH at this point the ball will fall out of your shooting hand.  Obviously the shooting hand is still not in a position to be able to take over the shooting motion.


Then we get to the position that most young players make another mistake.  They get the ball to chin height, and think of this as their shot pocket or set point.  The problem with this position is the shooting hand is still on the back of the ball and in position to shoot the ball forward.  This is why so many young players shoot flat shots, but because the shooting hand is staying on the back of the ball and never getting UNDER the ball, the NSH is still needed so that the ball will stay in the shooting hand.


Finally we get to something resembling the traditional set point or shot pocket, with the ball at forehead height.  If the shooting hand wrist gets bent back, then the shooting hand should be close to parallel to the floor and able to support the ball without help from the NSH.  Try it yourself.  Hold the ball in a shot pocket position and take your NSH off the ball.  You should be able to support the ball there for hours without having to use the NSH.


This is the position we need to start taking the NSH off the ball.  Before then, and the shooting hand won’t be in a position to take over sole responsibility of the duties, and after than it will potentially be pushing the ball off line.



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