“Shooting Homework: Watch the NBA Three-Point Shooting Contest!”
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 15, 2007
One way to improve your basketball skills, and in this case, your basketball shooting skills, is to watch what the great players do and how they do it. The NBA All-Star weekend and game have nothing to do with basketball, far as I can tell, save the piling-on promotional aspect, except, EXCEPT the Three-Point Shooting Contest. There the players have to shoot the ball (under pressure, time pressure) like you have to shoot the ball in a game. Well, in a game, I guess you don’t have a rack right next to you and you do have a little more time after each shot to do something like follow-through, but the participants still have to employ good fundamentals to have success. Those fundamentals are what you as a player who wants to improve your shot should look for.
After grabbing the ball off the rack, does the player do anything to achieve good balance? Balance being critical; you can’t be leaning left, you can’t be leaning right. Is there a small one-two step? A tiny hop to adjust feet? How do they get the ball to their “shot pocket”? That spot that aligns elbow under hand, hand under ball? Do some players have the left (or off) elbow up higher than others? Do all the players have elbow-in, or are some getting away with it out? Is the head still on release? Where is the release point? In front of the middle of the head? Out to the side more? (Two-eyed shooter?) How about the extension of the shooting arm? Does it go straight out to 180 degrees? Just less? What about the follow-through? Is it consistent among all the shooters? What is the off-hand doing, and the off-arm? Does that off-hand flick out? (Bird, Kerr, Szczerbiak.) Or does it stay stone still, left hand fingers pointing straight up after the release?
Shooters can shoot the ball different ways and have success. The key is to find the common elements among all great shooters and try to incorporate those elements into who you are as a shooter and into what your shot is already like.
Now, I gotta go buy one of those racks, actually five of them, right? Five red, white and blue balls, too. (The other twenty are in the back of the station wagon). Get ready for next year.