If any of you watched the spring NCAA basketball tournament, your answer will be an unequivocal “yes.” He basically torched the nets throughout the entire tournament as he led the Wildcats to become a part of the Elite 8. If you were to have watched the tournament, one of the things that you would have taken notice of immediately was that Stephen has one of the quickest shots in college basketball today. Even if given only a millisecond to shoot, you would turn to see the ball flying through the net.
Coaches will recognize this as a lot of behind-the-scenes basketball training. Meanwhile, players might see it as simple raw talent. The truth is-both are at play here.
Stephen clearly had a good understanding of the basics, but he also likely showed great promise as a young beginner. No matter which side of the playing field you are on, you know that basketball workouts are a must to nurture the craft of shooting and get a spot-on aiming arm that comes through time and time again.
Ready to learn a little more about getting the perfect shot, angle, and speed? Great. Let’s get started…
Be Ready Before You Catch the Ball.
Every time that you catch the ball remember that your knees should stay bent. Your feet should also be aligned with the basket a split second before you grab the ball. This way you have one motion to use and one only… to lift your arms and shoot towards the basket that you are already perfectly facing. You do not want to catch the ball and then bend your knees.
Remember, every motion that could have been put into effect sooner gives your opponent an advantage. It gives them more time to act and more time to stop your shot. You never want to give the other team time, any time, that they do not have to have to mess with your chances of scoring.
Side Note – You should cut with your knees bent too. Bent knees are happy knees. Bottom line is always have your knees bent before you catch.
Provide Any Passers With a Target That is Near Your Shot Pocket.
If you have great passers on your side, then these guys can help you to get your shot off of the ground more quickly. However, good shooters also give them plenty of windows for an opportunity. Always provide your passers with a good hand target to aim for. This will make their job, and yours, much easier, making for a better end result.
If you are moving in your shooting hand’s direction, then, in this case, your target can be the exact shot pocket. See how much easier that makes things? If you are moving in the line of your non-shooting hand, make things as simple for the passer and yourself as you can by providing a window as close to the shot pocket as humanly possible. Use your “off-hand” to get the ball in position as quickly as you can.
Though this is subtle, the thought is rather than reaching over to bring the ball over to your shooter’s hand; you are putting the emphasis on driving the ball with your off-hand into shooting position.
Technically, you catch with both hands. But if you gain a millisecond of time in learning to switch from one hand to the other, you will have more time to shoot and less time to waste in developing this habit that Curry has built up all too well.
Immediately Put The Ball Into the Pocket
It goes without saying that the quicker you can shoot… the quicker you can score points. The quicker you can score points – the quicker you will win trophies. This sounds easy, but it takes a lot of practice!
You are going to have to practice moving into the shooting position quickly from dribbling position as well as off of the catch. Both are equally important, and you may even find that you are better with one over the other. When this happens, remember that practice makes perfect. (Hey you, youth basketball coaching staff, you will likely notice the weakness before the player does so do not be afraid to speak up and start running basketball drills to address the issue.)
Whatever you do, keep practicing moving the ball fluidly from your off-hand to your shooting hand. This is a major point in getting the ball to the hoop with ease and in time to beat out a steal. This may seem like a very subtle movement… and it is… but it is the key to victory.
Eliminate Any Unnecessary Movements in Shot Delivery
When you grab the ball, it should go immediately into your shot pocket, and the shot itself should go immediately from there. No, in between. Avoid extra movements as they will rack up seconds on the clock.
Do not catch the ball and THEN bend your knees.
Do not catch the ball and then move the ball downwards.
Your body, your arms, your legs, your hips… they should all be driving up the moment you have the ball in your possession. This is how games are won and not huffed about in the locker room later.
Remember – the KISS acronym. Keep it simple, stupid. The simpler you keep it, the less motion there is and the more chances that you have to not only score but win.
Shoot Right Before The Top of Your Jump
There is always an allure to jump high and shoot low. However, the best time for shooting is a split second before you reach the top of your jump. If you wait for the top, you could have waited a little too long. This gives your opposing team the chance to block you or even steal the ball. Neither of which you want. Always wait for that split second, ensuring you do not shoot too soon or too late. When you do, you will land more shots and improve your speed at the same time.
Coaches, another tip that can often be of help to players is to dip rapidly as they are catching the ball.
In order to get the shot off the ground as quick as possible from the jump stop, you will need to dip rapidly into a squared-up jump stop in place of a leap that gives you air and distance… not a faster time. This will involve a sudden crouching motion into your jump stop, catching the basketball in your shot pocket returning from dribble and going right into your shot from there. This is a sudden delivery that will give your defender little time to react to your shot. This move scores points but more importantly wins games.
Think Shot, Shot, Shot
As a player, you want to be a triple threat, and this means that every time you touch the ball you want to be ready to make the shot. Your new mantra should be “shot, shot, shot.” Any time that you are given to hold the ball, your eyes should be on the rim above you, your feet at a stance ready to go and your ball in the shot pocket. This prepares you for every good opportunity to make a shot that goes in.
Side note: This does NOT mean that you should just shoot because you have the ball. PLEASE do not shoot just because you have the ball. You simply need to be ready if, when you have the ball, the timing and placement are accurate. Still, if you are READY to shoot each time, you have the ball it will become second nature to shoot for the net. Either way, practicing this, you will find it much easier to transition from dribbling or passing to shooting. In closing, always have a “shot-ready” mentality about you.”
Section Two: Free Throws Tips and Tricks
Who does not know how important free throws are to a game in general? Good (or bad) free throws can make or break games with your best local rival, they can win you a tournament and even a mention in the local paper. In this section, we will cover some tips and tricks to ensure that all your free throws count.
What makes a great foul shot thrower?
This sounds like a simple question, but your answer is likely different than ours will be.
The free throw is pretty universal in sports. You have to have a good one to have a good team. It is a unique skill and one that is, in its entirety, controlled solely by the offensive player. That kind of control is freeing and scary all at once. This is one point in the game when teamwork fades away, and it’s just you and the ball.
The best free throwers will do the same thing every time. They will have the same shot. They will have the same routine and receive the same reactions. In the NBA, a good shooter is considered to be a player that shoots at 80%. But if you think about it, there is no reason that every player cannot get there to “good shooter” status. If we are being realistic though… not everyone will.
A good shooter in high school will shoot around 70%.
College levels can expect 75%.
Personally, anyone over 15 that shoots beneath a 70& is a good free throw shooter. I realize that is up for debate amongst coaches and is quite subjective. However, for my two cents, that is how I view it.
I do not say that out of meanness, criticism or even to start a debate. It is just a point of compliance for me that has worked over the years.
As for the flip side, I’m quite sure we understand bad foul shooters. That is a little less complicated. We all have players that, we think are a good shot, and they are, just not good enough to get our team over the hump or to take the game from a loss to a win. You can believe you have a good shot all you want, but you have to decide honestly when you are massaging an ego and when you are genuinely faced with a great shooter.
Shooting Foul Shots
I am not going to go into technique here. Instead, I will say that, when you have the technique of the basics down, players will develop their own style and preference for how they make their foul shots.
The good thing about foul shouts is that there are no blockers and no defenders to watch out for. It is you and the basket so in this case repetition is a good thing. You don’t need to have your mind on at all times here. The key to a good foul shot is simple. When you develop your style and what works for you, keep it simple and repeat. Shoot the same shot, the same way, same speed each and every time, and you will be a better shoot for it.
Using “The Dot”
Ever noticed that little dot on the court? It is there for a very good reason. It is showing you where to stand to take a foul shot. You can choose to stand on it, to the left of it or three feet to the side of it… I am not here to tell you where to stand… I’m just here to tell you to use the dot. Then, remember where you stand so that you can stand here each and every time. This is part of keeping up with the routine of your foul shot which wins success.
In closing, we are not all Curry. We may not be as fast or as accurate. However, if we practice and work hard, we can become the best shooters that we can be, and that is just as good.