I can still feel the excitement of the NBA draft 2011 held in New Jersey last week. One of the most popular players in the draft was Jimmer Fredette. He played guard for BYU and was selected #10 by the Milwaukee Bucks but was traded to the Sacramento Kings that same night. Jimmer Fredette led the nation in scoring with 28.8 ppg during 2010 and collected several national player of the year awards. There is no coach who would not want a pure shooter.
What separates the Elite shooters from the bad shooters is emphasis on the basics. Basic shooting mechanics, when practiced over and over, are the best way to improve your shot.
Unfortunately, many players don’t focus on the basics. They might go to the gym to “work on their shot”, but what does that really mean? How do you properly “work” on your shot?
The answer lies in focusing on the basics, trying to perfect your technique first, and then worry about hitting shots later.
While you’re perfecting technique, you probably won’t hit a lot of shots in practice. This is because perfecting your technique requires you to change your form and your mechanics, which is not going to be easy at first.
So what is proper shooting form?
It all starts with BEEF, which you’ve probably heard about before. Sometimes, it helps to go back and freshen up on the basics, because we all tend to forget.
BEEF stands for:
- Balance: This means your feet shoulder-width apart, in a comfortable position, knees slightly bent. Proper balance is the 1st step to shooting well. A lot of players, due to their lack of balance, miss a lot of shots. Learn how to get in a comfortable, balanced position in which you feel firmly grounded.
- Eyes: You must keep your eyes focused on the rim when you decide to take a shot. Don’t be distracted by your defender or anything else. Keep your eyes firmly glued on the rim from the moment you decide to take the shot to the moment the ball releases off your finger tips. In other words, concentrate and focus on the shot and tune everything else out.
- Elbows: Keep your shooting elbow straight, aligned vertically in a straight line. Basically, your shooting elbow should be inline with basket, not off to the side. Your elbow needs to be as straight as possible.
- Follow-Through: This means snapping your wrist and bringing your hand and elbow forward until it is perpendicular to the floor. In other words, let your arm move as far down as possible after releasing your shot. Snapping your wrists helps to add a backspin to your shot, which is important to create that “soft shooter’s touch”.
A basketball shooting drill I really like is the “ladder” where you shoot the basketball from the spots in the following picture in the order of the numbers. A rebounder or two will help you get the ball back. Can you make them all?
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