Kyle Korver’s Shooting Secrets

In the 2014-2015 NBA Season Kyle Korver...

Shot 49% from 3-point, 49% from the field, and 89% from the free throw line. 

Here's how:

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1

Attention to Detail

Korver's commitment to excellence is expressed through his attention to detail. He meticulously combs through every aspect of his shot to make sure that he is shooting the same exact shot each and every time. In an interview with Andrew Kulp he outlines how his pursuit of perfection has lead him to construct a 20-point shooting that he has in the back of him mind at all times. Korver had this to say:

As I’m shooting, I have this list in the back of my head, and I know I’m not doing one or two of them. Once I feel I get all 20 of them clicking, then I’m going to have a natural rhythm in my shot.”


Kyle Korver

Kyle’s checklist covers every part of his shooting mechanics from his foundation, release, posture, feet, fingers, and feeling when he releases the ball. His attention to detail is exhausting. Check out Korver’s list below.

Korver's Shooting Checklist

1. Wide stance.

2. Exaggerated legs.

3. Drop through heels.

4. Engage core.

5. Slight bend at waist.

6. Up strong.

7. Elbow straight.

8. One hand.

9. Fingers spread.

10. Slight pause.

11. Elbow up.

12. Land forward.

13. See the top of the rim.

14. Ball on fingertips.

15. Strong shot.

16. Shoulders forward and relaxed.

17. Ball and arm risen straight.

18. Hold the follow through.

19. Keep the release point high.

20. On turns, square shoulders.

Click Here to Learn How to Make Your Own Shooting Checklist

To be clear, just because you pay attention to detail in order to improve yourself as a basketball player does not guarantee success. There is no guarantee that assures success in life or the game the basketball. There are hundreds of factors outside your control that can interfere with your athletic success. Injuries, coaching decisions, school politics, other players, are a few examples of the factors outside of your control.

BUT the key is to concentrate on the aspects of your game you are able to control. Shooting is one of the skills in basketball that you have an immense amount of control over. Korver’s shooting checklist is a prime example of this.

Learn the 5 Secrets of All Great NBA Shooters. Click Here.

Instead of focusing on the things outside of his control, he makes sure to concentrate on those things he can control, including; his effort, attitude, routine, technique, repetition, and habits.


2

Gain an Edge

You are faced with choices every day. You can choose to get in extra shooting sessions, you can choose to break down film of your shot, you can choose to work on your technique while teammates are practicing trick shots, you can choose to stay in the gym until you’ve made 10 consecutive jumpers. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but it does increase your chance to be successful. Not everyone who works hard is successful, but no there are no successful people who haven’t worked hard.

More importantly, one of the greatest sign of a commitment to excellence is the desire to find an edge over your competition. About two years ago, Korver was trying to find something that would rejuvenate his career and extend his days in the NBA. This search for an edge led him to discover the idea of misogi.

Misogi is the ancient Japanese idea of pushing your body beyond its perceived physical limits to the point of failure in order to expand your sense of what is possible.

Here’s what Korver's trainer had to say about his enthusiasm to push himself in unthinkable ways:

​“He has a search for truth, fearlessness, honor. He’s warrior-like and has an adventurous spirit. But especially because he’s always trying to be better.”

Marcus Elliot

Korver’s first Misogi was a 25 mile stand-up paddleboard trip across the open ocean. Korver had never set foot on a paddleboard before. 9 hours later the group reached their destination bleeding, sunburnt, and narrowly escaping the shark infested waters (click here to read about the entire adventure).

Korver had found his edge: 

And he wasn't about to let it go.

Hooked on the idea, Korver and his crew set out one morning during the Summer of 2014. They left for a California beach at 5am to complete their second misogi. They decided to do an underwater 5k while carrying huge rocks across the ocean floor. After nearly five hours of descending to the depths of the ocean and lugging a 85lb rock along the ocean floor (for stints that lasted as long as their lungs and legs would permit) the group had finished their second Misogi.

Photo by Chris Baldwin (click here for full story)

Korver’s quest to give himself an edge took him to a place where many athletes are unwilling to go. A place of pain and discomfort, a place that begs for you to give in and take the easy path home. But a commitment to excellence is not the result of success, it sets the parameters of it. 

 A commitment to excellence infiltrates every nook and cranny of your life and won’t leave you alone. It precipitates your thoughts and actions and refuses to let you take shortcuts. It holds you to a higher standard, a modus operandi that may seems strange to outsiders. It questions your limitations and refuses to let you settle for ‘just good enough’.


3

Find your "Grind Activator"

As of the 2014-15 NBA season Korver had been in the league for 11 seasons and he knew that he needed to find a mental edge to help him get through the grind of the NBA season.

He was looking for his "Grind Activator":

Korver found that going through that kind of sustained pain and discomfort (that he experienced during the misogis) eventually forces you to adopt an etherial sort of concentration and focus - otherworldly and divine. Korver has used these experiences to fuel him during the grueling demands of an NBA season.

This commitment is what sets Kyle apart from other players in the NBA. He was taken late in the second round of the NBA draft and wasn’t expected to make much of a splash in the NBA. Korver admits that his physical gifts are somewhat limited compared to many of the other guys in the league.

“I’ve never been the fastest guy,” and “I’ve never been the tallest guy. But I know how to keep going, to grind. It’s probably not one of the sexier gifts you can get, but it works.”

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Every player needs a "grind activator"...

That one thing that you can come back to time and time again that will reset your focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on circumstances. When you are in the game and your body is hurting, you feel out of rhythm, and the refs aren't giving you an calls, how are you going to react?

I believe that the most powerful confidence comes when you can return to the times when you pushed yourself beyond your limits and were able to endure. Korver used the idea of misogi to accomplish that for him, but your "grind activator" can be anything that inspires you to stay focused despite how you are feeling.

Find your grind activator and return to it during those times when you feel the "grind" starting to get to you.


Here's a shooting drill that guys like Kyle Korver use to get better.

This shooting drill is called: +Plus/-Minus Shooting

(For more great drills like this one click here.)


Plus/Minus Shooting

Goal: Put pressure on yourself to make shots when you are fatigued

  • Plus minus shooting assigns a point value for each shot that you make or miss. The traditional way to run these drills is you get +1 for a make and -1 for a miss. You continue shooting until you reach a cumulative score of +8 or -8 at each spot (you can adjust this number depending on how hard you want to make the drill).
  • If you want to increase the difficulty, you can penalize yourself -2 or -3 for a miss. Or, you can make it so the spot ends when you reach a high positive number (ex. +15) and a low negative number (ex. -4)
  • This type of shooting can be used to practice any shot on the court and is a great way to ensure high levels of concentration and intensity during shooting.


Finally...

If you want to learn exactly how guys like Kyle Korver have become legendary shooters, I've put together an E-Book that took me over a year to write.

It is the culmination of what I've learned as a shooter over the last 3 years as a pro.

Click Here to Learn More about The Book

I wouldn't be selling this book if I didn't 100% believe in what I've written. It has taken me nearly a full year to compile this material, because I wanted to share the exact mindset and techniques that have helped me raise my shooting percentage by 5% over the last several years.


I've been BLESSED to have been...

  • A 4 year Starter at a Division 1 College Program
  • Won a Division 1 State Championship in High School
  • Be the leading scorer (30ppg) and 3 point shooter (45%) for two straight years playing professionally in Australia 
  • To have a career 40% three point shooter in College
  • To have played for great coaches and just finished my 3rd year as a pro
  • To have spent hundreds of hours training and coaching other players

The reason I started Arete Hoops was so I could help coaches and players grow in their leadership, influence, character, and discipline.

And this E-Book is by far the best material I've ever come across on how to improve both the mental side of shooting while giving you practical steps to make improvement. I hope it serves you.

Click Here to Learn More about The Book


I just wanted to say thanks.

I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for people who are seriously serious about becoming better players, coaches, leaders, and people. 

​You're the reason we exist.


Shaka Smart Leadership

VCU Coach Shaka Smart on the Importance of Commitment

 “We talk to our guys all the time about the difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you do it all the time, even when you lost that feeling that you originally had when you you made the original commitment.”

 

– Shaka Smart


 

I read a recent interview with VCU’s coach Shaka Smart where he pulls back the veil on what makes his program so successful. It is great stuff and his wisdom extends beyond the court and into the life of a team. 

Below are a few of his main points, if you want to read the whole interview click here.  
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Players show Commitment to the Team when they Choose to do the Right thing

Players must embrace a commitment to excellence by choosing to do the right thing every single day. The ability to which they are able to make disciplined choices in their everyday lives shows the amount of care and concern they have for their teammates. Many times players think that the decisions they make are merely personal choices: this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

The essence of being a great teammate is the ability to develop your own personal habits in a way that benefits the group. One of the incredible yet challenging realities of playing basketball at the collegiate or high school level is that athletics is not your only responsibility. Academics, campus functions, social engagements, and college life are all part of the fabric of an athletes life. You have to learn to balance your responsibilities so that you become a part of the greater mission of your team. Pulling your own weight does not just mean playing hard in practice or giving your best effort in workouts: it extends much further than that and goes to the core of your character. 

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Coaches are Conductors First and Tacticians Second

The number one job of the coach is to get every single player playing in harmony together. Just like the conductor of an orchestra, a coach’s primary concern is to get everyone playing the same notes in unison. How the notes (i.e. basketball plays) are arranged or even the quality of the music is secondary to the reality that if everyone can’t play their individual instruments together, then the music will sound horrible.

VCU vs VUU exhibition

In basketball terms, getting everyone in your program on the same page is more important than any strategy or X and O’s. Each player brings a unique set of talents and abilities to the team, and the coaches job is to leverage that for the good of the group. You could have the world’s most clever plays and intricate systems, but if everyone on the team isn’t playing together then you have no chance to be successful. Author Jon Gordon recently said that,

“Team beats talent when talent isn’t a team.”

This is so true.

 

Help your Players Play with Freedom

One of Shaka’s biggest mottos is “play with a clear mind”. It is a coaches job to help players block out distractions and clear their mind of anything that will hold them back from performing at their best. The emphasis is to live in the moment and don’t allow the memories of the past or the worries of the future to affect your performance in the present. Nothing is more important than the task at hand. If everyone can embody a spirit of “nowness” (simply meaning that you are locked into the present task with incredible focus), then our team has a chance to be successful every night.

Embracing a championship spirit means collective buy-in from everyone involved. If you can do that then you have a chance to win a lot of games. At the core of this mindset is a humility to approach every opponent with respect, but a confidence that comes from knowing that your teammates and coaches have your back regardless. If you can find this mindset as a player you will be able to play without fear. 

 

Lead Well. Pursue Excellence. Change your Team.

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Preparation Wins Championships

2 Stories of Season Saving Preparation

“At practice they had that play, and I got beat on it.”

– Malcom Butler


 

We usually don’t switch from sport to sport, but with the culmination of the SuperBowl, these two stories from the NFL are too good to pass up…typically we try to find anecdotes within the world of basketball that learn more about how to increase our leadership capacity, but after hearing these next two stories from the NFL in the past two weeks, I thought we had to write a post on it.

Two stories of extraordinary preparation from two of the games greatest coaches (Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll) made the difference in two of the biggest games of the year for their teams. These two stories were reminders about how thorough preparation can make the difference in hyper competitive contests. After hearing these stories, I can confidently say that neither team, the Patriots nor the Seahawks would have accomplished what they did this season if it wasn’t for the attention to detail exhibited by their coaches on the two most crucial plays of their seasons.

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The Fake Field Goal

In the Seahawks conference championship game, they were struggling against a visiting Packers squad. Down 16-0 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter they executed a fake field goal that changed the momentum of the game. On the surface it could appear that Carroll decided on a whim to go for the fake field goal, but underneath the surface was a much more intricate decision process; this process was informed by their scouting and preparation for the Packers.

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Learn to Shoot like NBA All-Stars like Ray Allen. Click here.

 

The Seahawks coaching staff had noticed a tendency for reserve linebacker Brad Jones to come screaming off the edge trying to block the field goal attempt (ultimately losing outside contain and opening up the possibility for a fake). They concluded that they would only run the play if Jones lined up on the left side, because that would allow Jon Ryan (kicker) to roll out to his left and throw a pass or run for the first down. If Jones wasn’t on the field they would take a delay of game penalty and kick the field goal.

Gilliam (the tackle turned tight end who caught the touchdown) couldn’t help his excitement when he saw that Jones lined up on his side:

“I broke the huddle like, Please be on my side, please be on my side,” Gilliam says. “And then [Jones] was.”

They made the call, ran the play, and scored 7 points instead of 3. They went on to win the game in overtime which gave them the chance to win their 2nd Super Bowl in 2 years. None of that would have been possible if it wasn’t for the preparation that gave them the confidence and intelligence to run that play at the perfect time.

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The Interception

The Seahawks had the ball 2nd and goal on the Patriots 1-yard line. Their season was slipping away. All the Seahawks had to do was punch the ball in the end zone and they would have taken a 3pt lead with little time left for a comeback. Many teams would have panicked. Many coaches would have called a timeout to regroup. Bill Belichick and his Patriots did neither. They trusted in their prep and put the burden of execution back on the Seahawks.

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They knew in that particular situation that the Seahawks would likely run a quick hitter, a Russell Wilson pass on a slant. Here’s what Malcom Butler the Patriots cornerback had to say. “At practice they had that play,” Butler said. “The scout team ran that same play, and I got beat on it. [Belichick] told me, ‘You gotta be on that.’ At that time, memorization came through, and I just jumped the route and made a play. I just did my job.” The difference between a touchdown and a SuperBowl saving interception can be summed up in one word: preparation. Butler was prepared to make the biggest play of his life because his coaching staff but him in a position to do so, he ‘just did his job’.

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