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If we think about the greatest shooters in NBA history,names like Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Barry, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Steph Curry immediately come to mind. What all of these great shooters have incommon might surprise you. The secrets of all great NBA shooters has less to dowith the mechanics of how to shoot andmore to do with how they approach their craft.
Although I believe that adopting a traditional shooting stylegives you the best chance to make shots, there are countless examples of great shooters who have unorthodox shooting styles. Players like Larry Bird and Michael Reddwere great shooters yet their technique differed from more traditional shooterslike Steve Nash and Steph Curry. The common denominator among these players wastheir ability to make shots; ultimately the goal for any shooter is to see theball go through the hoop regardless of how it looks. The secrets of all great NBA shooters, from George Gervin to Larry Bird to Steve Nash can be boiled downto three simple truths.
Consistency is the most valuable attribute any shooter can possess. It allows for a player to release the ball the same way each and everytime they shoot. During thousands of hours of practice and millions of practice shots, great shooters develop habits that give them a consistent shooting motion each and every time. Ultimately, consistency is more valuable than perfect shooting technique because consistency eliminates the extra variablesthat cause us to miss.
Think about what its like to shoot in game…shooters already have to deal with distracting variables that interrupt their timing, focus, and shooting rhythm. Fatigue, defensive pressure, and hostile crowds can play a role in causing a shooter to miss shots and lose their rhythm. But if a shooter also has to account for increased variability in their shooting motion, this adds another potential distraction to the mix. Shooters make shots when they rely on the consistency they have developed in practice; when they have to adjust their technique in the midst of a game, their chances of making shots decreases.
The great shooters shoot the same shot; each and every time they release the ball. Their mechanics (even if not technically perfect) are consistent from their feet to their upper body. This kind of consistency allows great shooters to make minor adjustments to their shot if they feel something is off. Instead of having to switch between alternating shooting styles, great shooters know instinctively how to make small changes because of the consistency they have developed in practice.
- Consistency is developed through 1000’s of hours of practice
- It is more valuable than “perfect” technique
- Consistency eliminates in game distractions
- Shoot the same shot every time
All great shooters have great rhythm. Perhaps the most stunning modern example of shooting rhythm is Steph Curry. He is a great case study for the importance of rhythm when shooting the basketball. The rhythm for Steph Curry’s jumper starts with his feet and moves to his upper body in one seamless motion. The foundation for his shot starts when his feet act as aspringboard for the rest of his shot. The energy that he generates from his feet – Steph uses both a two-footed and 1-2 foundation – allows him to generate enough power to get his shot off against more athletic defenders. He always quickly drives his feet into the floor before rising up to release the ball. This highlight the importance of gaining your rhythm from your lower body and allowing that momentum to feed into your shot.
Whether shooting off the dribble or from a standing position, the foundation of Curry’s shot gives him the rhythm and timing to be a great shooter. His feet start the momentum and he finishes his shot with a high release and a quick flick of the wrist. These aspects give him the ability to make shots from anywhere on the floor and rarely have to take shots where he is out of rhythm.
- Great shooting starts with your feet
- Your foundation powers your shot
- Your feet act as a springboard and allow for solid mechanics in your upper body
The best shooters have a special mindset when it comes to shooting the basketball. The greatest shooters have a unique ability to block out the negative and focus on the next shot. This can be a difficult exercise because many of us are hardwired to think more about our mistakes than our successes. However, great shooters are able to maintain their confidence despite the number of shots they have missed. Great shooters develop an inner confidence and arrogance about their abilities that allow them to concentrate during a difficult stretch.
Kobe Bryant is someone who embodies this type of mindset when he was recently quoted as saying that..
“I’d rather go 0-30 before I wouldgo 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game…theonly reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.”
Admittedly, Kobe’s shot selection is not always the greatest, and I’m not suggesting that players should shoot 30 shots when their having an off night, but this mindset rings true for great shooters. Whether you are 0-5 or 10-10, great shooters trust in their training and believe that no matter what the next shot is going in.
- Confidence comes from practice
- Shooters always believe the next shot is going in
- A shooting mindset allows you to concentrate and focus on the next shot