Have You Done Shooting Research?

We all know basketball has changed over the past four decades. That stripe called the three point line has changed the game in ways I never dreamed it would.


Basketball has also changed in regards to media distribution as well. I grew up outside of Los Angeles in the late 60’s and 70’s. I was lucky because I was able to see the best of both worlds–the last years of the Wooden Dynasty and five years later the emergence of Showtime and the Lakers.


Looking back now, it is amazing the small amount that basketball was televised then. The Lakers road games were televised during the regular season as were a few UCLA road games. That was about it. There was no internet, cable or You Tube.


The NBA Finals would often come on after the 11 pm news. The ABA existed but no games were ever broadcasted out to So Cal. In other words, basketball was a game you played, but didn’t really get a chance to watch it that often.


As I grew up during this era, I listened to my coaches. I thought they were gods. Their word was golden. During my basketball career, they would teach me the traditional ways to shoot. “Feet shoulder width. Back straight. Square the feet. Don’t EVER dip the ball.” Looking back now I resembled a constipated Elvis than sharpshooter Pete Maravich. I was uncomfortable, but it didn’t matter because I trusted my coaches.


Over the next few years I spent hours upon hours practicing my shot. Upon each shot I could hear my coach’s voice saying, “Square those feet. Back straight. Keep the ball high.” My shot wasn’t getting better, but I was doing exactly what I was taught.


I don’t blame my coaches for my shooting struggles. They didn’t know better. After all, there was no information available. No instructional videos. No You Tube. They were the lost sheep header and I was part of their flock.


Today is different. This is the age of information. We now have access to basketball year round through cable. We can go on to You Tube and watch endless video of basketball players. You can go online and find tens of thousands of pictures of the best NBA, WNBA and college shooters.


I believe good coaches and players do research. There is truly no excuse for lacking information today. It is just a click away. In the past five years my staff and I have researched thousands upon thousands of hours of shooting form from the best shooters in the game. We have assembled over 10,000 video clips of these players.


Here’s what we have discovered. The best shooters turn, dip and sweep/sway when they shoot. In other words, they do the opposite of what most coaches teach.


I know many coaches believe I am crazy. That I have lost my mind. That Michael Jordan and Maya Moore square their feet. That Steve Kerr and Elena Delle Donne don’t dip. That Kevin Durant and Diana Taurasi shoot up and down. THEY DON’T.


The proof is in research. Go watch an NBA Playoff Game tonight and look at the best shooters. Go to You Tube and type in Stephen Curry or Kyle Korver.


I know many coaches will claim, “I don’t have time. I’m just too busy.” Here is a very blunt question– If you don’t have time to research then should you be teaching shooting mechanics at all?


Remember: it is best to teach nothing than to teach it the wrong way. If you teach nothing, then your players just might figure it out on their own (small chance but it can happen).
Once again, I believe great coaches are students of the game. They want what’s best for their players. They take time to research. The look for answers.