From the first time we pick up a basketball we are told by our coaches to have balance when we shoot. As coaches, we have all uttered, “Be balanced when shooting.”


The question is: How do you achieve it? Balance in shooting is all about the top of the shooter (the arms and hands) and the bottom (legs and feet). You don’t get much balance from your core area.


In short, shooting is like diving. When a diver dives, the main balance is derived from the top and bottom. If he/she enters the water with legs or arms flailing, the results will be disastrous.


Last week, Pro Shot produced three videos that focused on shooting balance. We looked first at the lower body’s balance and then turned to the upper body. We highly encourage you to watch these videos.


There are a few wide spread misconceptions regarding balance and shooting. The biggest myth is that players should start “shoulder width” apart when shooting. What quality shooter actually shoots this way?


We believe balance is all about a player’s natural gait. In other words, how wide is the player when he or she is walking or standing? Shoulder width is a notion conceived by coaches who believed this was the best position for balance. You actually have more balance with your gait which makes more sense when you think about it.


Try this at home or in the gym. Take 3 steps and stop naturally. Make sure you don’t jump stop. Look down at your feet. That is your natural gait and the width here is where you to start your shot. Think of it like this: You don’t jump rope with legs wide. You don’t do plyometrics wide. Why would you shoot wide?


We also believe the wider you are, the more knee damage you will do. Last year we had a high school junior come to me for the first time. He had an extremely wide base (which was taught to him by his father) and was struggling with his shot. He also was experiencing great knee pain when he shot. Coincidence? Of course not. We brought his feet in closer, focused on his gait and he started making shots AND his knee pain went away.


In upper body balance, the guide hand is so crucial. For younger players and poor shooters, the guide hand seems to either be overly tensed OR pulling leading to their shot becoming off balanced The worst shooters always have the worst guide hands.