The Two Ways to be an Accurate Shooter

At Pro Shot, we believe that shooting mechanics are important to becoming a quality shooter. They are really vital.

There is a belief that if you go out and practice shooting a basketball you will improve. You know the line, “Practice makes perfect.” That if a player shoots 500 shots a day then are destined to shooting greatness.

Dwight Howard practices his free throws. But he is a poor free throw shooter. He never seems to improve. There are millions upon millions of players like him. They spend great time on their shot, but their shot continues to fail the player.

Practicing reps solely without form is like having a house without four walls. It’s like have a human being without a skeleton. In other words, it just doesn’t work very well.

After researching thousands upon thousands of hours during the past ten years (yes we qualify in the 10,000 hour club), we believe great shooters possess four important mechanics of shooting. They are:
1) A quality release.
2) Shooting alignment of the release, shoulder, hip and elbow to the basket.
3) A rhythmic dip when shooting off the pass.
4) Shoulders are relaxed and at an angle (we call this the sweep and sway).

Think of great shooters and you will discover that they normally possess quality shooting technique. Most poor shooters possess poor shooting technique. In life, however, there is no 100% absolute. There will always be outliers. .

Outliers were more abundant 30-40 years ago than they are today. The 1970’s and 80’s gave us some weird shots from Vinny Johnson’s catapult motion to World B Free’s weird hitch.

The two players that we hear about most in regards to having a “funky” but effective shot was Reggie Miller and Jamal Wilkes. We hear coaches constantly say, “Look at Reggie Miller. He had a weird shot AND he was effective so there is no exact way a player can shoot.”

Times were different three and four decades ago. There were no home computers. Video games basically sucked (yes I owned Pong), you had five-eight TV channels. The phone was something that was plugged into a wall. We had free time and we lived on the basketball court. Our fun was shooting in the driveway.

The 1970’s saw players with short shorts and high socks. Many players also had bad shooting form but were able to become accurate shooters because they lived in a gym. They were gym rats. Now ask yourself this question: Do you really believe your players will spend as much time shooting than players did 40 years ago? Probably not. Too many other things to do.

Hall of Fame Player, Chris Mullin said it best, “There are two ways to becoming a great shooter. One is to shoot an hour a day with quality form or you can shoot five hours a day with flawed form.” You can also look at it this way. Let’s say I live in Ohio and want to visit my friends in California. I can drive to the airport, board a plane and be there the same afternoon OR I can drive down through Texas, go down to Brazil, come up through Mexico and arrive in Southern California. I still get to the same destination, but one way is a hell of a lot quicker.

Coaches need to believe that players can improve in shooting and that mechanics are important to becoming a quality shooter.

Lastly, we hear this a lot from coaches. If I have an accurate shooter with bad form, I’m not going to change them.” We have heard that a thousand times. My response is always, “How many good shooters have you ever heard with bad form? Maybe one a decade. It’s definitely not a very high percentage for having such a strong belief.