Einstein, Reps and Shooting Form

Albert Einstein once said that true insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We believe Einstein is correct.

There is also a belief in basketball that you become a quality shooter through reps. If you ask middle school, high school and even college coaches, “How do you become a quality shooter?” Instantly many will respond “reps.”

And the belief is that through reps, players will become quality shooters. Another name for reps of course is drills. Lets examine this belief more closely.

At Pro Shot we believe to become a quality shooter you need reps. To be a quality shooter you need to shoot a high amount of shots. That is a no brainer. But is it that simple?

Recently I spoke with a long time Division I Womens Head Coach who went to a showcase in Chicago and saw ONE player out of 320 teams that was a quality high school shooter. How is this possible? Don’t these girls practice shooting? Of course they do. So why have so many high school players and teams fail in the art of shooting?

Let’s go back to the Einstein quote. Reps are about doing it over and over again. Drills are about doing it over and over again. It’s like a bad scene from the movie, “Groundhog Day.” You keep doing it again and again and the results change very little.

Have you ever played or coached another sport? If you have a bad backswing in tennis, the tennis coach will try to fix it. If you can’t putt in golf, the golf coach attempts to fix the problem. There are so many sports that coaches are dialed into biomechanics (swimming, track, baseball), but for some reason the belief in basketball is that it doesn’t matter what the shot looks like.

There have always been the odd shot in basketball that defies logic but goes in. Jamaal Wilkes had such form as did Jack Sikma, Reggie Miller, Vinnie Johnson and World B Free. Even Shawn Marian with his push release became an average NBA shooter. These players are outliers. They have succeeded despite having unusual mechanics.

Outliers are few and far between. They are not the norm, but a very small percentage. Unfortunately, I hear coaches say all the time, “My players don’t need shooting form. Look at Jamaal Wilkes.” What these coaches don’t understand is that Wilkes was a true outlier and if he/she is hoping for an outlier like Wilkes to enroll at their school one day–good luck.

Another statement we hear is, “If I have a player with weird form, I wouldn’t change them.”

My question to these coaches is, “How many players have you ever had like that? A great shooter with poor form.”

They pause and usually say, “Not too many.”

If your teams don’t shoot well and have never shot well, try teaching mechanics. We believe the key to a drill is focusing on mechanics ad form. Constantly get on your players to improve their form and to be aware how they are missing.

What do you have to lose? As the great Bob Dylan once sang, “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Try teaching mechanics with reps.