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Archive for January, 2018

I love the art of shooting!

To me, it’s the most fascinating aspect of basketball and the hardest skill for individuals to master.  That’s why only a handful of great shooters exist.

Consider the various components of the shooting process.  Hand placement, wrist action, arms, legs, pre-shot movement, and just the right amount of rhythm/timing mixed in.  Plus, the defender is in your face!

Everything must be in sync to consistently achieve success.

Don’t forget the intangibles, e.g., talent, dedication, and work ethic.  Add the parts together and the formula for a shooter can be quite complicated.

In the game of basketball, every player has their own unique shooting formula    … a DNA signature, if you will.  Even so, they ALL have the ability to become a Next Level Shooter!

 

WHAT IS NEXT LEVEL SHOOTING?

Defined as:  The point at which a player reaches and sustains their full potential as a shooter.

 

HOW DOES A PLAYER BECOME A NEXT LEVEL SHOOTER?

Ask coaches/parents this question and the usual responses are given:

  1. Proper technique or form
  2. Correct pre-shot alignment
  3. Balance
  4. Good concentration
  5. Shoot … shoot … shoot

All good answers, but something is missing from the list that enables a player to become a Next Level Shooter.

The missing (X) in the shooting formula is … “TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF”

It’s that simple!

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE BRAIN TURNS OFF?

Shooters experience:

  1. Instant and improved results
  2. A relaxed shooting motion (start to finish)
  3. Increased confidence
  4. A mental calmness

Bottom line, a Next Level Shooter has absolutely no THOUGHTS during the shooting motion allowing the mind and body to completely relax.

 

WILL THIS WORK FOR ALL PLAYERS?

Definitely!

14 years of conducting large group clinics, small group sessions, and individual lessons across Texas afforded me the opportunity to work with a lot of kids.

I’ve encountered every kind of student/shooter imaginable:

  1. Eager to learn
  2. Know it all’s
  3. Over-thinkers
  4. Quick learners
  5. Slow learners
  6. Those that march to the beat of their own drummer

In the end, when each type of student learned to “Turn their brain off”, great things happened and Next Level Shooting was the result!

 

HOW IT WORKS

Remember this … “Thinking is the enemy of good shooting”.

Students must learn to FEEL the shooting motion vs. THINKING about it.  It’s the secret to Next Level Shooting!

The shooter’s goal is to develop an awareness of what the shooting process feels like from start to finish.  Ideally, it will be a smooth or flowing sensation with no tightness in their shoulders, arms, or wrist/forearm area.

Mentally, the shooter is trying to achieve an overall Calmness or a Quiet Mind.  Once thinking is eliminated, they no longer suffer from PARALYSIS by ANALYSIS!

This takes place only when the shooter “Turns their brain off” and learns to feel the shot.  By doing so, the sub-conscious mind kicks in and guides the player seamlessly through the entire shooting process.

When thinking enters the picture, the shooter tenses up, e.g., shoulders, arms, and mind.  Battles ensue between tight vs. relaxed, smooth vs. jerky, and calmness vs. anxiety.  It’s no wonder poor results follow!

Feeling the shot helps momentum travel naturally up the shot line while thinking tends to impede the flow.  This is especially true for the ultra-thinker who constantly talks to themselves about what to do throughout the shooting motion.

 

HOW TO DEVELOP FEEL

Two important items to focus on when working with students are:

  1. Asking what the shot felt like
  2. Reminders to “Turn your brain off”

When a shot looks good to the instructor it usually feels good to the student.  At that point, ask them, “How did it feel?”, e.g., smooth, tight, jerky.

This reinforces what the shooting motion is supposed to feel like.  Do this often during the session(s) until you’re satisfied they fully understand what it means to feel the shot.

Misses and body language (tightness appearing) are indicators that thinking is taking place.  This is a perfect time to say, “Turn your brain off” and to emphasize feeling the shot.

Old habits die hard so players need constant reminders.  It can be a struggle until they figure out FEELING is far superior to THINKING.

 

DRILL FOR DEVELOPING FEEL

For players having a hard time feeling their shot (ultra-thinkers), this is a good drill:

  1. Student takes three shots from 15′
  2. Instruct them to concentrate on feeling the shot and to eliminate all thoughts (mind is blank)
  3. After three attempts, ask if any thoughts crept in and then have them describe what each shot felt like
  4. Repeat until student grasps the concept of Feeling vs. Thinking

Recently, I had success with two students using this drill.  The first was a 10th grade boy who acted like a TV sports analyst by breaking down every shot he took.  The second was an 8th grade girl with a perfectionist personality.  Both were ultra-thinkers and making shots on a consistent basis was a struggle.

The first round of three shots brought amazing results.  A calmness was evident in both plus they made each attempt with great looking form.  The parents in attendance were smiling because they could see the immediate transformation.

We repeated the drill several times with great results and the remainder of the session was much better.  As an instructor, this was extremely satisfying to see the “Light” come on!

 

CONCLUSION

“TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF” …  a simple yet effective concept that helps students maximize their shooting ability.

Once THINKING is eliminated, players can begin to FEEL the shooting motion putting them on track to become a NEXT LEVEL SHOOTER!

 

With God and a powerful dream, anything is possible!

 

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