Remember the Four Basic Steps:
- Eyes on Target
- Elbow Keeps the Basketball Straight
- Follow Through
Easily remembered and taught as B-E-E-F
“I leave you with these thoughts. With a little talent and a lot of hard work and hours of practice, I became an outstanding shooter and a professional player.
How bad do your players want to play? How many hours will they practice? Are they determined to be a good player? Only they truly know the answers. But as coaches and instructors we can help them create good basic habits and develop skills, through repetition, that will be needed for them to compete in today’s ever challenging game of basketball.
Outstanding shooters are made through repetition and practice, not born.
The first step in shooting is balance. To be an outstanding shooter the legs must always be on balance. Shooting balance is one foot in front of the other. A basketball player is not on good shooting balance when his feet are parallel; a player is quicker and will shoot consistently better when one foot is in front of the other. A right hand shooter will lead with his right foot, a left hand shooter will lead with his left foot to maintain excellent shooting balance. The feet are not too wide or too close; NOTE: The head controls body balance. Do not lean too far forward or too far backward. The shot starts at the floor, legs as well as arms must be in the shot. I bend my legs for power. I always keep a good shooting rhythm because my whole body is on balance, controlled by my head. Shooting is muscle-memory reflex…the more you do it…the easier it becomes.
Eyes on Target
Every time I shoot the ball, whether I make it or miss it, my eyes are on the basket. A player can shoot for the front of the rim or back of the rim. But do not follow the ball with your eyes. This is a bad habit. My eyes never follow the ball, so my concentration is at its highest peak at all times…the basket. Every time I shoot the ball I do the same thing. This will develop muscle-memory. I create a good basic fundamental habit through repetition. I’m on balance and my eyes are on the basket.
Elbow Keeps the Basketball Straight
This is the most important step. The elbow is directly under the ball in line with the basket. Not too close or too far from the body. I place my elbow under the ball, the elbow will keep the ball straight to the basket. Do not allow your shooting arm to stick out to the side or be on an angle. I use the dart theory to illustrate this (seen during lecture). It’s elbow, then I release the dart; elbow keeps the dart straight, the elbow will keep the ball straight. When the elbow is straight, the ball will rest in one hand easily and can still be released straight to the target. If my elbow sticks out to the side or on an angle, it will be difficult to keep the ball straight along with creating the habit of bad form.
NOTE: A good drill is to have a player stand close to the basket, resting the ball in one hand while taking shots (seen in lecture). The player will develop good basic form, concentration, spin and touch.
Every time I shoot the ball, whether I make it or miss it, I follow through. Teach players to stick their shooting hand in the basket. Do not let them snap downward. All my left hand does in the shot is help me hold the ball (left hand on side of ball). Only my shooting hand follows through on every shot. I’m on balance, my eyes are on the basket, my elbow is straight and I follow through.
The basics of the jump shot are the same: Balance, Eyes on the Target, Elbow Straight, Follow Through. Again, I repeat, I do the same thing on every shot. It is important that you take note that my right foot is always in front of my left. When I land after my jump shot, I am always on balance and ready to play. I do not follow my shot. I feel confident that every shot will go in. Again, I am building a muscle-memory reflex.
Other than bad form with the elbow, fading away during the jump shot is probably the worst habit a jump shooter can create. When a jump shooter fades away he has two forces working against each other; the ball going one way, the body the other. The best habit is to go straight up and down; if you must move…move towards your target. This will keep your rhythm and help maintain concentration.”
It takes good basic form and hours of practice to be an outstanding shooter!
From George Lehmann shooting clinic handout notes received at his clinic held in Wausau, WI when I was in 6th grade (1987)