Basketball is no longer just a game played above the rim. While slashers will always be respected and dominating big men feared and revered, shooters are now the game's featured attractions. Sinking baskets away from the basket, after all, is now the norm rather than the exception.
That’s the way international basketball has been played and we’ve seen what the Golden State Warriors have done in the NBA with their offensive schemes that have them chucking the ball from beyond the arc.
And because we here at FHM want to keep up with the times on the court, we were curious if there’s a superior technique to accurately shooting the ball. Research on Youtube for clips of different shooters didn’t exactly yield fool-proof results.
Stephen Curry, currently the NBA’s best shooter, takes a push shot with rather quick release and not much height on his jump.
The legend Alapag overtook in the PBA’s all-time list, Allan Caidic, doesn’t even bend his knees much and does more of a pulling motion before releasing the ball, yet he scores buckets.
So which technique should you go with if you want to be a really good shooter, then?
“When it comes to shooting the ball, what you want is a combination of efficiency and comfort,” explains Emman Papa, assistant Coach of the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons and assistant professor at the College of Human Kinetics at UP-Diliman.
While there is an ideal technique, Papa says “you have to go with what you’re comfortable with.”
For Alapag, knowing the proper mechanics of an ideal jump shot is the right way to start. “Simple things like keeping your eye on the rim, having your jump shot start from your legs, working your way up, with your elbow in the right position. You want to try and implement it.”
Since techniques vary, you can work with what you have. If you follow these three tips, you could become a very efficient shooter.
Shooter hack #1 Know the right mechanics, but also go with what you’re comfortable with
To shoot well, you need to get most of the right mechanics down pat.
Step 1: Stand facing the rim with your feet slightly wider than hip width with your knees bent while holding the ball in front of you with your shooting elbow close to your body. “You have to have a wide base to support your take off and your landing,” says Papa.
Step 2: Bend your knees further as you raise your hand and elbow, with you eyeing the rim.Shooting elbow must be directly underneath the shooting hand with your supporting hand on the side of the ball. “You have to keep your eyes on the rim and let the jump shot start from your legs.
Step 3: Jump up and simultaneously push your shooting arm towards the basket, flicking your wrist as you release the ball to create an ark. The tweak here is to know which release you’re comfortable with. Papa says shooters like Steph Curry use more of a push release while guys like Caidic do a bit of a pull before following through.
Get most of the basics right and it’ll lead to a more efficient shot. “If you don’t learn the basics, you’ll run into problems with your shot later on,” Alapag says.
Shooter Hack#2 Practice, practice, practice
Shooting is a matter of muscle memory. Regardless of how good or bad your technique looks like, how you shoot during the game will depend on the way you practice your shot. “Once you shoot so many jump shots, it becomes kind of automatic, there’s a connection between your brain and the act of shooting the basketball. It becomes more natural,” says Alapag.
But don’t just shoot lazy jump shots. Shooters become automatic because of how they deal with pressure in different situations. Practice shooting jump shots, one dribble and two dribble jumpers, stop and pop, catch and shoot, catch and shoot off a turn or screen to name a few. You can also imagine last second scenarios, too.
“Shooting different kinds of shots allows you to be comfortable regardless of the situation. Always try to use the right mechanics but you’ll notice you’ll adjust your shot in different scenarios,” says Papa. This is how you’ll hone your shot regardless of what technique you use. So don’t be like Allen Iverson, make sure you practice!
Shooter Hack #3 Be Confident
Some shooters like Reggie Miller seem cocky to opponents. But it’s really just confidence, says Alapag and that comes with being a good shooter. “When I take those shots in the end game, I’m confident. They don’t always go in but I’m not scared when the ball is in my hand at that point because I know the work I put in. If you do the work, you’re comfortable in those situations.”