It’s playoff time and I am loving it! Aside from the repetitive and endless NBA endorsement commercials, the action is really heating up and so are some of the shooters. Last night Ray Allen lit up the Cavaliers with his trademark quick release and dead-eye accuracy. There’s a link bleow that takes you through two great, clutch NBA shooters in Gilbert Arenas (should I used past tense here?) and Ray Allen going through some basketball shooting drills. There are three take-aways from this video. Fist off all stability, secondly where your shot begins and finally, practicing for game situations. You can implement these principles in your own shot or in helping coach one of your players along.
One of the biggest differences that become apparent right away when watching a pro versus and amateur ball player is there shot. A pro looks fluent as they raise the ball from their hip (or wherever they catch it) to their shooting pocket. The only thing that moves is their arms. Legs are already bent in an athletic stance, the head doesn’t move forward or backwards during the release and their core is completely stable and still. Watch both Gilbert and Ray. Stable as a table with every shot. Even on the move. This allows them to shoot from a consistent base with every shot. Now, contrast someone who is just starting out and it often looks like a disconnected, broken and awkward motion with the legs, core and head all bobbing and moving. It’s as uncomfortable as it is awkward.
One of my favorite lines is 4mins and 30 seconds into the clip. Ray Allen talks about his shot starting with his legs and coming up through the rest of his body. As I hammer home on this blog, the foundation of your shot is your legs and core. Strength and stability start there. His actual release is automatic because his mechanics and foundation are sound. Both Gilbert and Ray have great lift with their shot. Their stability allows them to transfer this lift into shot power. Whether you’re shooting a jump shot or a set shot, you still generate power with your legs and stability.
Finally, preparing by practicing for game situations. Gilbert talks about how he practices for situations he thinks he’ll encounter during a game. When he was in his prime, there was nobody better in the league with clutch jump shots, at the buzzer and from distance. If you watch their basketball shooting drills, they are practicing, they are on the move, catch and shoot or quick spot up jumpers. Ray seems to practice what he preaches to a greater degree. It looks so effortless with him and he talks about how it really is a product of lots and lots of practice. Perfect practice makes perfect.
We can all take something from these great shooters and this clip follows two of the best. There isn’t a magic skill or technique for shooting a basketball; it’s a product of how effectively you practice equally hard and smart. These pros can teach us how to train smart, the implementation is up to you. Enjoy the playoffs and hopefully Ray Allen will keep sinking those J’s, unless he plays Phoenix, anyways (haha).