Solve your shooting problem
“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then everything you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Learn the fundamentals and the level of everything you do will increase.” – Michael Jordan
When it comes to someone working on their shot, I think this quote is a great way to explain why fundamentals are so important. Michael Jordan is the best player who has ever played basketball. He has nothing but respect for the game and wants players to succeed in the right way. That being said, there are several different aspects to throwing the ball and everything must be done correctly for a player to become a great thrower. The perfect formula when teaching the art of shooting has to do with MEAT. Let me explain …
BEEF is an acronym that stands for Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow. This is a strategy used everywhere to teach good shooting and it is an extremely effective strategy.
B – Balance
Balance is extremely important when shooting the basketball. A player’s feet must be shoulder-width apart when preparing to shoot. This gives you the perfect amount of balance on either side of the body. With your knees bent, one foot should be slightly in front of the other. The foot that should be in front is the one on the same side as the player’s shooting hand. (If you are shooting with your right hand, your right foot should be slightly forward) This is not only good for aiming, but it also gives you a good look at where your feet should be pointing, towards the basket! From here, you should be in balance and crouched, ready to move on to the next step.
E – Eyes
Bent into position holding the ball, you know you need to use your eyes to look at the basket. Yes, this seems like it should go unexplained, however there is a bit more to it than that. Eyes are your best tool for aiming the ball and you would think that most people know to look at the basket when it is thrown, but you have to be more specific than that. Players who are great shooters not only aim for that orange ring on the board, they choose an even smaller part on the rim to look at. This results in a more accurate aim and results in more accurate shots. I’ve always been taught to shoot inside the rim right in the middle, I know some people who are taught to aim for the front of the rim. I really don’t agree with that because if you aim at the front of the rim you will hit the front of the rim and it won’t work. With that said, I recommend aiming for the inside of the back.
At this point, you are balanced and looking at the right side of the tire. Now is the time to start shooting. The most common mistake made by players who take bad shots is that they don’t keep their shooting elbow in. The reason for this is that keeping your elbow in takes a bit more effort (at least at first, until you get used to it). However, people who take the time to be aware of this will find that they can get more power in their shot because they have more muscle to push the ball. As you jump off both feet, tucking your elbow in, and want to push the ball through the air towards the hoop, don’t forget to keep your eyes on the hoop!
F – Tracking
You’re almost done with your shot, but there’s still one last part left … the follow-up. This was the part that I had the most trouble with when I played. It is important that your hand points to the hoop when you release the ball. Not only do you want it to point to the edge, but you also want your arm to reach out and your hand to stay in the air. At the end of your shot, your aim should be basically up and down. My problem was that after my shot my arm was pointing towards the hoop, instead of up. This importance of holding your hand up is because it affects the arc of your shot. You want to have a high arc in your shot because it creates a better chance of your shot getting into the basket if it comes from higher up. Keeping your track for a few seconds after each shot is important because it’s a good way to assess how you’re shooting and to make sure you’re on the right track.