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A Shot to Make It

Posted in New Posts, News on October 3rd, 2011 by Troy Miles

When you take a shot during a ballgame, you shouldn’t be trying to make the shot… you should expect to make the shot. Expecting to make shots is a matter of taking a shot your capable of making technically,while satisfying other quality shot selection factors.

After all, every team’s goal should be the best shot for the team each trip down the floor. So if you find yourself in the act of shooting, it should not only be a shot you’re capable of making, but also a shot that fits the team goal for quality shot attempt.

Let’s face it, if you’re jacking up a shot under heavy duress or rushing to get it off, it’s probably not a quality shot.

Even if you are open, is the shot you’re about to take the best option for the team.  Sometimes a fifteen foot open shot is worse than a twenty -two foot open shot.  It all depends on whose taking the shot.

“The raw truth is…you’ve got to have a shot to make it.

As a shooter you’ve got to expect to make it every time you shoot it–then follow it like it’s a pass to yourself.  A true sign of being  a quality shooter is when everyone around you (coaches, player’s, fans) expect you to make it. A state that will occur if you’re knocking  down shots consistently. Unfortunately, everyone is not knocking down as many shots as they believe. I used to pass out licenses for players to be able to take certain shots in games.  They earned they’re stripes based on their performance during drills and exchange.

I would never limited a player per se, but I think it’s important for players to be in touch with capacities and limitations. In fact, all shooters are not created equally.  Although they ALL have mastered the technical and artistic nuances necessary to put the ball in the basket not all quality shooters have to share the same mechanics.


Fortunately, there are other ways you can contribute– and it might include scoring. Just be judicious about the type of  shots you take. If you really want to clean up your shot, my suggestion is to consider how a machine would shoot a ball and work to refine your technique in accordance with those principles and your particular anatomy.  I’m willing to bet that if you were given a shooting machine that didn’t function well mathematically and /or make shots cleanly, you’d be anxious to return it or have it “fixed”.

I’ve organized a strategy for learning to shoot and refine your technique according to how a machine would operate. The “6 F’s of Shooting” deals in preparing yourself  to shoot and preparing to make the shot.  Find out more in the “The Virtual Game of Basketball” A players capacity to make shots is based on his or her shooting proficiency and efficiency. Proficiency is the raw skill of being able to make shots from a said position on the floor and efficiency is how that skill translate to game conditions.  I can appreciate a player’s proficiency value (it takes a long time to refine a shooting stroke), but as a coach, I’m more interested in a player’s efficiency rating.

ER is the ability to make shots during game conditions which basically is the net of shooting proficiency and shot selection. The variables of game-time conditions include defensive and emotional pressure and shot location.  Therefore, effective game-time shooting is based on the type of shots a player gets and ultimately takes. That’s what quality shot selection is all about.

The Great Rim Debate There’s always been a great deal of hoopla (lol) concerning using the back-rim vs. front-rim as a target for shooters.  I have seen very few quality back-rim shooters, and can spot them (back-rim shooters) from across the gymnasium. Back-rim shooters misses are typically clanks because of the failure to take enough (speed) off of the ball to miss the back rim and have it fall in.

Front-rim shooters may miss short more often, but it’s definitely easier to “add a little” (follow through with the fingers) than “take away”. In fact, extreme follow through is the ultimate finish for most shot attempts. I believe the less the follow through, the less opportunity there is of making the shot. “Posing” the finish is critical.

In a drill I have students stand two feet from the basket.  I then have them attempt to just hit the front-rim by aiming the ball two feet over the rim, with extreme follow through. In this exercise, despite the shooters efforts to miss the shot, the ball continuously goes into the basket .  If a shooter continually makes shots while just trying to hit the rim, shouldn’t it (the front-rim) be a logical target to make shots? In fact, it’s  tough to hit the “skinny” rim  from a particular location. Therefore the shooter can psychologically flip the script on makes, by using the front rim as the target; expecting to miss the rim and have the ball drop into the basket.

Although two men’s basketballs fit in the hoop at the same time, getting it in the cylinder is not an easy task. Here’s what Brett Morrow— shooter supreme and US Distributor of Boomerang Basketball Systems has to say: Boomerang Basketball | The most innovative, forward thinking producer of basketball training systems  

Brett Morrow: “The Ball’s entry angle at 35,45 & 55 degrees. The SHOT is a skill that is supported by Physics, (Galileo, Newton & Einstein) you want to dispute it, take it up with them. WHAT DOES THE BALL SEE? If the ball drops from the ceiling at 90 degrees it sees a 18” circle, but when you shoot the ball it sees an EGG or ellipse.

I believe those that are very consistent shooters who control distance are more “Center” of target minded then a specific loop or back edge of the rim. I know others say that the aim for the middle of the hoop, not sure how that works from 15′-24′ from the hoop. Based on thousands & thousands of reps this group and others instantly have a “knowing” (muscle memory) how much velocity or speed they need to apply out of the release along with how high the ball needs to go so that it is driven from the middle of the hoop to the edge of the back rim.

The ball only “sees” an 18″ circle when it falls from the sky at 90 degrees, the hoop is only a circle when we are dribbling or passing the ball, once a ball is launched in the hoops direction the circle becomes an elliptical or egg shaped. I am not saying a “Swish” is not the way to go, a true “Bulls eye” is when the center of the ball travels 11″ beyond the front rim, for ideal distance control if we can average the center of the ball entering 6″- 16″ beyond front edge we eliminate front rim and short. Its amazing how many “highlight videos” of these great shooters show their ball grazing the back rim and instantly going down in the hoop…”

The moral of the story is shooting is essential and machines can be ideal, but…

“…hopefully you’re not grooving any faulty mechanics.  As strange as it sounds, be careful with shooting machines. Using machines before you’re technically “ready” will help you get tons of less than optimal reps and “help you” get better at  shooting with a higher degree of difficulty than what is necessary?–from: “Ok.What Did the Chart Say?”

Learn the proper shooting mechanics first, then find yourself a quality machine to help maximize your efforts to refine your technique.

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