If you are like me, you watch a lot of basketball, whether it is live at a local gym, or on TV in the comfort of your own home…or perhaps at a local sports bar with some buddies. I have a satellite connection, which allows me to view over 200 games per year! Raptors TV show most Raptors games, as well as other NBA telecasts, plus Euro League championships.

I was wondering if anyone has noticed how poor the shooting percentages are in the best league in the world, the NBA? Last season the field goal % was the lowest in our modern times barely reaching 40%, while the 3-point shot barely 30 % on average throughout the league…while from the free-throw line somewhere in the mid-sixties! These numbers have been steadily declining for about a decade, the big question is why?

The average height in the NBA is now 6’9” and the athletes of today’s game have incredible length, or wing-span as the scouts like to say…perhaps this is the reason while so many shooters routinely miss jump shot after shot, the defensive player is so long…always getting a hand in the face of a shooter?

Maybe the players are taking poorer % shots…off balance…not squared up properly…fading backwards, or falling forwards? They could be rushing their attempts? Or are they just poor shooters?

The next time you watch a game on TV, pay attention to how the players are shooting…when they miss…how are they missing? Are they always falling short, thus hitting the front rim…are they hitting the sides of the rim? Or are they long, clanking off the back of the rim?

Remember, shooting from long distances will always allow for long rebounds! Notice if the players are taking set-shots? Like most players the jumper is the favorite…how high are the players getting off the ground? Some players like to power dribble the ball just before their release, trying to find their flow…some players are catch and shoot…quick release. There are some very important techniques and rules to shooting the basketball, here are a few important tips:

Tip #1: Footwork…is for me the start to a great jumper…shoulder width apart. I like to practice a one-two set…left foot first…followed by the right foot…a nice rhythm.

Tip #2: Balance…if your feet are too close together it is easy to be pushed from that position…however, by having a solid foundation…shoulder width apart you can explode off the court with more power.

Tip #3: Triple-threat-position… the key to great shooters and players, feet are shoulder width apart, the knees bent …with the ball in both hands in the center of the body…from this position a player can pass the ball, dribble the ball, or shoot the ball.

Tip #4: The position of the ball in your hands…find the seams of the basketball for a better grip…allow the fingertips, fingers and the balls of the hand to grip the ball, not allowing the ball to touch the palm too much.

Tip #5: Squaring up to the target…the feet are shoulder width apart…the shoulders must be squared up to the basket…with the elbow, tucked inside to your side, straight in line with both the feet and shoulder.

Tip #6: Eye contact on the target, the basket…some people say look at the front of the rim…some say look at the back of the rim…if you are 45 degrees on the wing you would use the lost art of the bank-shot, and look only at the square on the backboard, which I call the money-shot, or insta-bank. Concentrate on the target. The secret to the banking it is quite simple…imagine the square of the backboard as a postcard…and you were sending that postcard to a relative…where would you put the stamp? That my friend is the money-spot! Hit that small stamp, not looking at anything else…and you’ll be hitting bankers just like Tim Duncan of the NBA world champions, San Antonio Spurs!

Tip #7: Fluidity…rhythm…smooth…from the footwork to the knees, the core through to the elbow…the guide hand just to the side…explosion…release…follow through…eye contact…and land. One fluid motion…repeat over and over again…do not fade backwards…or forwards…always straight up and down…keeping your balance, feet shoulder width apart…with your follow through with your shooting hand still in the air pointing towards the basket or target.

Tip #8: Arc…for me the most important aspect is the arc…many coaches will say that 60 degrees is the perfect arc! Why is the arc so important? Because without arc your shot will miss almost every single time! You will hit the front of the rim…even before shooting the ball you have missed…simply put ,you need to shoot with arc. Without arc the ball doesn’t have the same chance to get a friendly bounce, say off the rim, or off the backboard…a shooters bounce. With arc your % increase dramatically, you get some kind bounces because of arc…Rainbow jumpers allow for some sweet nothing but net type of shots. In today’s NBA game who are the best shooters and why are they great shooters? There are many and the common denominator is that they shoot the ball with great arc. Swish, nothing but net!

Tip #9: Follow through…so important, after the ball leaves your hand it lastly touches two fingers with the middle finger last…you must keep your fingers together and point them towards your target, the basket. Remember Robert “Big shot Bob” Horry in game 5 of the 2005 NBA Championships, when he made another impressive 3 point shot to finish Detroit off? Notice his hand and fingers and arm…left up in the air after the amazing shot…he was showing everyone who noticed how to finish a shot…following through even after the shot was released! Swish! Why would you leave this guy open? He is 6’10”, has long arms, and has tremendous arc on his shot!

Tip #10: Practice, practice,… I would take 500 to a 1000 shots a day…always challenging myself…trying to better myself…playing psychological games with myself, not finishing practice until making say 20 three-point shots in a row…or 100 foul shots. Visualize your success…believe in your self, trust the fundamentals I have mentioned or simply contact the Canadian Shot Doctor at Hoop-hype.net.

Hoop Hype is Contagious-Don’t Forget Your Shot!

Peace, Paul Bale.