You’d think the perfect shot form would have been determined in some kind of universal basketball bible by now. It’s certainly been discussed and argued about since basketball began. In the absence of such a bible, the world looks to pro shooters for advice. Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Kyle Korver, Paul Pierce and Stephen Curry have all created diagrams for form and technique. For the most part, these greats use forms any coach would be happy for their players to replicate. The problem? None of them are the same.
When talking to coaches about shooting, you hear general guidelines. The acronym B.E.E.F—balance, eyes on the target, elbows aligned, follow through—and the importance of hand placement are thrown around, but it can be hard to find consistent descriptions and points of emphasis in youth shot analysis. Coaches who teach shooting skills are varied in their methods and terminology. There are some coaches who don’t even make adjustments to incorrect shots because players lack the required mental discipline or the time investment simply isn’t available.
In Indiana, basketball begins in third grade. I use the word “begins” loosely—it’s when organized games, AAU and travel teams start to occur. Safe to say while the goals and terminology could be the same between third graders and high schoolers, the points of emphasis should not be.
No matter the gene pool involved, strength limitations and hand size will undoubtedly impact a young player’s shot. Growth spurts, puberty and lifting can all adversely affect middle and high school players. How can a coach stay ahead of the curve when it comes to form? The answer is video.
Technology is advanced to the point where it’s easy to record and break down shooting form. Hudl Technique allows coaches and players of any age to see a shot frame by frame and fix any bad habits. For coaches, there are tools to help with teaching points—you can add drawings or comments to break down an athlete’s form. And it’s easily shareable through email or the app.
One tool in particular, the angle tool, can be especially useful if you can shoot the video from the correct angle. Some might think the angle of a shot is getting too detailed, but the people at Noah Basketball would disagree. As they say, “Make more shots. Win more games.” There’s also something to be said for players who can view their own shots. It gets them excited about correcting their flaws and improving their game.
Coaches in every stage of the game, especially youth coaches, should jump at the chance to improve shooting form. As the Golden State Warriors have demonstrated the past three years, the more shooters on the floor, the better.