Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Monday, July 19, 2010

There Is a Reason There Is a Nail At The FT Line - Part 4 of 4

11. Finish and Follow Through: On your shooting arm you elbow should be locked out.Your elbow should be higher than your brow on the release.Your guide hand should be above your brow, with fingers pointed at the ceiling or slightly forward but still spread.You should hold your finish till the ball goes in or hits the rim.
If you are not locking out your elbow and you are not holding your finish, you will not have a consistent shot. Locking out your elbow is a consistent end point. You know it’s the same each time.Your elbow should be above your brow to get the proper lift on the ball. Discourage younger players from shooting 3’s. Teach fundamentals of getting to the rack and the mid-range game. I see kids that are younger with good accuracy but I know they will have to change their mechanics as they grow. To gain distance they are chucking the ball with their elbows below their brow, instead of using the upward force of their legs.

If your Guide Hand turns in you will be effecting the rotation of the ball. The ball should be shot out of teh Guide Hand. It's a one hand shot.

Example Of Thumbing The Shot With Guide Hand

12. Determining Dominant Eye: The path of the ball should move through your shot pocket come close to, but not obstructing your dominant eye. You can determine your dominant eye by the following method.

a) Extend your arms in front of you with your palms facing away. Bring your hands together, forming a small hole by crossing the thumbs and fore fingers.
b) Choose a small object about 15-20 feet away from you. With both eyes open, focus on the object as you look through the small hole.
c) Close one eye and then the other. When you close one eye, the object will be stationary. When you close the other eye, the object should disappear from the hole or jump to one side.
d)If the object does not move when you cover one eye, then that eye is dominant. The eye that sees the object and does not move is the dominant.

It is possible to have a dominant eye opposite to your dominant hand. In fact two of my children are built this way. This means when shooting the ball with their dominant hand the ball can move through their shot pocket closer to the middle of their face. Remember you want to bring the ball close to the dominant eye, but not obstructing it.

13. Eye Contact: As mention in “what are we trying to do” You need to train your eyes on the back of the rim. To read about the math behind a perfect shot click here. A perfect shot is one that drops through, hits the floor, and slowly bounces back to you. Don’t watch the flight of the ball. Keep your eyes on your target.

14. Simple Routine: I tell my players that I don’t care what they do, as long as it’s 1 dribble, 2 dribbles or 3 dribbles. I am a 3 dribble guy. I also tell them I don’t care what routine is, as long as they get a chance to make eye contact for the same amount of time it takes to do their routine. Ok, then with FIBA rules and 5 seconds to shoot the ball. Your routine should be efficient and consistent. You want to kiss your biceps or your wrist or spin it around your waist for each member of your family, that’s fine. If you shoot greater than 90%. Once you are doing that, you have earned the right. Having a routine at the free throw line will ease the tension.

15. Mental Aspect: Once the player has proper shooting mechanics, mental mistakes are the main reason why a player misses free throws. The Free Throw is a unique event in basketball, and therefore, a unique skill. It is the only moment when the action stops, but play continues.

The action stops and waits for the shooter who has, depending on the rules 10 or 5 seconds to concentrate, focus, think and shoot. Since you are shooting the same shot from the same spot, with no defensive pressure, the target if fixed, it is the mental aspect that is responsible for most misses.

If a players begins to think about the importance of the shot or the consequences of a miss they will feel pressure. When players feel pressure, they get tense. Tense muscles fail to perform smoothly and shots are missed. Players need to allow their bodies to do what it has done countless times in practice and games; make the shot! Michael Jordan said: "I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot. Why? Because when you think about the consequences, you always think of a negative result."

The mind cannot focus two things at once. You can not have internal negative thoughts and focus on making your shot. One will replace the other. The focus must be on the target, not on inner doubts, to shoot optimally.

Players should approach the free throw with a positive mindset. For players that become expert in visualization, a good approach is to close one's eyes and visualize a perfect free throw.
Their routine can include a deep breath and a strong exhale. This change in deep breathing can help center and relax the player.
Many players do well with having a mantra or anchor word. For one of my players I had him breathe in deeply through his nose, then exhale through his moth and say the word quotient on the breath out. Certain words can evoke calm. For me, when I played;
a) Deep breath in, with exhale thought the mouth.
b) Internal voice “get in”.
c) Bounce ball three times focusing on the same spot on the floor with each bounce.
d) Focus on the rim, and let my body take over.

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