Please know these 10 common mistakes and explain them to our players so well that they are able to 1) identify their weaknesses 2) want to change their weaknesses through several sets and perfect repetitions of simple mechanical drills FROM CLOSE RANGE and 3) they are able to identify areas of weakness in their partner shooters. By asking everyone in the gym, “What 1-3 areas of your mechanics are you working on today?” and having them state it to the group makes them 1) accountable and 2) human. Showcase the kids who are mastering their mechanics from short range. Praise them for their self-discipline and mastery and the others will follow.
Please note that images will be attached to these common mistakes next week. Here is the text only:
10 COMMON SHOOTING MISTAKES
1) NOT PREPARED – Loading Proper Base is (Almost) Everything – MANY new/young kids catch the ball and then travel into the shot. They don’t catch left-right (for R shooters) or jumpstop as the ball is coming to them. Others catch it with locked legs and then have to bend. Others catch and dip down (sweep and sway) and the shot looks more like a throw or push and they always end up jumping forward. Teach the kids to load their launching pad perfectly OFF the basket by FEEL of what it means to be fully connected, locked and loaded before raising into the frame of the shot. Eighty percent of problems are in the base/seat. If there’s something wrong there, the problems spread quickly throughout the shot because other areas are correcting the broken base, and then the next area is correcting the last broken area. Kids should be told repeatedly that we aim for ONE perfect shot. Shooting the ball 25 different ways is so confusing to the brain. The mind will never take hold of the 1-shot idea – it will NEVER take to it – unless the kids and coaches are totally committed to deliberate practice making one correction at a time.
2) HALF-PREPARED – Load Launching Pad First; Raise & Take Off Second – Many kids lack the coordination to load the base fully and in a timely fashion (although a slow release is OK if they are young and trying very hard to please us). Many kids aren’t fully loaded and they’re raising the ball BEFORE their feet are under them, so there ends up being a hitch or sling shot up top in their frame near their release as they wait for the feet to get under them.
3) CENTERING and/or LOWERING THE BALL – Several kids center when they have to find the shooting pocket immediately on the shooting side in triple threat. Many kids dip the ball down, trying to get their weight under them. They don’t fully understand that all the leverage comes from the SEAT.
4) ELBOW ISSUES – too far in or out. Some kids have crooked elbows that run parallel to a leg that’s out of place. Other kids jam elbow in too much (the pleasers). Keep the elbow from shooting hip to shooting shoulder – not inside that line. Ask kids to go off the basket and shoot 25 shots looking at their elbow being 80-90 degrees.
5) HEAD MOVEMENT / BROKEN L – If the elbow is broken from the front angle (or from the side), then the head will move. So the issue isn’t the head – it’s getting the kid to find the shooting pocket and getting strength and calmness to raise through that area without the head jerking or sliding around the ball.
6) GRIP & WRIST ISSUE (tennis/baseball wrist or too much space) – Do the WRIST FLIPS drills. None of our kids can get enough of the full range of motion of the wrist and the looseness in the wrist. It is also wise to strengthen the wrist area and fingers since these areas are where we see many common basketball injuries.
7) GUIDE HAND/THUMB ISSUES – The Guide hand shoots the ball and the guide hand thumb flicks the ball as a RESULT of a mechanical weakness, which is usually because the ball has been centered and/or because the elbow is out. If a ball comes up the center, it almost tells the guide hand to get too involved. Get off the hoop – no ball – and have the kids do role-playing with your lead shooting hand and your GUIDE hand (needs to chill). Remember they need to keep both zipped up – but there aren’t two same sides of zippers. One is the lead side of the zipper and the other fits in around it and does its job.
8) JUMP FORWARD and/or TWIST – This is usually do to age, lack of strength, really bad habits where kids throw, push (from 3-point line mostly). Girls often grit their teeth and heave the ball up with tight muscles that immediately clench when they miss. Shooters need to be organized, disciplined, still and loose.
9) PUSH ON WAY UP – LOW RELEASE POINT – This is an area that can be shelved as long as the elbow is lined up and the guide and is NOT shooting the ball. As kids get stronger (grade 7-9) the release point should raise with better strength and jumping ability.
10) BROKEN OR DROPPED FOLLOW-THROUGH – Insist that the kids hold their follow through so all parties can check their work – you, their partner, them. If there is a mistake – a dropped frame, a broken frame, a guide hand that turns – they must CORRECT IT and hold the perfect follow-through up for 2-3 seconds and COUNT THE SECONDS. If kids are hiding their follow-through and dropping it down or swinging (nervous and/or out of shape), then their brain is shooting the ball differently every time and the brain is remembering all the crazy, inconsistent movement instead of one smooth stroke.