The most challenging NBA season to date has recently come to completion in the form of the Los Angeles Lakers securing their 17th NBA championship after taking down the Miami Heat. Despite the interruptions of COVID-19, the NBA community united to share their game loved by millions of fans around the world, all from the surroundings of the Orlando ‘Bubble’. With the interest and fan base generated from all over the world, basketball is clearly one of the world’s most popular sports…and it’s easy to see why. A fast-paced intense sport, requiring athleticism, hand-eye coordination and decision-making prowess – it has it all! This fascination of basketball is being seen closer to home in Australia, and more specifically with the Geelong community. Here at SportsPower Geelong our basketball range has proven to be quite popular of recent times. From our range of NBA team caps to our variety of Nike Basketball shoes, we have you sorted. Furthermore, our selection of Spalding and Molten basketballs will get you bouncing down to the local court in no time! Clearly we aren’t all experts when it comes to the sport of basketball, yet at SportsPower Geelong we would like to do our best to give our tips and tricks to improve your game on the court, covering a number of different areas of your game. Read along to be sorted with the tools to lift your game from beginner levels!
Being able to shoot the basketball is arguably the most important skill of the sport. After all, you can’t win games of basketball without scoring. The sport’s greatest moments have occurred through a player’s ability to shoot the ball. Whether it be Michael Jordan’s “The Shot” to eliminate the Cavaliers in 1989, or Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer beater to send Philadelphia home in 2019, making big shots when it counts is the essence of the game. Being such a fundamental skill of basketball, working on your jump shot is critical in improving your game. Before getting into the basics of a jump shot however, it’s important to know that whilst technique is important, it will vary for everyone. Everyone’s jump shot will be slightly different, however if the basics are implemented, you will be giving yourself the best chance to improve.
To begin your jump shot, the obvious will be stated… ensure your eyes are on the target! However, ensure this remains for the entirety of the action. Even upon releasing the ball ensure eyes are fixed on the ring rather than the flight of the ball. As well as the eyes being directed towards the ring, allow for the body to be squared up to the basket. By squaring up to the basket it means to have your body facing front on with the ring, allowing to set a balanced foundation from where you’ll shoot. In this position have your feet set at shoulder width, with your shooting side foot slightly in front of the other. If having feet directly pointing at the ring (squared up) isn’t completely comfortable, feel free to try a more opened stance position. This will mean to have the feet directed slightly to the left of the ring for a right hander, and slightly to the right of the ring for left-handed shooters. The knees must be slightly bent when setting up in this position also.
Once set in your shooting position, the next thing to master is the positioning of the ball as well as your grip of it. The ball should be positioned in what is known as the “Shot pocket”. This is the position of where the ball should be quickly moved into once receiving the ball. This pocket involves having the ball placed slightly above the waste and so that your shooting side eye and the ball line up straight on with the ring. The ball should be gripped so that your shooting hand is placed approximately in the middle of the ball. Have your fingers spread out so that you can comfortably balance. Your non-shooting hand should be placed on the side of the ball purely to assist with balancing the ball in your grip. When releasing the ball, your non-shooting hand shouldn’t impact the release of the ball and should be taken off the ball before the shooting hand is.
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Now to the most important part of the process, the release of the ball. The ball should transition from the shot pocket and begin to move upwards whilst remaining in front of your head. Ensure your shooting elbow feels comfortable under the ball. Using your legs to generate force, jump straight up vertically, releasing the ball directly before the top of your jump. Remember to produce the force on the ball through your shooting hand, confirming the non-preferred hand doesn’t impact the flight of the ball. Once released, ensure your hand follows through. Your shooting hand should extend towards the line of the rim. This is referred to by many coaches as “putting your hand in the cookie jar”. This allows for the proper follow through in order to complete the shot. You should also aim to land at the same spot as you jumped from when landing, this allows you to be shooting whilst balanced.
And there you have it! These few tips and pointers should set the foundations for executing your jump shot. Remember that whilst you want to follow this shooting process, your most natural and comfortable style will consist of a few minor differences to the next person. However, as long as you stick to these basic principles, you’ll be shooting like Steph Curry in no time! But like most things in life, perfecting such a skill will require time and practice… practice makes perfect.