The other day I went to the gym and made 1,000 jump shots in 1 hour and 18 minutes using a shooting gun. This is why players come to me for shooting lessons…I was always touted as one of the top shooters in the country throughout high school and college. Making these 1,000 shots took me back to my playing days when I would prepare for games by shooting thousands of jump shots in the gym over the course of a couple of hours. I love to shoot, and I have only improved my technique and ability with age.
The shooting technique I discovered through much study and many trials I now call The Natural. I call it this as it allows each player to shoot the ball in the most natural way possible to them. The emphasis is on the individual player because just like no 2 fingerprints are the same, no 2 jump shots are the same. The feet placement, the hand placement on the ball, when the ball is released, etc. are all variables that differ depending on the player. The Natural embraces these nuances and encourages the player to use them to create their shot; the one that feels natural to them, allowing them to shoot straight E.V.E.R.Y. time. The key to becoming an exceptional shooter lies in the ball going straight, not necessarily in the number of makes.
Since I recently discovered The Natural, I was excited to try it out in the gym…hence taking over 1,100 shots. And while I shot 86%, I realized my overall effort was futile. Why? Because after 250 made shots, my efforts changed from being productive to being a cumbersome activity. Yes, I reached my goal of making 1,000 shots and yes, I shot 86%, but couldn’t I have achieved the same quality from the training session after 250 makes? The answer is a resounding yes! That’s when I had my epiphany. There is a sweet spot in basketball training where you are in the productivity zone. While in this zone you maximize your effort, efficiency, and fun. Once you wander outside of this zone, all three of these areas start to degrade. The further you get from this zone, the more you go through the motions, hurt your technique, and lose focus.
Just like the shot, the productivity zone will vary per player. The trick is to train regularly so you know how to find your zone. Then stay in it!! If you are honest with yourself, you can identify when you are doing