Ball Over Eye

Q: I have a question for your regarding your thoughts on 'squaring up.'

I also have taught the open stance approach so as to relieve tension in the shooting arm. However, I have also taught the "open window" approach, i.e. not putting the ball in front of your face when you shoot. I have always adhered to the school of thought that having the ball in front of your shooting eye affects your depth perception.

Perhaps I misunderstood. I would appreciate your opinion on this, as I am always attempting to improve on my coaching philosophy on shooting.

A: I think it's important to have the hand and ball "pretty much" in alignment with the shooting eye. I like it exactly in line, but when I'm moving left or right, that's not always possible, so this is a guideline, more than a hard-and-fast rule.

I've heard that some people like to have both eyes on the target, and that requires a movement of the ball slightly to the right (for right handers). This is your "open window" idea.

I find that I can cover one eye with my arm and still shoot just fine. My body "knows" where the basket is with a quick glance. You wouldn't want the ball in front of the face, blocking your vision totally, so you have to have a Set Point either above or below the eyes (so you can see the basket by looking under or above the ball).

Depth perception is not a problem for me and the players I've coached. If you can see with both eyes as you set the ball, you, can for that quick moment of setting and shooting have just one eye seeing the basket and, assuming you trust yourself, your body will know where the basket is in space and find the appropriate height for each shot.

In general, it's effective to be "generally" aligned with the shooting eye. A little bit left or right is okay, just so it's not so much that you can't be consistent with direction. I feel over the ear or the shoulder is much too far off line and requires a calculation of angle each time that can cause errors.