Q: Hey! Coach, I noticed on the video that your demonstrators weren't jumping that high on their jump shots (maybe I should say that it doesn't look like they're jumping that high). Then, when I look at the likes of Jordan, Ray Allen, Kobe, and so on, they get a lot of air under their "J"s. When I try to get air under my jumps, I feel like I have no control over my shot and it doesn't "feel" comfortable. Like I mentioned before, my Achilles heel has always been my jumper, and I'm willing to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to improve it!!!
A: There are two kinds of jumpers, as I see it now. The one where you are not being pressured, you have a moment of separation from your defender, and no one to jump over. This is the simple catch & shoot or off-the-dribble shot where your purpose in jumping is to generate power and trigger the motion, not to elevate. You shoot early, on the way up, as you see in the video. I feel this is the majority of shots, maybe 85-90%, and for younger kids, at or close to 100% of the game (including free throws).
The jump-over-people kind of shooting you see in Jordan, Kobe, etc. is for the minority of shots, and it's a difficult shot to do well. The jump-and-the-shoot method goes way back to the 40's, but very few players could ever do it. If you are taking that kind of shot, you just have to realize that the stability of the UpForce won't be "with you," and the shot will be more difficult. You just have to do your best. If you can "catch" some of the UpForce, that is shoot before the top of the jump and not at the top, it will help some. The Release is the key thing here, unsupported mostly, and you just do the best you can. Unless you can do these shots well, it's probably better not to take them. Rely, instead, on fakes and picks and screens to get you the separation you need to take the first kind of shot, on the way up.
Q: Also, what do you suggest me doing to improve my UpForce? This may sound like a rhetorical question, but instead of assuming and speculating, I'd to hear it come from someone who has experienced success and knows what they're talking about.
A: You can strengthen your legs, of course, with weights and jumping routines. Also, if you just make the "surge" of energy more powerful, as you are, you'll probably find you have a lot of power. Note also if you're catching 100% of the UpForce or not, and, if not, there's more power available there. Play with it. See how powerful your lower and middle body muscles really are. If you hesitate before you shoot, then your range is dropping right away. If strength is an issue, then do some weight training or jumping training.