Selling it to yourself and others

Q: Hi Tom, I've been a little perplexed regarding the video. I try to teach and explain the Swish method. It is difficult to do. Part of the reason is acceptance by others. I'm talking about high school coaches, players, assistant coaches (mine) and others I discuss shooting with.

A: I guess you're saying that others insist that things like squaring up are the "right" way to shoot, and wrist flipping is the "right" way to power the ball, etc. I suppose the only determinator will be the end result. If you and your kids shoot better, perhaps they'll be persuaded (as will you). It's just more natural to turn the body. It results in less tension. The arm throw or the wrist flip motion tend to create a flat and hot shot. Do you want a shot coming in at 20-30° to a small oval, or do you want a shot coming in from 50-60° with a bigger landing area and much softer landing? You should get some agreement on the efficacy of the latter. If you can close your eyes and drill some shots, that might persuade some people. If you can look at the ground and fire off your release high and soft to come down 10' above where you're looking and make shots, and do it quite well, will that impress anyone? If you can shoot pretty well left handed...?

I don't know what it's going to take, but results will be hard to ignore. If you can't get results, or if your kids don't shoot any better with this Method, then you have a problem. My feeling is that from what I coach your kids will start to believe in themselves, they'll KNOW what works and they'll know the simple things they need to master to become better and better shooters. Same for you.

Q: Part of it is me, although I want to support/believe in Swish I have a hard time selling myself on it. Perhaps if I could get the divine reassurance from you in a learning session(s) I would gain confidence. I have toyed with the idea of asking for my money back, but I still see awesome stuff in Swish method. I like the high arc, leg power, finish and more. I've read all the newsletters and like them. I'd really like to coach this method proficiently but find I'm in a comfort zone and it's difficult to implement in my practices. Any ideas that would get me going on Swish? I am coaching 8th grade boys in a select environment.

A: Divine? No way. Human, based on experience, yes.

You have "good" feelings about the video and my writings. Trust them! All you need do is master the shot a little yourself and then coach some kids in the same stuff you've learned, and shooting will start to be terrific, all the time, not just in streaks. First you have to master the "full out" Release from 3', 4', 5', whatever is your distance. That Release can be so simple, relaxed and repeatable it can go on automatic. You should be able to make 10, 20, 40 in a row any time. If you can't make shot after shot after shot this way, then you haven't "got" it yet. It needs to be this simple, end-of-the-arm motion that you can repeat over and over. If you're wrist flipping, that ain't it. If you're short-arming it, that's not it. It's a simple PUSHING action, upward.

From the Zero Point (Pure Release Distance), there is no leg power used (or just a little triggering action, if you want -- I find younger kids need to have a tiny bit of UpForce in the shot motion from the Zero Point to make it all smoother and easier for them). As you move back, then, you need to add leg power or you're going to be short. You're training yourself to fire off the Release the same every time, same speed and force.

It's just that simple, but you have to master it to some degree. If your Release is all over the place, there will be no consistency. If you hold back your arm motion, or if the arm jerks to the side or up or down, it won't work. What I coach is the "simplest" motion possible. Just bring the ball to the Set Point and pull the trigger. End of the arm, relaxed wrist, bouncing hand. Like a robot. I use the image of a spring-loaded mechanism in my clinics. It's like you pull the arm back to the Set Point with a length of rope holding it there. Then, when you cut the rope, the spring fires off at the same speed and force every time.

See if you understand these things, Al, and then go master them to a small degree. You will have to shoot better when you do, and then you'll be better able to coach it, and your kids will be able to do it, and the critics will have to silence themselves (a nice way of saying "shut up").

Let me know what you discover. Keep it simple. There's nothing hidden!