The Release

Q: Hi. I'm writing back to see if you can give me any more advice on shooting. I've tried some of your methods, but it seems like when i use more leg power, I'm a lot less accurate. My problem is usually not with the aiming but with the power, and I usually get the ball past the rim or airball it. Most of the shots I do hit are swishes. I'm about to go on Christmas vacation so I have time to work on my arms a bit for range.

A: What you want to develop is a Release action that is quick, strong (about 70-75% of max), and "full out," meaning it is to the end-of-the-arm, no more, no less, with a relaxed wrist and hand. The hand will bounce when your wrist and hand are truly relaxed. That is the goal, as it makes it "repeatable." The Release starts from a Set Point that is over your shooting eye (if you're strong enough), with the ball, hand and eye in alignment with the target. The Release is then a quick, pushing, arm-straightening action directly in line with the basket, though high above it. Hold the Follow Through until the ball reaches the target (approximately). This will give you Accuracy.

The power comes mostly from the legs for most shots. The exception is inside jump shots, where you want to elevate over people and need to delay releasing the ball a bit because you're in so close. But don't delay so much that you lose all the stabilizing power. Developing your arms is not the answer. Develop, instead, a quick release on the way up, utilizing as much leg power as you can. Shooting will become effortless.

If you're short, either get more leg force in your shot or lower your trajectory. If you're long, shoot higher next time. It's very simple.

If you are long sometimes and airballing the next, you just aren't staying connected to and aware of the target. Your body is very smart, but you have to pay attention and keep paying attention to where you want to go and at what angle. Then trust your body to figure things out.

Key is mastering the simple, full-out (about 70-75% of max.) Release from a distance where you don't need leg power (except to trigger your Release, if it feels awkward).