“Hi Tom, G'day from down under again. It's been a while since I've contacted you but I have been shooting so well lately I had to send you another update. “As you know, I got immediate improvement by implementing the SWISH method but this season it's now at a whole new level. Quite frankly, I can't believe how well I am shooting at the moment and it's all thanks to the SWISH method.
“The main purpose of this e-mail is to emphasize that ANYONE can learn the SWISH method and I am living proof of it. At 34, and by my own admission, seriously unathletic and average at most aspects of basketball, I have taken my shooting to a level I didn't think I could achieve. “I have been averaging over 20 points a game 7 games into the season and I have also hit shots down the stretch in 3 games to get us over the line.
The best of them was last Monday. We were down by 5 points with 1 minute to go and I got a good look at the 3 point line and drilled it. “I was heavily guarded for the next possession, got double teamed, so I passed to a wide open team mate who just missed the game winning 3. We were lucky enough to get the rebound, the ball got passed to me about 1 metre outside the 3 point line. I had to shoot with defenders closing and with 5 seconds left on the clock. I just got it off and it was even a swish. “A first for me, I have never hit a game winning 3 point shot.
“I ended up scoring 30 points on 15 shots in this game. And they were all mid-range and 3 point jump shots. No layups or free throws. The entire team scored 45 points. Never have I been so pumped after winning a basketball game, we stole that one. “Also just this season, I had my top score of all time which was 35 points as well as hitting the most 3 pointers I have ever hit in one game. That was 10, I seriously just couldn't believe it. Even the ref was looking at me by about the 7th 3 pointer with a ‘I can't believe you hit another one’ look on his face. It was priceless.
“And just today, a teammate sent me the following e-mail: ‘i would like to know what your 3 pt percentage is this season - it’s got to be between 40-50% !! Lucky we have one player on the team that can knock them down !!!’ “But without a doubt, the number one biggest improvement is WHEN I am hitting the shots. Not only has my consistency improved drastically, my accuracy towards the end of games and when defenders are closing in on me has increased incredibly.
I can't explain how much more I am in tune with my shot and how much more of an understanding of why I miss when I do. “In fact I went through a time where I thought I might be doing something wrong as the trajectory on nearly all of my shots is the same. But I realized that I was just using more UPFORCE for further out shots then close shots and hence the trajectory was the same for most shots. “That realization came when I noticed that I would put extra arc on the shots when a defender was closing quickly. I had to get it off even quicker than normal and sure enough, the shot has quite a bit more arc when this happens. This also leads me to believe I can shoot even earlier which should lead me to even further improvement. Just incredible.
“Again, I want to emphasize, this isn't an e-mail about ‘Look at what I can do.’ It's 100% a testament to the SWISH method and how incredibly powerful it is. As I said above, at 34 and a most unathletic basketball player, I am the definition of average when it comes to most aspects of the game. But I just spent the time learning the SWISH method and it just flat out works. “If I can do it, ANYONE can do it. “In fact, I had to unlearn my old shoot of 15 years, so nearly everyone is at an advantage compared to where I started. And if anyone says the SWISH method is too slow to get off in a game or it doesn't work, just hasn't learned it fully yet. “I implore anyone to stick with it, IT WORKS!!!!!” Kindest regards
- - Travis M, Wembley, WA, Australia
“Hello from Connecticut and thank you, Tom, for continuing to include my daughter, Jessica , in your email list. I printed out your Trouble Shooting Guide and have given it to her. Jess attended your clinic when she was nine years old and in the 4th grade at our CT Wave Ultimate Wave Challenge at the University of Connecticut. My father also purchased your DVD at that time. “Jess is now 13 years old and in the 7th grade. She continues to play AAU basketball and recently scored 15 points at our first game this past Sunday morning. She continues to have a high percentage on assists and at the foul line and a low percentage on turnovers. She is a stellar athlete playing very well on offense along with being a very strong defensive player. Her coach states she is her most aggressive player. Your Swish shooting clinic was Jess's first clinic and it was a great start in her future years of training.” Sincerely,
- - Diane K., Windsor Locks, CT ----------------------------------------------------------
“Tom, Your trouble shooting guide in the recent newsletter is outstanding (maybe too long for the young learner) but extremely helpful. You end your guide with how incredible the human body is. I have been working with high school athletes this spring on shooting and individual skill development workouts and I have been saying the same thing to them. I use the idea that their brains and bodies have been incredibly designed by God, and the more awareness of what is happening with their bodies and the flight of the ball, then the greater chance they have of actually learning and improving.
“I have taught many clinics on developing a Culture of Shooters in Your Program and I use many of your ideas. All 3 of my sons have been outstanding shooters (each shooting above 45% from 3 point range in high school and one in college ball). Thank you for all your thoughts on shooting that you share with us coaches.” Sincerely, - - Mike D., Bellevue, Washington “Tom - I purchased your Swish video's a few months back and since that time I have been working with my now 9 year old son. He has been a fairly inconsistent shooter, particularly in his release (as any kid can be). Over this period of time we have been working on his release a few times a week, teaching Up-force and stance. As you can imagine this is no easy task, but a lot patience goes a long way (something I have had to learn). The great thing about young kids is that muscle memory comes fast and they don't have a lot of bad habits ingrained. I have to give him a lot of credit as he worked on implementing your method even on his own, learning what works and doesn't. “Recently he attended a basketball camp in which he placed 3rd in one shooting competition and 1st in another, this was out of 50 fourth and fifth grade boys (he will be in fourth grade next year), needless to say he was pumped and and it was a great lesson to him on what hard work will get you. He obviously has a long way to go, but is really becoming a impressive shooter, the other night we were out and he was shooting around and hardly paying attention to his shot as we talked, I counted and he made 13 out of 15 shots in a row, with near perfect release. It is really amazing to watch the growth. “I greatly appreciate your videos. Thanks for the help.” - - Rob P., Bismarck, ND
“Hello Tom, First I would like to express my appreciation to you for taking the time in a very busy schedule to email me with a response to my concerns regarding my daughter. I did as you suggested having Katy do the squared up shooting while under her AAU coach and then at home on our gravel driveway doing the Swish method (with an open stance). “I know you said that a squared-up stance would still work [Ed’s note: ... to a degree it will work] and that is the way my daughter shot the ball during the AAU season. But she constantly kept telling me, ‘Dad, I feel so much better with that open stance like in the video you showed me.’ It was obvious her confidence was another level higher when she shot with that open stance. Plus a college coach was brought in to do a clinic on ball handling drills and shooting. Thankfully he did not spend a great deal of time on the shooting as he kept insisting that the girls should be shooting like they were picking a cookie from a cookie jar up on a shelf. “Well let me get to the real point of this email. Katy's last AAU game for the season (March to early June) was this past Saturday. And now the story book ending. Katy did not shoot much during the season, never looking for the shot and not taking one when she had a wide open shot. I attribute that to her lack of confidence when her coach insisted she was shooting the wrong way and needed to square up and form that goose neck with her shooting arm/hand. “Well, since it was the last game of the season I told Katy that if it was all right with her she should shoot ‘just like in the video’ for her last game. Well I will never forget this last game. Katy did not score a ton of points. What was most significant for me was that when the game was on the line, she looked for the shot and took the shot using the Swish method. Playing against a team that handily beat her team three previous times, Katy twice tied the game in the last two minutes of play and then with 20 seconds to play she actually took a three point shot and swished it. (No pun intended). That put her team up by two. The other team tied the game with just a few seconds to go and the game went into overtime. “In the overtime Katy hit two baskets. One about fifteen feet away and the second, ten feet away - off the dribble - with nine seconds left in the overtime to give her team a one point overtime victory. The thrill of victory and being a big part of it created a look of ecstasy on her happy face I will never forget. Thank you for giving her the opportunity and the confidence to be successful. We will continue to work on the Swish Method during the summer and into the Fall.” - - John C., Pennsylvania -------- [Below is a Follow Up email from John.] “I just took Katy to a week-long basketball camp yesterday. Hopefully the shooting instruction will not play games with her again. But now I think she realizes what many instructors try to teach in opposition to the Swish Method and that it may even help her to better understand the benefits of the Swish Method. “When we watch college or pro basketball, whether it be the men or the women teams, Katy is always looking at the way players shoot, whether it be a foul shot, three pointer, or pull up jumper. I find it reinforces her take on the Swish Method. Upforce and being relaxed are the keys for Katy. I think the confidence she gains with the use of the upforce in her shot has led to her being more relaxed in her shooting and that carries out to being more consistent and successful in her shooting. “Recently a basketball practice of Katy's ended and I let Katy shoot around for twenty minutes in the gym while her teammates got ready to go home. Katy started shooting from different points on the court starting at five feet from the basket and working her way out to fifteen feet. And she would hit shot after shot after shot. It was like watching some of the girls in your video. The players on Katy's team (all older by one or two years) actually sat down on court side to watch her shoot. ‘Wow’ after ‘wow’ was heard from her teammates and their parents. Katy was just beaming and hitting shot after shot. Seven out of ten from just about anywhere within the fifteen foot range were falling in. “The ‘Upforce’ is a code word now in use in our household.” Thanks again. John “Hey Mr. Nordland, I recently went to your session in the Woodlands at Legends Sports Complex to learn your shooting method. This weekend I went to a tournament in San Antonio. We played five games and I scored 26, 10, 29, 22, and 17 points! They were all against very good teams in which most of them had a majority of older players. I have never in aau scored that many points and it was mostly all of my shooting. I also went 24 for 25 in free throws. I am very excited to work with your program this summer and come back next year to my school team. My coach told me that I had to put emphasis on my shot this summer and I think this will really help. I will stay in touch like you said.”
- - Rafael M., Houston area -------- “Hey Mr. Nordland, Seeing people shoot on video gave me the idea of filming myself and comparing it to what I saw. I saw I still had the problem of making my shot like a slingshot like we went over at the clinic and sometimes my release when I flicked my wrist was still funny looking. Watching the videos over again helped me fix both of those things. I still think I have a little glitch with making my shot like a slingshot but I will fix it and either way my shot is still on the money so I'm excited to see the results.”
- - Rafael M.
Testimonials from July ‘08, Issue #111
“Dear Tom, I thought I would drop you a note letting you know what kind of progress Carlie is making. She has been working really hard preparing for her upcoming AAU season. Since we left you, her Jr. High team competed in the Louisiana State tournament where they finished 3rd among all classes. Carlie played extremely well, handling the opposing teams' intense ball pressure.
“She didn't get very many shot attempts due to the fact that she is still not looking to shoot. I can't convince her that great shooters look to score when the opportunities present themselves and that she could benefit the team by contributing more points. She still has that assist first, point guard, attitude which is certainly a valuable attribute in terms of team play but our team tends to have trouble scoring at times. Maybe her thinking will change as she matures and continues to become more confident in her ability to score.
“Speaking of confidence, Carlie and I just returned from the gym where I witnessed the most unbelievable shooting performance i've ever seen. Every single shot was swish, after swish, after swish. She could not miss! Every shot within the 3 point arc was nothing but the bottom of the net. As she moved out to the longer distances she tended to move the ball a bit off of her right eye, but overall her release is becoming more and more automatic every day. She still struggles with finishing with a floppy wrist and her rotation is still far from perfect, but overall she has made tremendous progress. This summer, after her AAU season finishes, we hope to return to California to spend more time with you, fine tuning her shot.”
- - Jonas G., Pineville, LA
“Tom, I just wanted to give you an update on my daughter Nicole. As you may recall we flew in for your clinics in Minneapolis.
“So far in her summer league, the biggest difference I have seen in Nicole is her is that she now has the confidence to take the outside shot. Last season she would hesitate before shooting or even passing up a good shot because she was afraid she would miss. She is not the leading scorer on the team, but she is not afraid to shoot.
“When we are out shooting at the hoop, she is able to tell me what caused her to miss. She is able to begin coaching herself. She went to a basketball camp as she said the coaches said square up and keep the elbow in. She told me Tom would be disappointed in their coaching.
“Again it was a pleasure to meet you and watch how you worked with the kids. I can hardly wait until basketball season starts and I can start coaching the Swish method.”
- - Glen K., Stroudsburg, PA
“Hi Tom, Just a quick note to let you know we really appreciate you including Katy's story (testimonial) in your July Newsletter. When Katy read the testimonials you included, she almost felt out of her seat at the computer when she realized she was reading our testimonial.
“I would like to add a follow up to Katy's situation. Recently Katy spent a week at a basketball camp that draws kids from NE Pennsylvania and beyond. The camp has been in existence for decades and it has a very good reputation. Anyway, on the last day of camp as parents arrived to pick up their girls, semi-finals and a final game were played for the Camp Championship. Katy's team was in the 10-13 yr. old age group.
“With Katy using the Swish Method of shooting, and with a good deal of confidence, Katy took numerous shots when the opportunity presented itself and she was successful in over 50% of her shots taken. Katy's team won the camp championship and Katy was a major part of that accomplishment. At an awards ceremony at the conclusion of camp, Katy was selected to the Camp All-Star Team. An evaluation form, written up by each team's coach(college basketball players coached the teams and helped instruct at the camp), was given to each player. The evaluation form allowed the coaches to individually assess each players' skills. (Defense, passing, shooting, knowledge of the game, and court awareness were some of the categories listed).
“Katy's coach made many positive comments regarding Katy's game, but the one that caught my eye and Katy's was the comment made in the Shooting Category. Her coach noted that Katy had ‘one of the nicest and smoothest shots I have ever seen’. That comment made Katy's week, and her confidence level was bumped up another notch.
“Thank you and the Swish Method once again. As I said before in earlier emails, Katy and I will continue to work and reap the benefits of the Swish Method.”
-- John C., Dallas, TX
“Tom, my team shot so well this summer league that other coaches complimented us on our shooting ability. It was hard for teams to zone us because they could never figure out who to guard. I often heard coaches refer to our team as a team full of shooters! It is beautiful to watch!”
-- M. Lanier, Glendora, CA (I’ve coached his teams for two years now, a couple clinics each year. He’s done the tougher job of extending and guiding the coaching after the clinics.)
“Hi Tom. I just wanted to write to tell you how impressed I am with your teaching of shooting. I have played basketball for over 30 years up to the University level. I have coached at all levels and have never been exposed to such a simple yet effective method of shooting instruction.
“To test it out I took to the courts. My shooting improved dramatically. I was a great shooter in High School, but in University I became a ‘defensive specialist’ and lost my shooting confidence as well as my technique. I have struggled for years to get it back, mostly by fiddling around trying to alter something here or there.
“Over two sessions using awareness and a few minor changes you suggest, I would almost declare it a miracle. As you say, swish after swish. It was amazing to get that "feeling" back. I can't wait to play pick up to see how I do in a game situation. This will forever alter how I teach shooting and I haven't even seen your video yet (which I will purchase).
“The other great thing was that I taught the technique to 2 young kids who were shooting at the same courts as me. Their improvement was both sudden and also dramatic in a very short time. I found it hard to be "neutral" though (with my reactions), but I did my best. As you can tell I am amazed. What a paradigm shift in teaching shooting!
“If I could set it up would you be interested in coming to Vancouver (Canada) to do a shooting clinic. I'm sure we could get a huge turnout. Please let me know your schedule and if you would be interested. I would love to learn your methods in person.”
-- Todd Kozinka
Planet Hoops, Sooke, British Columbia
"Hoop Hype" Webpage
“First off, please excuse the length of the email I am about to write :)
“In case it helps you out I just wanted to let you know what brought me to your site and sold me on trying out your system, it went like this:
“I ran a search on google.com for "shoot basketball" or something like that and found your site among many others. What intrigued me about your site in particular though was the fact that it was more than just ad copy. What I mean is that most similar web sites will mention "become a better shooter in ten days" or offer some exciting testimonials and you don't get to hear the rest until you pay up. Now this is certainly understandable, but these sites all sound the same and there is really nothing there to convince me to try their methods out.
“On your site, however, you actually give away a great deal of information about your thoughts and views on shooting, what techniques good shooters have in common, and most importantly what your program is all about -- UpForce and your other associate teaching principles. When reading your article "A Lost Art Found!" I realized that what you said was very intelligent and made sense. Yes, Americans, or most people in general, seem to almost entirely learn basketball by playing games and not actually practicing fundamental aspects and thus spend their whole time reinforcing whatever habits they have at the expense of learning how to improve or do things correctly. This problem is compounded by the fact that when any instruction or drilling does take place it is often done incorrectly -- squaring up, shooting with the wrist (or almost entirely with the arm), shooting at the top of the jump, etc.
“Now it is just common sense, or physics anyway, that releasing the ball quickly as you are still jumping up will impart more upward momentum to the ball, thus increasing the arch of the shot and easing the ability of the ball to drop straight down into the hole and thus also easing your ability to shoot greater distance (as long as your release is not too high) since legs are pretty powerful and can even enable small girls to shoot three pointers if they do it right. And at the same time shooting this way allows one to shoot with a more relaxed and accurate arm motion since the arm no longer has to provide much of the power for the shot -- ideally this would be the same arm motion every time, learned to the point that it is unconscious and perfect.
“However, it is one thing to "know" something and another completely to apply it. The real genius in your system, and the reason why your video is more valuable than just your newsletters alone, is that you are teaching something that is basic and obviously true but is almost universally overlooked, and you are doing so in a step by step, easy to follow manner. Basically I think I understand exactly what you are talking about and have even seen incredible results trying out shooting what I believe is the way you are describing but I want your video for the drills and just to make sure I have an adequate grasp of everything you mention on your web site, and because I share in your enthusiasm for basketball and feel that this is more of a contribution to a good cause than anything :).
“I could go on forever about the thoughts I have had regarding shooting and probably bore you completely but from what I have seen, your method of shooting is better than others for these reasons:
“1. It gives a quicker release
2. It is a much more accurate way to shoot
3. and one of the reasons for number 2. is that the power for the shot comes from a stable base, your legs mostly, and enables you to relax your arm and easily use the same confident semi-relaxed release time and again.
“You are right in that this is something that can be learned almost overnight, and that is the most amazing part. My shooting improved so much in one afternoon after trying out what I believe your methods are that it was almost funny. I was actually laughing while I was shooting, it was so absurd how much better my shot just became. The people in my gym thought I was nuts because I was just laughing and nailing shots from all over the place. I mean shooting used to be frustrating and painful, but this was fun, partly because when you use mostly your legs in that springing type motion with the quick release, it is just a much more relaxed and easier way to shoot. When I tried to tell my friends the secret, they would agree and express the fact that they "already knew that" and then they would go back to their old mostly incorrect methods of flinging the ball up in the air with their arm.
“The only drawback to shooting with your legs this way is that my legs eventually get tired and my shot will then go flat and that the quickness of the release sometimes makes it hard to maintain good form. The first problem will be solved with better conditioning and the second with some good drills.
“I also noticed that most good female shooters in my gym employ much more of the principles that you discuss than the men do, and the best shooters combine this with a shot that has obviously been practiced so much that it is the same release every time.
“One other thing I wanted to add was that what I am most interested in would be some real empirical data comparing different shooting methods and an actual physics-based and biomechanically-based breakdown of everything that is occurring in the shot and why this way of shooting is therefore better than another and so on. What would be ideal would be to have two groups of adults that have never shot a ball before (women maybe since they are less likely to have played ball and are probably easier to teach since they don't have the whole manly pride thing that so often interferes with learning) and have them taught your method and the "traditional method" whatever that may be -- squaring up, shooting mostly with the arm and wrist, and see which group ends up shooting better and then analyze the results in a controlled scientific fashion.
“Maybe even have the results reported in a scientific journal, that would be great. In addition to this you would of course want to determine the ideal way to teach the correct method which is what I assume you spend most of your time trying to figure out since teaching can always be improved and is probably incredibly difficult when trying to overcome very old learned behaviors.
“Well, I think I should stop writing now. I can't believe how much time I have spent analyzing this stuff, it's crazy. I can only imagine what you could write. You could probably turn something as simple as shooting a ball into a 400 page book if you were so inclined, but then that would go against your methods I believe.
“I look forward to that video and to destroying the competition with the most overlooked and powerful of basketball abilities -- good shooting.”
-- P. Nichols, Seattle
"Hi Tom, First off, please excuse the length of the email I am about to write. In case it helps you out, I just wanted to let you know what brought me to your site and sold me on trying out your system. It went like this: "I ran a search on google.com for "shoot basketball" or something like that and found your site among many others. What intrigued me about your site in particular though was the fact that it was more than just ad copy. What I mean is that most similar web sites will mention "become a better shooter in ten days" or offer some exciting testimonials and you don't get to hear the rest until you pay up. "Now this is certainly understandable but these sites all sound the same and there is really nothing there to convince me to try their method out. On your site however you actually give away a great deal of information about your thoughts and views on shooting, what techniques good shooters have in common, and most importantly what your program is all about - UpForce and your other associate teaching principles. When reading your article "A Lost Art Found!" I realized that what you said was very intelligent and made sense. "Yes Americans, or most people in general, seem to almost entirely learn basketball by playing games and not actually practicing fundamental aspects and thus spend their whole time reinforcing whatever habits they have at the expense of learning how to improve or do things correctly. This problem is compounded by the fact that when any instruction or drilling does take place it is often done incorrectly - squaring up, shooting with the wrist (or almost entirely with the arm), shooting at the top of the jump, etc. "Now it is just common sense, or physics anyway, that releasing the ball quickly as you are still jumping up will impart more upward momentum to the ball, thus increasing the arch of the shot and easing the ability of the ball to drop straight down into the hole and thus also easing your ability to shoot greater distance (as long as your release is not too high) since legs are pretty powerful and can even enable small girls to shoot three pointers if they do it right. And at the same time shooting this way allows one to shoot with a more relaxed and accurate arm motion since the arm no longer has to provide much of the power for the shot - ideally this would be the same arm motion every time, learned to the point that it is unconscious and perfect. "However, it is one thing to "know" something and another completely to apply it. The real genius in your system, and the reason why your video is more valuable than just your newsletters alone, is that you are teaching something that is basic and obviously true but is almost universally overlooked and you are doing so in a step by step easy to follow manner. Basically I think I understand exactly what you are talking about and have even seen incredible results trying out shooting what I believe is the way you are describing but I want your video for the drills and just to make sure I have an adequate grasp of everything you mention on your web site, and because I share in your enthusiasm for basketball and feel that this is more of a contribution to a good cause than anything :). "I could go on forever about the thoughts I have had regarding shooting and probably bore you completely but from what I have seen your method of shooting is better than others for these reasons: "1. It gives a quicker release "2. It is a much more accurate way to shoot "3. and one of the reasons for number 2. is that the power for the shot comes from a stable base, your legs mostly, and enables you to relax your arm and easily use the same confident semi-relaxed release time and again. "You are right in that this is something that can be learned almost overnight, and that is the most amazing part. My shooting improved so much in one afternoon after trying out what I believe your methods are that it was almost funny. I was actually laughing while I was shooting it was so absurd how much better my shot just became. The people in my gym thought I was nuts because I was just laughing and nailing shots from all over the place. I mean shooting used to be frustrating and painful but this was fun, partly because when you use mostly your legs in that springing type motion with the quick release, it is just a much more relaxed and easier way to shoot. When I tried to tell my friends the secret though they would agree and expressed the fact that they "already knew that" and then they would go back to their old mostly incorrect methods of flinging the ball up in the air with their arm. The only drawback to shooting with your legs this way is that my legs eventually get tired and my shot will then go flat and that the quickness of the release sometimes makes it hard to maintain good form. The first problem will be solved with better conditioning and the second with some good drills. "I also noticed that most good female shooters in my gym employ much more of the principles that you discuss than the men do, and the best shooters combine this with a shot that has obviously been practiced so much that it is the same release every time. "One other thing I wanted to add was that what I am most interested in would be some real empirical data comparing different shooting methods and an actual physics based and bio-mechanical based breakdown of everything that is occurring in the shot and why this way of shooting is therefore better than another and so on. What would be ideal would be to have two groups of adults that have never shot a ball before (women maybe since they are less likely to have played ball and are probably easier to teach since they don't have the whole manly pride thing that so often interferes with learning) and have them taught your method and the "traditional method" whatever that may be - squaring up, shooting mostly with the arm and wrist, and see which group ends up shooting better and then analyze the results in a controlled scientific fashion. Maybe even have the results reported in a scientific journal, that would be great. In addition to this you would of course want to determine the ideal way to teach the correct method which is what I assume you spend most of your time trying to figure out since teaching can always be improved and is probably incredibly difficult when trying to overcome very old learned behaviors. "Well, I think I should stop writing now. I can't believe how much time I have spent analyzing this stuff, it's crazy. I can only imagine what you could write. You could probably turn something as simple as shooting a ball into a 400 page book if you were so inclined, but then that would go against your methods I believe. "I look forward to that video and to destroying the competition with the most overlooked and powerful of basketball abilities - good shooting." -- P. Nichols, Seattle -------- "Hello, I purchased your video about 5 weeks ago. I must say that it is hands down the best money I have ever spent. The enjoyment i have in Basketball has rocketed. I think you know why =) "I don't play for any school team, to tell ya the truth I just began playing basketball two years ago. I play mainly pick-up game and various intramural leagues in the area. I might not play on an official team, but I am well versed in many aspects of basketball fundamentals and plays. In one of my 3 on 3 leagues, I play with two of my best friends. We have 13 set plays, which basically is a combination of post-up plays, backdoors, pick & rolls (a lot of these). I basically took elements of a 3 man game, and strung them together so if one option does not work, it can easily flow into the next, most plays have 4 options, and most of them are very dependent on the defense's reaction and such. We aren't the most talented bunch, but we hardly ever lose do to good execution. "In any case, I watched your video, followed it step by step, and I practice some of the 'drills' every time before I play. I am shocked by how great it has changed my game. Before you my game was basically low-post, high-post turn and face, or pick and roll. I felt very confident of most of my game except shooting from any considerable distance. I could drive good enough to get my man to play off me. After that my effectiveness dropped because opponents would play far off me on any pick and rolls, or screens to free me for shots. "After your video it has all changed. I now get the ball of the screen, jab step toward baseline and pop a jumper, SWISH. I will drive right, step back and pop. I find myself taking jumpers more then anything now. And making them with great success. And since I have proven my shot in game situation, my game to the basket has exploded. In a recent game I got the ball with my man playing off, I faked the shot, he respected, and jumped. With a wide open lane to the basket, probably forcing the man to come off my teammate and allowing a pass. I instinctively took a step dribble to my right and drained the jumper. "As you suggested I kept track of how i shot on the floor before the video. And then i just recorded myself earlier this week. I transfered it into percentages, and I am hitting uncontested 3 pointers and just inside the arc an amazing 48% percent better. From 32%, to 80%. I've hit jumpers with guys all over me, with hands in my face. "You know what, I give up, I CANT explain in words how happy i am over this video, it has changed everything and I enjoy basketball so much, no longer am i ashamed to shoot around. Thank you, this style is just amazing. The wierd part is, there was nothing to it. Just shoot early, same arm motion, and get that ball high. "It's amazing the look on my opponents face, when i fling a jumper high over their outstretched hand. I personally don't even know how these things go in, they just come down and swish like i have never before." -- B. Miller, Lino Lakes, MN -------- "Tom, I am just writing to tell you what an impact your teaching methods did for my H.S. freshmen girls team this year. I apologize for not writing sooner, but I have been very busy. "To give you a little background on myself; I coached girls basketball for 9 years at the high school level and then retired, so to speak. I coached my whole career at the same school, which was small in enrollment. I always had some good athletes, but never very good basketball players. Most of my girls played other sports and basketball was not their first love. Most of the girls were terrible shooters and I always struggled to make them better. I basically relied on a lot of discipline and a good defense and we won quite a few games. Our motto was "We're not going to out score you, we are just going to make sure you don't score more points than we do". We were not very fun to watch, but we got the job done. Two of my seasons (as head coach) we went to the regionals. It was a nice coaching career and the only regret I had is that I was unable to get the girls to shoot better. I sort of took the attitude that their lack of shooting capability was because they never worked on it during the off season and it was too difficult and time consuming to do it during the season. "After 3 years I got back into coaching this year as a freshmen coach ... at the same school. The school was kind of desperate because their present freshmen coach had to quit right before the season started. So, as a favor I decided to get back into it. As you may have guessed, not much had changed. Good athletes, poor shooters. At first I thought "What did I get myself into?" My freshmen girls had played together since the fifth grade. They told me they never won many games. Their parents told me that the girls always tried hard but could never score much. Oh, and besides being poor shooters, they were small, too. The tallest girl was 5'8". "I remember the first night of practice. I keep a log every practice of misses and makes for free throws and free shooting. The girls were 17% as team in FT's and 13% shooting practice shots. And it was not like this was the girls' first time in a while to pick up a ball. Most of them were coming to open gyms for two weeks before the season started. I thought, "Here we go again, I better get my defensive book dusted off." "Then I remembered seeing one of your advertisements a couple of years ago and I was intrigued by your approach of how to teach good shooting. Fortunately, I remembered it was "swish" something and eventually found you on the web. I bought your tape and even talked to you on the phone. You gave me some good advice too. "Inspired by all this I decided to focus more on shooting this season. It was an easy decision anyway because the girls were only freshmen. The toughest part was getting the girls to buy into your methods. They did and man did it pay off! We still worked a lot on fundamentals and defense, but we worked a lot of hours on shooting. I even video taped the girls shooting to help them see what they should or shouldn't be doing. "We play a very competitive schedule too. Like I said before, we are a small school and we compete against mostly bigger schools. We were, by far, the smallest team in the league. If we were to score it had to be from the outside. "We struggled at the beginning, but each game the girls shooting got stronger. Their form was coming together and their confidence was building. After seven games we had only three wins but then went on to win the next fifteen out of sixteen games finishing second in the league and we won the freshmen tournament. "The girls were so good and for me, well, I looked like a damn genius. We had nine games where the girls scored over 40 points and one game the girls scored 32 points in the first half and went on to score 24 more in the second half. That is awesome at freshmen level. The girls were so exciting to watch. We got a nice following of fans, too. "For the season we shot 39% from the field and 47% from the free-throw line. Not one of my girls could make a three pointer at the beginning of the season. They finished 18 for 45 from trifeccta land. My motto became, "Just let it fly!" It was amazing. The parents of the girls were so proud and they couldn't believe it either. They even called me a damn genius. I have been called a lot of things in my coaching career but never that. Thanks again Tom. Your help made my coaching season fun. I just wish I knew what I know now when I first started coaching." --Sincerely, Mike (the Damn Genius) S., Middletown, Ohio -------- "Tom, I received your video and I love the SWISH method! I have coached for 8 years at the collegiate, AAU, and high school levels, and I always try to find a better approach to teaching shooting that is easy for my players to understand. Obviously, I also want one that works. I have definitely found it in the SWISH method. The approach is so common sense, and it has been simple for the kids to retain. I am already seeing improvements in the players' shooting. In fact, my own shooting has improved, too! "Shooting, especially in the U.S., is a joke. As coaches, we are all trying to figure out from where the problems stem. It seems to come from poor coaching. I have been guilty of that. In the past, I thought I was explaining things in a manner that was easy to understand, but the players would have these confused looks on their faces. Now I see how complicated I was making it for them. I had them trying to remember so many things. Players at any level have a very tough time trying to remember a lot of principles, especially while playing the game. Your shooting approach focuses on a few major components, and then lets the players simply REACT, and PLAY THE GAME. That's huge. "I appreciate your work, and will continue to teach the SWISH method to my players for many years to come." -- T. Dartt, Olmsted Falls, OH (High school coach) -------- "Dear Coach Nordland, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and let you know what a great and powerful system you have developed. Your program has not only helped me personally, but I can take my experience and be better able to coach the best shooting method around for my players. "Growing up and going through programs, I became known as a shooter. I practiced day and night on my shooting skills but never really felt very confident. My shots seemed to be sometimes on sometimes off without any real notion as to why. I always felt it was a matter of practice before and focus during a game. Coaches tried to assist by making the usual comments = square up, point at the rim, etc. But these comments did not mean anything to me and I did not feel they made a difference in my shot. "I expanded my love of the game by becoming a coach (at many levels both boys and girls). When I first began coaching, I would teach shooting by lengthy shooting drills especially from the foul line. Based on my past experience I felt it was a matter of practice and focus. I used some of the gimmicks such as BEEF (Bend the knees, Elbow in, Eyes on the target, and Follow through), but I never really felt this was particularly helpful. I would instruct my team to "think it in" in hopes that they would focus on putting the shot in. "As I was still playing in men's leagues and coaching, I kept up with anything I could on drills. In my search I discovered the Basketball Highway and read some articles from a shooting Coach named Tom Nordland (you). It was like a revelation. Everything I read was like an answer to my prayers. The articles explained what exactly makes a good shot and how to improve your shot, not some silly notion like "BEEF" with no further explanation. I waited in anticipation for each new article to come out to learn more. I incorporated all of the techniques as best I could into my own shot and had immediate great results. Not only did my feeling towards my shot improve, but I could also measure directly an increase in my free throw shooting. I would say I went from a 75 percent shooter to a better than 90 percent shooter from the line. The method also made intellectual sense. The physics of launching a ball had never crossed my mind until these articles. But think about it, the size of the target and the angle of approach are very much related. I will never forget the best notion for shot correction = "Shoot through the sun roof, not the windshield." After the last article, I was hooked. I immediately called Coach Nordland and asked for the tape on the SWISH method. This method is THE most powerful tool for developing great shooting habits. I had been using the method on my own shots from the articles, but the video made the method even clearer. "I used all the techniques in the video and began to share my new knowledge. I have held a number of clinics with my own teams and younger teams in our program (I coach at the High School level). Players really get a good sense of this method because they are required (and allowed) to figure out the concepts on their own. They make the changes and see the results as we conduct the clinic. I know this is a powerful coaching method because of the kids who ask me to help them with their shots. Also, an even better indication are when players tell other players that "I shoot so good because Coach Thomas taught me". "So once again - thank you so much Coach Nordland for providing the secrets to great shooting." -- Coach J. Thomas, Rochester, NH (High school coach) -------- (After having the video for awhile and then taking a clinic with me in Victorville, Calif.) "Hi, I am really improving, i was playing a game of "21" and I got the ball and scored with a lay-up. I then made almost the rest of my points with free throws. U don't how much of a relief it is to have a pure shot that always works. It doesn't choke even when your almost certain that you will. I almost consider shooting therapudic. when I was little, and i would have a problem, I would just go outside and shoot. I had lots of problems. "Family/School basketball has always been a way for me to escape the constant "Do it this way!" "No, you're so stupid!" "Use your brain!" "You're not gonna be an NBA star!" I look back at those comments that were said to me and now I just laugh. Thanks to you I can laugh alot more. "U and my parents really help sometimes when I don't even know it. It has been a long time since I could say this" I love this GAME!" You da man!" -- Rougie, Louisiana -------- "Tom, Here's a pretty good story for you. We were playing some 3 on 3 in Ashland, Oregon several weeks ago and while we shot around for one of the games, I hit five shots in a row with my eyes closed from about 15 feet. Then, when we started the game, I immediately got open for a jumper at the free throw line. I received the ball, sighted on the basket, SHUT MY EYES, and let it fly--- swish! My sons, brother, and brother-in-law saw me shut my eyes and stood in disbelief as the ball swished through the net. That kind of shoots the theory of where to sight on the basket as you shoot!" -- D. Hayden, Evansville, Ind. (High school coach)
- TESTIMONIALS -- BATCH #5 - "Tom: I've noticed that many NBA scorers utilize an adaptation of your swish method: Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Detlef Schrempf, Dell Curry, and many, many more. Their mechanics are all unique but the basic principle is clearly evident. If you or anyone were to mimic the form of these outstanding players, you would see that they're using the basic UpForce and release method. "My own testimonial is that I was a B-E-E-F method player. I taught my own kids the gooseneck. What a mistake! I literally glanced at one of the first newsletters I received in the mail. I read maybe a sentence or two. I saw some father was asking or commenting on the method of letting the hand just drop naturally at the end of the release. That was all I read and went to my noon time exercise at the gym. I tried doing just what I had read and wow, I was immediately convinced this was the way to go as a player and coach. "I'm still working and still developing and still improving. If I had known this method when I was younger (high school), I'm convinced I would not simply be a former junior college player and Division II prospect. I would have had the confidence and ability to compete at the D-1 level. I had all the tools except the consistent jumper. I used to work hour after hour for years on my jumper without the results I realized in that first week alone. I bought the video and now attempting to get the kids to retrain themselves with the method. Keep up the good work." -- R. Swift -------- "Dear Tom, I have had great success using your method. I taught myself first. I am not a great athlete (in a high school with 200 kids, I was not good enough to make even the JV basketball team). I can now consistently shoot 80% from the free throw line (up from about 30%). I can also regularly make 5 or 6 successive 3 point shots while practicing. I have even started making them under pressure when I play at a local gym during lunch time. "I have also had good success teaching it. One of my 5th grade girls won the final day 'shoot out' against 6th and 7th graders last summer at a camp put on by our High School Coaches. Another of the girls I taught got first in shooting at a different camp with 60 kids. "I have developed a 'Shooting Awareness Survey' that has the kids answer questions about how they shoot. It is based on some of the Awareness stuff that you are talking about. I am attaching it - feel free to use it or give me any feedback. "I have thought about doing some sort of clinic or giving free shooting lessons to any of the local kids that are interested. I really would appreciate any help or advice you can give in that area." -- G. Crocker -------- "Tom, I have been reading backwards in your previous Newsletter. I had to STOP reading them as you were mentally overloading my head with spectacular material. I am talking to people everywhere about you and your Swish22 website. You should be proud of what you are doing and accomplishing. Thanks for my mental overload (smile)." -- P. Suessmuth, Hillsburgh, Ontario, Canada -------- "Tom, Just a quick note on my son's progress since purchasing the Swish video a few months ago. When the package arrived in the mail my son had it open and had watched the video before I got home from work. The video reinforced what I had been telling him all year; that his shot had become too flat. I just didn't know how to show him to improve. Still, I wasn't sure the message would take. "I am happy to report that rarely a day goes by that he is not in the driveway working on his technique. His good shots now rip the cords! When I rebound for him, I hear him talking to himself about UpForce and too much upper body on his errant shots. He even tells me "you threw that one" when I launch a flat one! Last night he was on the wet driveway in a slight drizzle shooting. He was hitting 14 or 15 perfect shots in a row. His shot is getting more consistent all of the time. Sometimes I watch him from afar and see him warm up from his zero point before shooting the longer ones. "I now eagerly await the start of fall basketball (this Saturday) to see if it will translate to the court. Your section about fear of failing in the August newsletter will also come in handy. He has tended to shy away form shooting the open shots. I hope his new found confidence will free him up to shoot - dead center SWISH!" -- J. Quirk, III, Richardson, TX Another from Joe: Tom, A few weeks back you had asked for my son's description about what he is learning from the Swish method - what's hard, easy, etc... "The hardest thing starting out was getting a constant release motion - getting the release to be the same each time. Also, keeping the wrist from flipping the ball instead of just guiding it. Using the lower body to power the shot was awkward at first because I was thinking about it too much. But, once I got used to it, it became easier to shoot at different distances and my range increased. Coordinating the release with the UpForce also takes some practice, but I think that was more too much thinking instead of reacting. I don't think it was really hard, it was just part of changing to a different method. "The easiest part for me was getting the ball into a higher arching path. Once I got my legs powering the shot, it just happened. I also think opening up my stance a little bit and getting better aligned with the basket made a lot of sense and was easy. "Since I have been trying to use the Swish method I think I have become more consistent. More shots seem to go in because the higher arching shot seems to be more forgiving. Even when shots are off target a little they seem to bounce softer and sometimes go in. I have noticed it is harder for defenders to block my shot too. My teammates are starting to look for me to get more shots as a higher percentage of shots go in. "Another benefit for me has been on defense. Now that I kind of know what to look for, I can tell who are the likely to be the really good shooters that need to be guarded closely. The other guys may make a few, but usually miss more than they make." -- Joey (the son) Note from Joey's dad: "Joey is one of the quiet types, but you can usually drag it out of him if you keep asking him questions. At a game this past weekend, one of his teammates was telling him that his shot was too high. I listened from a few feet away as he told him why it was high and the benefits of it being high. I have to tell you he would never have said anything like that a few weeks ago. He probably would have listened to his teammate and started shooting flatter!!!! -- J. Quirk, III, Richardson, TX -------- "Dear Tom, Have received the swish video and accompanying workbook in good order. I've already watched the video twice. I find it very interesting. I'm going to be watching it many more times. "The first basketball session (recreational games-first team to reach 15 points win with shots counting as 2 or 3 points accordingly) I had after watching the first viewing, the improvement of my shooting was remarkable. After missing a few shots, I was able to "feel" what was "not right" and once adjusted, I could literally "feel" what was right and seemed like I could score at will the rest of the night, no matter what the defense tried. I am already thought of as a "very good" shooter among my friends (though I only rate myself as above average ... that's why I bought your video!) but that night, everyone was amazed. It wasn't that I was just shooting at a high percentage but seemed like every 15 point game we played came down to that one last game winning, usually 3 point, shot (or game loosing miss), and I made everyone of those. Towards the end of the night, everyone knew I was going to get that last shot but it didn't matter, all I needed was a split second to get the shot off ... and they all hit nothing but the bottom of the net!! "Strangely and sadly, the second basketball session I had after that (a week later), I had difficulty finding that "right feeling" on a consistent basis and shot an average percentage that night. "I guess its still early. Will continue to try. "I will say this at this moment though : there were many times in the past where I had tried something different in an attempt to improve my shooting, but this is the first time where it isn't a mental exercise (e.g. thinking in the head : "OK, keep elbows in" or "minimize hand movement" or "flick wrist"). Instead, I find it more like "experimenting" or going on a discovery journey ... trying to find that "right feeling" by simply doing. I'm enjoying it. Hope more consistent results will follow." -- Thanks, Loke Yew, Malaysia -------- "Tom, I just wanted to say that after watching the video twice, I have been to the gym 3 or 4 times to try to apply some of the techniques you talk about as essential to good shooting (upforce, relaxed hands, plenty of arc). I found that they made a lot of sense, and it showed. For my natural (right) hand, I don't have anything to use as a comparison, because I didn't bother to write any numbers down, but my jump shot feels better and is more accurate (more swishes than I can ever remember). For my left hand - which I had hardly ever shot a ball with - after a bit of practice (but mostly just concentrating on the thingsemphasised in your video), I hit 15 of 20 free throws. "It was useful to have something to think about when my jumper went off a bit - instead of focussing on rigid fundamentals that probably just added stress and reduced the power generated from my legs (like a completely cocked wrist and full follow through), accuracy returned almost immediately when I concentrated on upforce and relaxed hands. "Not only this, I managed to offer some tips to a friend about necessities for good shooting, and he (even though a bit of a skeptic), took on board some of the ideas and improved his jumper a lot in just a couple of hours." -- Cheers, R. Callan, Australia -------- "Tom, I just received your video and I like the things you bring to this topic. I am the basketball coach at Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri and I have a number of basketball camps during the summer. I will let my campers know about this video. You have simplified the shot and made it easy to understand and enjoyable to watch. I will show this during the camp sessions, though I only have one remaining this summer. Obviously there are a lot of videos out in the market, however, I feel you have brought another dimension to the table. I appreciate your approach and quality of this item. I hope many of the campers and my own players will benefit from this tape." -- Sincerely, J. Sherman, Missouri -------- "From only reading the booklet that came with the video and doing a little practice, I am swishing 10 and 12 foot shots 50% of the time, and for the FIRST time I won a game of 21 (shooting from the free throw line) against my son. You may not think this is fantastic, but consider this: I am 41 years oldand NEVER played a game of Basketball in my life nor have I been involved with the sport at all until this year when I took on the coaching job of my sons U14 team! I did a refereeing course so I could learn the rules and then bought books and started to learn about basketball. The 2 or 3 hours practice I have done since receiving the swish video has been the MOST productive since I got involved in all this. My confidence is sky high So I am REALLY looking forward to watching the Video and improving more!" -- G. Molloy, Australia -------- "Hi, Tom! For the past 6 or 7 years I have tried taught kids to shoot on the way up, and to generate lift in the shot with the legs. I just read your approach, and I am so thankful that someone who is as well-versed in shooting teaches the same things. I am trying to improve my coaching of shooting, and I find the things you say to be on target. I am going to be coaching at the Tennessee Lady Vols camps later this week, and when I get back, I am going to purchase your shooting video. I can't wait to teach the techniques to my players. To me, the worst invention in basketball (for shooting) was the 3-point line. I want my players to be able to hit the 15-footer. With your help, we'll do it. Thanks for the common sense approach to shooting. I look forward to getting the video!" -- T. Dartt, North Olmsted, Ohio -------- "Just wanted to thank you again for putting on a great clinic for the girls (Rachel, Muffie, Kelly) and me. I had read your newsletters and it was obvious from those that you knew what you were talking about regarding shooting. However, not only do you know shooting, you know how to teach kids. Your ability to keep two girls who just turned 11 interested for four+ hours in improving their shooting was impressive, to say the least. The clinic was worth every penny. Please be sure to e-mail me next time you are coming this way -- by then I'm figuring a refresher will be all we will need." -- D. Harris, Seattle -------- "I really did enjoy your shooting clinic. It makes me think about my mechanics and the points you talked about whenever I am not making my shots regularly. My dad taught me to shoot the same way you teach. He later found your website and said that he liked what you had on there. I think he said he read the minimum of the top of the backboard for your arch. When he found out you were coming to Texas, he said he was going to take me to your clinic. "I now really notice everyone's shot and tell my dad what they might be doing wrong like not enough legs, not enough arch, or their shooting hand isn't relaxed. (The bounce in the wrist.) I think it's cool to watch the pros shooting style also. My dad would tell me to watch Mullin of the Pacers in the playoffs, but he didn't play much. I also watched a guy in college named "Pepe Sanchez". We would tape lots of games and watch the players' form in slow motion." -- S. Escamilla, Texas -------- "Tom, Before I get to my real question I want to let you know how well my camp went when I used your Swish Method. "I am a 23 y/o head coach at the 5A level in Kansas and was asked to conduct a basketball camp for 3-6 graders within the community. I had recently watched your video and decided to use your method at camp. Although I had averaged 24 points in high school and set three point records in college, I didn't know how to teach shooting. The first day of camp we found our set points and got everything lined up. Then we talked about legs and arch. Then it was time to shoot at the hoop. The results were amazing. These little girls who had never hit the bottom of the net were swishing numerous shots in a row. It took them a while to remember where everything was and how it should work together, but once they did it, they usually made it. We continued working on our shooting throughout the three week camp, and at the end of the camp the director told me that the girls were shooting better than any other group he could remember. I wanted to take all the credit, of course, but I know it was your method that truly made them better shooters. Thank you." -- Coach M. Madole, Kansas -------- "Tom, Some of the girls have really taken to it. When we do our warm up shooting drills at the beginning of practice we all say "yes" or "no" on the release and I have the girls (and their partners) rate their arc on a scale of 1-10. I've found that this really helps them evaluate and remain aware. "I was working with the JV on foul shooting the other day. Two of the girls were jumping while shooting free throws. I reminded them about consistency and adding variables to the shot that they didn't need. It took them a couple minutes of shooting to adjust for the upforce they had lost by not jumping anymore, but when they figured it out they're shots were more consistent and had better touch (plus they weren't crossing the foul line for a violation every couple of shots). "Another girl on that same day had her set point way too high. This has been a problem for her and it led to her generating power from her shoulder and not the up force. Her shot had always looked mechanical, with no flow between the lower body and the upper body. I suggested she move her set point down -- off her cheek, that's all. She immediately hit her next 24 of 25 foul shots, including the first 16 in a row. The change in set point resulted in a much smoother, relaxed shot. The mechanical look of it was gone because she was able to connect her upforce to her stroke. "The clinic has given all of us a common reference point to work from. It has been very helpful in making change. Because of the common reference point and terminology my coaching is more efficient. I don't have to spend as much time with one player during our limited time. I can get to everyone. The most common things I say are: "Was that a 'yes' or a 'no'?" "Check your stance." "How was the arc, 1 to 10?" These are reminders that allow them to self coach." -- Thanks, P. Jones, high school coach, Santa Cruz, Calif. -------- "We had some very poor shooters at our clinic, but it was exciting to see how every boy and girl improved in just a short amount of time. Tom took them step-by-step through the proper shooting form. You could see the kids get excited when they saw improvement in their shots. It will be exciting to see the improvement in our 8th grade boys basketball team this year as our team concentrates on the easy SWISH method of shooting." -- M. McQueen Assist. 8th Grade Boys Basketball Coach, Indiana -------- "I was stunned at how simple the shot process was, and how easy it is to learn and teach! From observing and listening to Tom, I had the realization that some of the most often prescribed teaching techniques actually work against a good shot.” -- R J Crawford Apple Valley, Minnesota -------- "I spent two complete days with Tom at a shooting clinic in So. Calif. The results in the kids shooting were nothing short of amazing, and those results were exciting to them. Tom is enthusiastic about what he does and patiently reinforces his concepts in such a way that they can continue practicing and refining their newfound shot long after he is gone. He is a great teacher of the "lost art" of shooting. He makes things so easy that almost anyone is able to pick up the concept and improve their shooting immediately. Even those who seemed skeptical quickly realized his teaching was revolutionary to what they "knew" about shooting. I only wish I had this type of teaching when I was younger. It was a pleasure to participate in seeing Tom work with these kids." -- J. Scattareggia, Los Angeles -------- "During the month of July 2000,I personally watched coach Nordland work with both my school team and other schools during five clinic sessions. What I observed was a group of young people that were mesmerized with his ideas and philosophy of shooting. Both the high school and middle school athletes watched with focused attention to his details and stories of success. "During my 31 years of coaching, I have observed hundreds of shooting presentations but none that I felt actually improved accuracy in a short period of time. Progressing through the 3 1/2 hours, you could see results that were short of amazing. I would recommend his coaching to all levels of players who want to see proven results. R. Harris Greenwood Middle School, Greenwood, Indiana -------
"Hi Tom, Just had something happen today that I HAD to share with you.... "I have a girl that will be playing for me this fall -- she's going to be a freshman in high school. Last year as an 8th grader, she shot 68% from the floor, including 44% from behind the arc. The kicker here is that she's about 6'2"...very nice size for an 8th grader (her sister is a 6'1"senior, and is my starting post player). "Anyway, Kaitlyn (the 8th grader) was injured in an accident on her farm a couple of weeks ago...she had to have the tip of the index finger on her right hand amputated below the first knuckle as a result of the accident (and she's right handed). I've talked to her mom a couple of times since the accident, and she told me that Kaitlyn was thinking about not going out for anything this fall -- volleyball, basketball, whatever -- due the accident. We convinced to come to the gym after our individual skills workout session, which she did for the first time on Monday of this week (June 30). The doctor said she cannot use her right hand for anything athletic until October, so we spent about 10 minutes talking, then we started working on shooting with her left hand. I utilize your method extensively with my team (we led the conference in scoring and shooting percentage last season en route to the first state tourney berth in school history), so Kaitlyn and I started right in with the basics of your method for her left hand -- consistent release point, follow through, UpForce, shooting "earlier" in her shot, etc. By the end of our little workout (about 15 minutes worth), she was hitting free throws at a 50% clip...not great, but considering she had never shot ANY kind of shot with her left hand before, she was so excited! She walked out of the gym with a huge smile on her face! "If that were all to this story, I'd be thrilled, but there's more. She came back to the gym today, but to the normal workout (not just for a short "after-workout" workout). She spent the whole day shooting ... working on her form, trying to develop consistency. At the end of practice, she won our 3 point shooting contest!!!! She made 6 out of 11 three pointers LEFT-HANDED, and she had never taken a shot with her left hand until the day before yesterday. Before she left, she asked me, "Coach, what am I going to do when I get my right hand back? Should I shoot with my right hand or my left hand?" My reply was, "Who cares? The fact that you can CHOOSE which hand to shoot with is the key!" The other positive about this -- this was the first time she was talking about her future in basketball....just last week she wasn't going to go out; now she's worrying about which hand to shoot with! Not bad for three days with the SWISH method, huh?" Thanks, C. Honeck, Iowa - "Tom, I ordered your video about 6 weeks ago for my soon-to-be 13 year old daughter. We live outside of Philadelphia, PA and the winter has been brutal, but we've been able to grab some open gym time and practice the philosophies of the method. Being a headstrong teenager (is that redundant?), I've had to adapt the method to get her to incorporate the elements of the shot. She's been making improvements, but it's hard to break bad habits. She still to often reverts back to the old shooting style in a game, but the free throws are improving. I think with a little more practice (AAU season has just started), she'll be a great shooter in no time. As I said, we've made some progress, and I wanted to relate this story to you. "During an AAU game this past weekend, my daughter was fouled attempting a shot. The shot did not go in, so she went to the line for two free throws. I could see that she was not making the adjustments we had worked on, adjustments that had improved her foul shooting from about 30-40% to approaching 70% in just a few sessions. Her first free throw was an air ball, and the second clanged off the back of the rim, off-center. I happen to be an assistant coach for this team, so at the next break I reminded her to focus on the adjustments that we made. Late in a close game (her team was winning by about 5 points), she was fouled again going to the basket. I didn't say anything. However, this time as she approached the line I could see that she was setting up differently: open stance, arm/shoulder in line with the basket, right up on the line. She swished both shots almost effortlessly, and as she ran down the court the head coach said "great looking shots." "As we get more into the season and get some warmer weather, we're looking forward to more improvements in both game situations and foul shooting. Thanks for a no-nonsense, straightforward approach to shooting fundamentals." -- J. Roynan - "Tom Nordland's approach to shooting the basketball is flat-out the best I have ever seen. His approach goes well beyond the old adages of shooting the basketball and focuses on the essential keys to control the flight of the basketball. If you commit to learn this system, you will become a good shooter, it's that solid. If you are going to invest a lot of time and energy in basketball, it would be foolish not to learn this method. Your child will become his or her own coach, and confidence will soar. Perhaps the greatest and most precious gift is the time they spend practicing will no longer be wasted developing bad habits and in frustration, but instead will become productive and effective, motivating them to practice even more. "Getting this video is a must, and even more beneficial is to take advantage of the opportunity to do a clinic with Tom. His personal instruction will accelerate your child's progress and help them teach themselves. Do not miss out on this opportunity which has such great potential to help your children excel and reach their goals." -- M. Jacobs, Program Director, Five-Star Basketball of Greater Washington D.C.; Asst. Coach, Georgetown Prep - "Tom, I received your video on Thursday. I tried it out for myself in a pick up game yesterday, and all I can say is...... WOW!!!! I could not believe how well my shot improved. Since I coach my daughter she's going to be my first guinea pig today." -- Q. Houston - "Dear Tom, I have been in basketball over 20 years, both as a player and a coach, and what I read here [on your web site] made me know you know what you're talking about. My son P.J. is rated as one of the top players in the country (Hoop scoops), and he has had everybody in the world trying to change his shot. He's left handed and these folks don't have a clue. But I read just a little bit of your web site and know you have more than a clue. Thanks for knowing what you're talking about!" -- M. Taylor, North Carolina - "Tom, I just thought I'd give you a little update.... "On Saturday night, my girls basketball team qualified for the state tournament! It's the first time since the merger of two schools 13 years ago that a girls team had qualified for state in any sport. That doesn't sound like such a long time, but the only time in history that either school (Prairie City or Monroe) qualified was in 1948! "There were obviously a lot of reasons that we won Saturday, but the most obvious one is shooting percentage -- we shot 51% from the floor, while our opponent shot 40%. In fact, FG% has been a huge reason for our success all year -- we're shooting almost 8% better than the girls did a year ago (before I took over the program and implemented parts of your program). I currently have 3 girls who have broken the school record for season FG%...one of them (who has spent countless hours working with me after practice on her shooting) has improved from 31% from the floor last year to 48% this year -- still not great, but a HUGE improvement. Her scoring average has gone from just under 8 points per game last year to over 13 points per game this year, and she has recently committed to play basketball at junior college here in Iowa -- something she never thought she was good enough to do. In our regional final last Saturday, she scored a career-high 21 points on 7-13 shooting from the floor, including the game winner in a 59-57 overtime win (to go with her 12 rebounds). "It still hasn't sunk in that we've accomplished what we have -- this is my first season as a varsity head coach, and things like this aren't supposed to happen to first year coaches...but then again, when you have great kids to coach, anything can happen! Thanks again!" -- C. Honeck, Monroe, Iowa - (Another from C. Honeck) "Hi Tom, Just wanted to let you know about another little success story for your shooting program. "As you may remember, this is my first year as a varsity coach. When I took over the program in June, I knew we had some good athletes, but was told that we were probably 3 years away from success (great middle school teams coming up). I always asked the question, "Why wait?"...and usually got some pretty funny looks (as if I had no idea what I was saying). "Well, to make a long story short, I've implemented bits and pieces of your program throughout the season -- haven't been able to take the time to do it word for word, start to finish (that's coming up this summer), but I've used parts where needed with certain players. The result? We were the top FG% shooting team in our conference, and all five of my starters finished in the top 9 in FG% in the conference! "The other impact? We currently have a record of 17-4. We went undefeated in conference play at 10-0 (something that hadn't happened in the conference since 1986), we won only the second conference championship in girls basketball in school history, and we are playing Saturday in a regional final for a trip to the state basketball tournament! Our school is made up of kids from two different communities. Prairie City last made the state tournament in 1948, and Monroe has never made it, so we have the opportunity to continue our special run...your program was certainly a part of it, and I can't wait to implement it fully with our younger kids this summer!" Thanks again! -- C. Honeck, Monroe, IA - "Dear Tom, This is just a quick note of thanks for the time you spent talking with me on the phone Sunday, and the resources available on your website. I haven't even seen the video yet, but the SWISH method is helping my team. Let me explain °© "Last night at practice I watched my players shoot. The best shooter fits your profile of a good shooter °© she's a girl, she has a non-stressed release, a high arc and perfect backspin. She's the only girl on the team but is by far the best shooter. I was watching one of the poorer shooters shoot, and his form looked fine but he just isn't strong enough to shoot from ten or fifteen feet out. I told him to bend his knees and put some leg into it. He resisted at first, but soon he was trying it and got very excited. Later in practice during a shooting drill he said "Watch me, Coach °© watch me!" And then as he shot he would say out loud "That's in. That's in" displaying his new-found confidence. His release was much more relaxed than before and his success rate went way up. "I have always stressed shooting in practice, but have never really known what to tell the players. I believe in the natural intelligence most children possess, and so I don't try to coach mechanics too much. I usually encourage them to put backspin on the ball and just drop it over the rim, and let them figure out how their body should do that. I am greatly looking forward to the video and to sharing it with the team." -- M. Gillis - (Another from M. Gillis) "Tom, When I got your video I asked my boys if they wanted to watch. One boy is 12, the other is 10. They said "No, we know how to shoot." They had the same reaction when I asked if they would be interested in a shooting clinic. The funny thing was that when they came into the room while I was watching the video they were mesmerized and immediately started watching intently and making comments and asking questions. "Sunday my 12-year-old was practicing from the foul line when I asked him to move closer -- to a spot he felt confident he could make 5 in a row from. He didn't want to do it but he did. His form and arc improved. Then I asked him to close his eyes and shoot from the same spot, and he started having a great time. Then I asked him to call out where he thought his shot was going with his eyes closed. Now he really started to enjoy himself. I joined in and he had fun watching me try to do it. As soon as a new player arrived for practice my son would say "Come over and do this, this is great! "Now, one boy on the team is a great guy and a good athlete, but he has only played hockey, not basketball, so I work with him on developing basic skills. His father came to practice on Sunday to help. This Dad knows much more about basketball than I do as he is a coach, a ref, and a trainer of refs, and a general basketball expert. "I did the eyes-closed shooting drill with this boy and he liked it and his shot went from flat to nicely arched. Then he moved out to shoot from spots on the floor in a drill we do, and he was making a good share! I was very excited. Then his father started yelling "Those are JUMP shots! Think 'hang-time', 'hang-time'" and he reverted back to his old struggling form. It was tough listening to that and I felt bad for this boy. I guess it was a good chance for me to see 'Traditional' coaching in action. "I want to thank you for the resources you reference on your website. I have visited the website of the Positive Coaches Association, and have started reading "Mastery" by George Leonard. I wonder if you have ever read a book called "Developing Youth Soccer Players"? Probably not, since you are a basketball and golf coach. This book was a revelation to me. It pointed out that most adults coach children as if they were coaching other adults °© lecturing, talking, showing off how much they know. It also talks about the developmental stages children are in at different ages and how they learn. Best of all, it describes GAMES that are designed to help children think, grasp ideas, and develop new skills. My favorites are games where there is an object, and the players have to figure out the best way to achieve that by trying, not by listening to an adult tell them what he thinks is the best way. I have incorporated some of these into my basketball practices and it's very effective and very fun to watch. "I mention this because it reminds me of your eyes-closed game of feeling where the shot will go, or the exercise of three players shooting one behind the other and trying to make all three shots go in right after another. I also mention it because on Sunday when the guest coach would go off on a tangent about how John Stockton does something or where referees line up or why the players needed to pay attention to the 'little things' or some such thing, the players just rolled their eyes and tuned him out. "Thanks, Tom, for all your work and help." -- M. Gillis - Here are some more recent testimonials I've gotten for the Swish video and my website articles and newsletters. They reveal a pattern of people understanding better how to shoot, how to approach practice, and how to coach the skill. A NOTE ABOUT TESTIMONIALS (From Tom) I find testimonials endlessly fascinating. I think we all do. It makes an experience or learning situation more personal. I was at an all-day seminar on Marketing in Austin last week and most of it was pretty dry. But when the course leader shifted to talk about something he personally had done or seen, I was drawn in and my attention went way up. It was both more real to me and more fun. The testimonials you can read here and in last month's newsletter and on my website (http://www.swish22.com/testimonials.html) occur because something in the Swish video (or even in my articles) touches people's learning mechanisms. They see something simple and do-able. It gives them key "distinctions" that they are then able to put into use by themselves. I feel one of my major contributions to basketball is that I've "simplified" the process of learning and coaching shooting. We all need that. More often systems complicate things rather than simplify them. Anytime we offer a "formula" for learning (do this, then do that, etc.), we are likely to add complexity and rules about how things "should" be. Our minds love to be told how to do things but our amazing bodies don't learn that way. We learn by awareness, by feel, by experimenting, and by comparing and contrasting experience. My Swish Method is about that stuff, about general things like minimizing variables, use of larger, more stable muscles, where accuracy comes from, how to get consistency and repeatability. As I often say, it's about how to control the "Flight of the ball." When you understand and can physically experience those things, learning soars and powerful results occur. That is what these people are talking about. Please share your experiences with me and my readers. -- Tom Nordland - "I watched your video once, went outside, and I was amazed. I am known as a ball handler and a passer. I went outside and everyone was asking me how I got my shot better so fast. Well since on the video it says share the wealth, I told everyone there your technique and they love it. They said they're even gonna get the video. Well, the next day was our district championship game. We're a first year school with no seniors, so everyone counted us out. They didn't even think we would make it this far, and we're playing a team that has won it the last 6 years in a row. Anyway, so I went out there and I was 8/9 from the field and 7/7 at the free throw line I had the best game of my life, AND WE WON! thanks swish22, THANKS TOM" -- Mo game - "Dear Mr. Nordland: My husband and I have been working with our 12 year old son on shooting since he was old enough to play basketball. Our son is a talented player, but we became frustrated with several areas. He had reached a level where he was not improving, he was not listening to our pointers, he had made an AAU team and lost his confidence. After some thought, I ordered your video figuring "What could it hurt, maybe I could learn something too!!!" THANK YOU so much for opening our eyes. Our son has watched your video and has been practicing all your techniques. The bottom line is that he has improved dramatically!!! "I believe one of the most important points was he was listening to us and NOT feeling for himself what was right and wrong. I love your point of getting the player to feel what is right/wrong [Correction by Editor: I would say "... feel what works and doesn't work!" rather than making it a judgment, right or wrong!]. After a month of having your video my son and I were on the driveway practicing and he made 24 out of 25 free throws. Thank you." -- sgoswalt - Example of a student being "turned on" [Editor's story]: “It was interesting watching a girl named Whitney in Wheaton, MD, going from a two-handed motion to a one-handed motion in one 4-hour clinic. When it was over, she stayed for almost an hour (with her mother rebounding), shooting -- and making -- shot after shot with her new stroke. She was thrilled to be so effective. Now she KNEW what it was she had been missing all this time. [Well, not that long, since she was only 12.]” -- Tom - "My son is a guard on his 8th grade team. we purchased your tape and i also spoke with you on the phone[which i gathered much info] in aug.we saw results immediately! he bought into the "UpForce" concept and soon he started shooting these rainbow jumpers from all over. even though he is a great all-around athlete he does not yet possess much size or strength as some of his teammates, yet his range [while keeping your fundamentals] is the finest on team. first three games are 21pts, 12 and yesterday 17pts in 20 min. we watched a tape of yesterdays game and slowed his shot down and it was very fluid and sooo relaxed!! as a coach you know the byproduct of this success is soaring confidence in his shot!! thank you." -- J. Eannarelli - "Tom, Received the video & find it to be excellent. Not so much that I heard anything new but in the way you presented the complete picture. As a teacher the key is often not so much the info but the presentation. Have only had one opportunity to "try out" the Swish Method w/my 13 AAU playing daughter and myself. We saw immediate results and greater ease in understanding how to correct to increase accuracy. "I had a great shooting day playing ball and look forward to improving my shooting teaching skill with my current crop of players. Thank you." -- J. Pearce - "Hi Tom, Not that you need anymore proof, but in yesterdays 5th grade girls basketball game, my daughter went 12 for 14 from the free throw line, at one point making 9 straight. She's a believer, I'm working on the rest." -- M. Biskup - "Dear Tom, It's been awhile since I've written, but I excitedly await the newsletter every month. I just finished reading the November edition prior to the start of my son's varsity game tonight. "There are several passages that really hit home. So much so, that I printed one out ("Great Shooters Don't Get Into that Funk") and gave it to my son before his game tonight. He has been shooting well all season, but just not shooting enough. But, tonight he started looking to take more shots. Although he was only 3 for 8 on 3-pointers, every one of them was right on target (a couple just short and couple just long) and looked liked they were going in. The effect was instant recognition by the opposing coach resulting in opening up his teammates. As I watched the game I started to notice he was clearly the best shooter in the gym. I know I'm probably biased, but you just have to watch the wrist and the hand. "This summer his school got a new coach. After watching several summer league games with his new players, the coach commented to me that there was only one player whose shot looked like it was going to go in every time -- my son's." -- J. Quirk, Dallas - "Subject: WOW! "Tom, I just got back from an hour and fifteen minutes of shooting and I have improved my shooting success by as much as 50% minimum. I watched your video 2-3 times, followed along in the workbook and went out today to apply what you taught. It's amazing how easy the shot feels when you follow the swish principles. "Shooting is much easier almost effortless when using the UpForce. When I push my arm up and let my hand flop, it's amazing how few shots I missed. "I feel now that as I continue to practice, I can fine tune my shooting. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to use my guide hand. I need to find something I'm comfortable with that can be automatic. I'll keep you updated on my progress." -- T. Jarema, Illinois - A Coach from Maine finds Acceleration -------- (Editor’s note) A coach in Maine bought my video about a year and a half ago and just bought a second copy for his nephew. When I called to clarify something about the order, he told me that he especially felt his own release was improved by what the video taught him. It gave him a release motion with "acceleration all the way to the end-of-the-arm," like it was to the end of a rope. It gave him a sense of control, like the release couldn't go any further and was, therefore, more predictable. Previously he would often slow the release down or decelerate as he tried to control distance and arch. Now he just lets it happen, straightening the arm as far as it goes, and it always goes the same distance. Here are his words: "Dear Coach Nordland, "Since ordering your video my shooting has improved greatly. Yesterday I made 17 out of 20 foul shots. I used to be lucky to get 50%. Now I expect to make at least 8/10 and often make 10/10. I also am very comfortable shooting 3 point shots. Where I play during lunch, 3 pointers often determine who plays the next game if there are more than a certain number of people. Even with everyone watching, I expect to make it and usually do. "I was never a great athlete (didn't make my high school BBall team in a very small school). I taught kids and learned how to shoot using the popular "C" method before I got your video. I started learning your method before teaching it to kids that I coach. I could execute the "C" method fairly well when I was relaxed, but under pressure it just didn't feel right. I would tense up and just not have the free flowing motion. The first thing I noticed with your method is that I didn't tense up as easily and that it was much more of a flow because there was not a long pause before the shot. Just up into the set point and then away. In golf we call this a "waggle" -- it is used to keep the golfer's muscles relaxed prior to the start of the swing. "The other thing I noticed right away is with the up-force from the legs and a full out snapping motion that the ball stayed on my hand much better. Top golf teachers teach something called stability. This means that the golf club is accelerating all of the way through the ball. This is accomplished in putting and chipping by taking longer follow through's than the back swing. If you take the club back 1 foot in the backswing and then follow through 1.5 feet, the club will be accelerating when it hits the ball. This gives a more consistent stroke. The same works for shooting. With the full-out motion, the ball pressure on the hand stays constant or even increases right until the ball leaves. I always had trouble, feeling the ball come off my hand "funny," until I tried your method. "The other thing that I've noticed is that I can shoot from just about any position with my lower body as long as I get the up-force and get the hand directly in line with the basket. I don't really have to worry about my right toe pointing at the basket, as is commonly taught. "The other really cool thing that I noticed is how my subconscious has taken over the shot. If I don't have enough leg push, my arm knows to shoot lower and push harder. I also noticed that my hand turns to the left occasionally instead of the palm facing the basket on the follow through. I watched the shots that it happened on and figured out that it did that when I started the ball off line to the right. What was happening is that my hand (under the control of the subconscious) would try to and often successfully correct shots that started off line. If you want to know more about how powerful (and usually accurate) the subconscious is in golf, you should read "The Short Game Bible" and "The Putting Bible" by Dave Pelz. It is very interesting how the principles apply to all sports where accurate repetition is required. "Great stuff! From what I have learned from your video, I can tell immediately if someone is a good shooter after watching one or two shots and seeing where they get their power from." -- G. Crocker, Maine - "Tom, I know you asked me just to send an email back without a reply, but I can't resist! "My son Danny is a Freshman in high school and has decided to make basketball his main sport. He has played for a few years, but nothing real serious. He has a friend whom he wanted to emulate that is a good player and good shot. Even before getting your video I began to teach him your principles. I was a high school player and had a college scholarship to play, so understood your perspective. "Once we got your video we watched it together and hit the gym. He was very surprised and pleased at the quick results he was getting. He has never been a strong shooter. Quite by accident his friend showed up at the gym and we had a shooting "contest." Both Danny and I beat his friend hands down! By the time we were done Danny's friend asked me to teach him "how to shoot." "I am still learning, as is Danny, but I am excited at the prospects. Thank you for distilling this information in a way that is both fun and informative. I am also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Sports Performance Coach and this will help me in my work with basketball players throughout my area. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!" -- D. Von Waggoner, Colorado - "Tom, I read all your newsletters with great interest. The subject of shooting, coaching and teaching all fascinate me. Thanks very much for your work. "Your last newsletter intrigued me when you described the difference between boys and girls. I know coaches who won't coach boys anymore. Their rationale goes like this - You can tell girls what you want them to do, and they will try to do it. IF you can get boys to sit still long enough to tell them what you want, they immediately go out and do something else anyway. "The only way I have found to work with boys is to get them doing an activity that they like and then quietly work with them in the activity, steering them towards what I want. There is still the big obstacle with end-results and appearances. If I suggest they open their stance on the foul line, and they miss the next shot, they invariably say "That doesn't work - why did you have me do that?" Or, in soccer, I'll ask them to kick a ball left-footed, and they say "I can't" and won't even try. "One thing all my players took to was shooting with their eyes closed. For whatever reason, that was seen as 'fun' and the only pressure on them was trying to guess where the shot would go after they released it. It certainly improved their sensitivity and awareness and they had a great time doing it. "Other things from the Swish video we did were trying to use the legs more; trying to have three players in a line swish their shots one after another (this exercise really seemed to captivate them, even though it proved very difficult); and varying the arc on our shots. By the end of the season some of the players were shooting amazingly high-arcing foul shots. "A game the team invented was trying to shoot a ball onto a vent that stuck out from the wall, about 12 feet high off the floor. The surface of the vent was very small, and the players would hoist a shot up and try to land it softly enough that it stayed up there. Of course the ball had to be coming almost straight down to have a chance of staying up there. After watching the Swish video and realizing how beneficial that was, I gladly let them do that whenever they wanted. "Finally, I have to give a testimonial to the 'feedback and awareness' method of teaching. I had a soccer player who was drop-kicking the ball, and sending it almost sideways. He asked me what he should do. I said "This time, tell me what part of your foot is hitting the ball." He proceeded to kick the next few balls beautifully and right at his target, noticing that they were hitting the hard part of the middle of his foot. Similarly, I was passing a soccer ball back and forth with another boy, and he was kicking the ball about 5 yards to my right, from 10 yards away. He said "I can't kick it straight" and I said "See if you can tell where the ball is hitting your foot." He then kicked a few right at me, and when he kicked one off-target again, he said "That one hit up by my toes." -- Michael R. Gillis - "Hi Tom, Thanks for the most fun I ever had with a basketball. I am a beginner. Even though I'm 41 years old, I never played basketball. A few weeks ago a friend suggested that we go the courts after work, so I bought a ball. I'm not very tall. I'm not very good. But tonight I went on the Web and found your site. I read how to hold and shoot the ball and watched the clips and immediately went to a local high school court. I saw immediate results. Your method is simple, easy to remember and learn, and natural. The hand and arm do point toward the target, what could be simpler. I even made 8 baskets in a row from different points on the court. It amazed me. You've got an effective technique. Thanks very much." -- Edgar Saenz - Subject: You are my hero!!! "Dear Tom, I am 14 years old, and am writing from Canada. I used to shoot the way most coaches teach nowadays, and I was a terrible shooter. I would change my technique almost every week but would still get the same results. Then, a few months ago I ran into your website and read about the way you coached shooting and your technique. So I decided to give it a try but I didn't expect any better results because I was hopeless. I started working with your technique a few months back and have gotten better every practice. Today, I went to the Local Gym with my friend and he was amazed at how good I was shooting. To tell you the truth even I was amazed. Thank you Tom." -- Hamid Haidery, Canada - "Tom, I asked Tyler to put together a letter in response to your note. Before I copy his letter for you, I wanted to tell you how confident he has become. His accuracy at the foul line has improved so much and as a result he's looking for contact on the drives to get himself to the line where in the past he would avoid attacking the basket. He also is stepping further and further out on his range if the defender gives him the room he's letting it fly with confidence. Last night he scored 31 points in a incoming top Freshman league in our area, making 8 three's and some of them from the NBA line (he's only going into 8th grade). Thanks." -- Robert M., Foster City, CA This is copied from Tyler himself; "Dear Tom, Thank you so much for coming out and coaching me. Your "Swish" Method has improved my shooting tremendously. Like Free Throws for example. I used to be shooting at 50-60% tops. After working with you and practicing what you taught me, I have improved to a 70-75% free throw shooter now and continuing to improve. My three point shooting has improved alot as well. Last night I hit 8 three's in my game. The most important reason I have improved was that you showed me the correct way to practice." -- Tyler M., 13 years old, Foster City, CA. - After two clinics for kids at a Japanese Community Center in San Francisco, organized by a coach named Hiko: "Hi Hiko, This is just to thank you again for doing so much for the rest of us. Miya and her teammates are at the perfect age to absorb new ideas. She came home and "practiced" 2 hours more! That's how inspiring Tom's message was. Bry watched the video with us and the two of them were aiming for "swishes" last evening. I've already loaned out our video to another enchanted coach ... and so the quiet revolution of "swishes" lives on....thanks to Tom and you!" -- Jane - "Tom: Two years ago I took over a program that was horrible. I had been out of coaching for 12 years. For two years I have tried to get our players to develop good shooting technique, but no matter what I tried we were a horrible shooting team from both the FT line and field. This spring I began reading your newsletters, read the testimonies of players, coaches and parents who have used the SWISH method. I knew I had to do something to get things turned around. I ordered your video. I had to watch it at least two times before I became a "semi" believer. I shared it with my coaching staff and a couple of parents. We all agreed it was something we should pursue. "We set up a weekly shooting session that was run by a volunteer parent. I can't begin to tell you how much improvement we have seen in many of our players in just a short period of time. Our players are beginning to understand how to use the UpForce to power their shots and to rely less on arm strength. Players are "aiming high" and we are seeing more shots go in because of the arch they are using on their shots. "I held mini camps for players entering grades 1-9. Each camp was 3-hours long. The first two days were used (just) to learn and work with the SWISH method of shooting. All players made progress, and many of the JH players made tremendous progress. The third day of the camp was for individual offensive skills. You can bet that we reinforced the SWISH method as the girls went through the shooting drills using their offensive moves. "I want to share one particular case from our mini camp with you. On the second day as we started camp, I showed the group a portion of your SWISH video. It is the part where the little left handed girl is shooting. We broke down her technique. It was a great visual. We also watched the next two male players shoot and studied their high release points. This helped our players to see someone their own age, or younger, successfully use the SWISH method. "About midway through our second day of camp we were working on short bank shots just above the block. Again emphasizing the SWISH method. We had a little girl who will be a second grader next year make four shots in a row and was displaying great SWISH technique. I stopped the camp and had this little girl show everyone (about 35 players) how she was being successful using the SWISH method. Not only did all the campers get a kick out of watching this little girl have success, but the confidence and positive self gratification in the little girl's face was glowing. It gets better, this same little girl the day before could not get the ball to a 10 foot basket. We did not have adjustable rims so we taped off squares on the wall at 8 1/2 feet for the younger players to shoot at. By the end of the second day, not one younger player needed to shoot at the square on the wall. Each was having enough success of getting the ball to the basket they refused to use the square. "I have rambled on long enough. Just wanted to say thanks. I know we are in the early stages of developing good shooting for the entire program, but if we continue to make as much progress as we have already made, no telling how well we will shoot the ball come season time." R. Lyttle Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Hamilton, OH - NOTE: Coach Nagano was shipped the video August 13th. He watched the video and worked with it and presented it to his team Aug. 23rd, less than 10 days after getting the video. Here is what he had to say: "Tom, I presented your system at practice for the first time this Saturday to 13-14 year old girls. I thought it went well, but the real result came on this email from one of the parents. Your system made practice organized and coherent so that I was able to get this fine report." -- D. Nagano, Los Angeles - To Coach Nagano: "Oh.My.Gosh. "Bethany just spent about an hour outside with Paul shooting baskets. At dinner, I started to tell Paul about the scrimmage and drills you had them do yesterday at practice. "Bethany elaborated, and it was amazingly detailed, which impressed me so much °© she was really listening! I quietly rushed outside to move my car out of the driveway, then casually suggested the two of them go shoot some baskets. "Oh.My.Gosh. "I TRIED not to overreact. First of all, she was practicing shooting (while occasionally telling us something you had told her). But also, she was shooting with one hand! "She was making what seemed like 90% of her shots and was following through! "I commented on it (again, as casually as I could), with something like 'Hey, when did THIS happen?' And she said she just learned this one handed shot with follow through yesterday! She seemed very pleased with what was happening. "Do you KNOW how many people have tried to teach her this shot? "She shot from different points on a semicircle around the basket and repeated and repeated. I know you said you thought she was ready to make a leap, but... "Oh.My.Gosh! Can it be starting already? Thanks, Coach." -- Shirley "Thank you, Tom. I will continue to build your system at my next practice!" -- D. Nagano -
(From an experienced and respected coach in Australia.) "Teaching shooting for so long has been one of the toughest aspects of our sport to teach. The SWISH method provides a new perspective to coaching this vital fundamental and we have found it most beneficial in improving the consistency of our players. "I cannot recommend this method highly enough in assisting any player improve their shot." -- Peter Lonergan, Development Manager, Frankston & District Basketball Association Australia - Second one from Peter: "Coach, Just thought I would give you an update on how we are progressing with the changes in teaching shooting at our association. First, the change has energised our coaching group, to be able to teach shooting and see the results is very rewarding and we are enjoying the challenge. Obviously, there is no change without some pain and some coaches are struggling to come to terms with the changes. "After years of "BEEF" and "lock & snap," it will be a gradual process but we are singing the song. "It is interesting, we have a player in our senior men's team, who has played a club record 362 games and is respected as one of the finest players in the SEABL, the second tier of senior competition in Australia behind our NBL. He is a career 46% three point shooter and once we started to use some of your principles, we realised that he had been adopting many of the principles of your system for years, obviously un-beknown to him. "He has his lead foot foot quite forward and his follow through is very relaxed, very little tension in the wrist at the point of release. This is a useful "selling tool" for our new teaching philosophy! "Again, thanks for opening the door on some of the most exciting changes/advancements in shooting for 20 years!" Regards, Peter - "Hi Tom, It has been quite a while since I wrote, but I continue to read your articles with interest and also applaud your decision to develop a complete curriculum for teaching coaches your revolutionary ideas on shooting. "Just a few notes while I am on the keyboard: "I took a year off from coaching after some disappointments in 2001. I didn't get the high school job I wanted, but did have a successful year coaching 5th and 6th grade girls. "Being out of coaching for a full year was agony for me, though, after a few months, and became unbearable when I went to all my Granddaughter's games last Winter and had to observe the team playing with almost no shooting skills and no coaching to be seen either. "Nevertheless, I began coaching Ashley, who began 5th grade last Fall, late in the Summer and she made the 7th Grade team easily. I started her on the Swish Method, and for some reason, she did well at first, then didn't improve for a while. I then went back and tried some of the old ideas I learned from Ace Hofstein, a shooting coach who uses the square up method to teach shooting. Same problem.... "Then I read one of your articles that was on your site in the coaching department and you said that the coach's job was not to correct, but to act as a guide to make players aware of their bodies, the flight of the ball, and to encourage them to think about what happened when they shot and how it felt, and to be aware of what was happening and to do what seemed natural within the general framework of good shooting principles relating to using a constant pure release, and using UP-Force from the legs and body and the angle of the shot to determine distance for the shot, etc. "I had had a somewhat frustrating day (for us both, I suspect) with Ashley that day and I decided to change my approach from saying "Shoot higher!", "Use your legs"!, "Follow through!", etc, etc, and instead, I told her that today we were going to just have her shoot and she would think about her shot and say what she felt and what she thought might fix the problem if she felt there was one. "It was an amazing thing. She was relaxed and when she missed a shot, she thought and then talked about what she thought happened. I nodded and said nothing , or said "Ok", and she shot again. The only thing I did was, from time to time, reinforce the ideas of simple pure release with a relaxed wrist, catching the wave of the UP Force, and that higher shots saw a bigger target. No suggestions were made at all about a particular shot, I just listened most of the time and rebounded and threw her the ball. "The result was that she was swishing shots within 15 minutes with a set point over her head at the free throw line. She just turned 11 and is 5'3" and wiry and slim, unlike her ole Grandpa (me). I used this method on a 10 year old the other day in a 20 minute session with a similar result, though we used a low set point that allowed her to just see the basket over the ball. "Tom, you have found an important principle of shooting here. Not only are your mechanics of shooting sound, but the more important thing is to teach self discovery and the body's ability to learn if it is not interfered with too much by a coach's constant admonitions to do this and do that and the other thing. "Your personality lends itself well to that style and it was natural for you to adapt it, but in my case, I always love to correct and demand it be done my way as a coach. I had to learn that sometimes it is better to provide guidance than a detailed rote routine to memorize, specially in something that is so tied to the state of the mind and one's self confidence like shooting. I know that you know these things, but I want to encourage you anyway, because I have tried it both ways and have seen how much wiser your philosophy is on this matter." -- Mike Burke, Illinois - (Editor's note: The following three entries are from a father and son after a 3 hour small group session in Indiana last fall. They had had the video for awhile and this was the first time we got together in person. Ryan was already a top player for his age. This coaching helped him reach a higher level of performance. Note in this first letter his dad said his son thought I would see his great stroke and congratulate him. It didn't happen that way, but the outcome was far beyond what either of them expected.) - "Tom - Ryan has always been a good shooter. The coaches at his high school call him 'Rainman' because the arc on his shot is higher than anyone else on the team. He has always hit a high percentage of his shots from all distances. The night before the session with you, Ryan scored 15 points - including three-of-five from beyond the arc. He may have walked into the gym believing that, after watching him shoot, you would pat him on the back and tell him nothing can be done to improve that shot. Of course that didn't happen, but what did happen was amazing. I'm sure, and more importantly Ryan is convinced, that because of the three hours you and Ryan spent together, he has the information and tools he needs to become a great shooter. "It was so interesting to watch him as you spoke and demonstrated the arm movement you believe is necessary to develop a consistent stroke. He struggled at first to adapt his shot. Ryan has always been taught to "finish high and stick his hand in the cookie jar". Your philosophy of fully extending the arm and finishing with a relaxed wrist is contrary to all of the work Ryan has done for two years, and breaking that muscle memory was tough for him for about 30-minutes. I left the gym to get something to eat, but when I got back, my wife Julie grabbed me and said that I really needed to see Ryan. She said he hadn't missed a shot from anywhere in 15 minutes. One look in his eyes told me that a switch had flipped. He hit shot after shot after shot with beautiful arc and very consistent rotation. "There was a time when Ryan was in the fourth and fifth grade when his upper body wasn't strong enough to get the ball to the rim from out side 15-feet without using a lot of legs in his shot. The result of concentrating on his lower body was a beautiful shot that had sort of evaporated over the years - replaced by a nice looking shot by today's standards. That great stroke of the fifth grade Ryan was back, and the results were also very similar. "On the way home, all Ryan could talk about was how much fun he had shooting after learning your method. Monday after practice, he shot for two-and-a-half hours. Ryan has always worked hard on his shot, but after about an hour his arm would get tired and he would have to stop. He was ecstatic that he can now work on shooting "as long as I want because my arm doesn't get tired anymore." The concentration on UpForce and using the lower body has taken all of the strain off his arm. "We've spent money on videotapes before - put together by people who were great shooters themselves - but after watching them, Ryan and I were confused. There have been two that I haven't even let him watch because they were too complicated, and I believe in any athletic endeavor - the simpler the instruction the better. There are different rules for different shots, and it is all too complex for me. Your technique and the way you communicate it, makes your method much easier to implement. "There is a simplicity in philosophy and communication that allowed Ryan to understand and develop right there in front of us last Sunday. Add your enthusiasm for basketball and teaching, and this was perfect for Ryan. "What a gift the session on Sunday was (and is) for Ryan. Your dedication to developing an easy-to-learn and understand system is greatly appreciated by our family. Everyone involved in basketball bemoans the erosion of shooting ability in the game, and I believe learning your system can be a huge advantage for a player of any ability who wants to work hard to become the kind of great shooter that is so rare these days. People who check their ego at the door can walk away from a session with you as a considerably better shooter than when they walk in. "I'll let you know how Ryan does through the rest of the season and beyond." -- K. Sterling, Indianapolis - "Tom - Just an update on Ryan. He hit a 26-footer jumper at the buzzer last night to force a second overtime in a game Cathedral ultimately lost, but the varsity team is using him more and more. Without a doubt, he is working harder and smarter because of your generosity with him a couple of months ago. The game was taped for broadcast last night on channel 40, so when we came home we took a look at both of his threes, and the arc caused the ball to leave the screen. I looked at Ryan and asked him if he knew someone who would like that arc, and he said, "Coach Nordland". "He's hit his last four threes in varsity, and hits from everywhere in the JV games. He had 34 in a 45-38 win last weekend. He's really blossomed since your workout. I included the link to today's Indianapolis Star story about last night's game. The end of the piece mentions Ryan a bit, with a nice quote from the head coach. "The assistant varsity coach told Ryan last weekend that if he can improve defensively that he'll be an Indiana all-star. It's a long way off, but Ryan was excited to hear this pretty reserved guy speak that enthusiastically about his future. "Ryan is too modest to write to you himself about his accomplishments, but he says thanks." -- K. Sterling, Indianapolis - (Ed's note: but he did write -- read the following comments.)" - "Dear Coach Nordland, The main thing that making me a consistent shooter is working on the right things, like using the upforce that you talked about. That keys everything for me. If I use the upforce, my elbow locks and my wrist flops. Using the work routine you showed me, starting where you just use your arms then moving back to where you jump and use upforce, helps to get my shot in rhythm. By working almost every day my shot gets more and more consistent. Before I shoot I always think that this is going straight through the net and it is going to be a swish. Thanks for all your help." -- R. Sterling, Indianapolis (From Tom: Ryan is a 9th grader this year at Cathedral High School) - "Tom, I have become a great believer in your method. Last year I became frustrated when my daughter just couldn't "get it" shooting so I got your video. It was hard for me to unlearn my years of coaching, but my daughter and I both learned together and she's significantly improved her shooting, especially from 15+ feet. There are still some issues, but I'm certain she'll work those out over time. "I am now putting on 'mini-clinics' based upon your SWISH method for players in the local community education program. I have modified the teaching a bit to keep the parents off my back. Everyone learned the "square up; elbow under the hand" method and I get an earful when I teach the more relaxed and natural SWISH method. "My solution has been to essentially show both methods, explain they are both valid, but each player should try them both and see which feels better or more natural. The goal, as you so aptly stated, is to control the flight of the ball to the basket, so whatever works for the individual is the best method. I work hard on having the players be aware of their shot and how slight variations feel and then how those slight variations that feel better actually help or hinder the flight of the ball. "In the end, about half of any group I work with seem to improve their shot during the few hours we are together. I feel there should be some type of follow-up clinic to encourage the players to continue to work on and gain confidence in their new shot so they start using it in game situations instead of just practice." -- S. Meidell, Massachusetts - (Another comment by S. Meidell) "Since I could probably write several 'newsletter' length notes about shooting, I thought I might share another minor insight. "I've recently been disappointed to find that several travel team, AAU and school coaches are teaching the young players to make their 'set point' next to the ear/above the shoulder. I've seen this technique in a number players who come to my mini-clinics and I finally watched two coaches working with a middle school player shooting free throws. For all the reasons you've noted, and a few of my own, it is frustrating to see young players being taught what I feel is a technique that can't be translated for later years when the player is both taller and stronger. "This is a touch difficult to explain without diagrams, but...my revelation was that this "next to the ear/over the shoulder" position is taught with a square stance (both feet pointing to the basket, hips square, etc.). If you keep the ball and hand position in 3 dimensions exactly the same and have the player open their stance, allowing for some rotation of the shoulder, you get a good eye- ball-basket alignment with a more relaxed shoulder and arm which can then use the rest of your method. I've used this where I know the team coach works on this "next to the ear/over the shoulder" form. This allows the player to get mostly consistent help from two separate coaches and just allows them to see the alternative, and hopefully more natural feel, of the open stance. "As you may be able to tell, my whole goal in teaching is not to force a particular method (although I do believe yours is about as good as it gets) nor imply all the teaching they've gotten to this point is wrong. I try to show there are alternatives or variations of what they are doing or learning that may be able to help the flight of the ball and make their shot easier and more accurate. If they see that use of a couple of these variations makes a difference in a short session with me, hopefully, they'll start to incorporate these changes into their shot. "I offer an hour of shoot around time at a local gym each week during the season for those who have gone through a mini-clinic to give the players a chance to experiment and work on their awareness in a supportive environment (although I do admit I tend to emphasize the SWISH method). This is where I hope they start to see what works and what doesn't work, and gain confidence in that set of mechanics that works for them." -- Regards, S. Meidell, Massachusetts - "Tom: Two years ago I took over a program that was horrible. I had been out of coaching for 12 years. For two years I have tried to get our players to develop good shooting technique, but no matter what I tried we were a horrible shooting team from both the FT line and field. This spring I began reading your newsletters, read the testimonies of players, coaches and parents who have used the SWISH method. I knew I had to do something to get things turned around. I ordered your video. I had to watch it at least two times before I became a "semi" believer. I shared it with my coaching staff and a couple of parents. We all agreed it was something we should pursue. "We set up a weekly shooting session that was run by a volunteer parent. I can't begin to tell you how much improvement we have seen in many of our players in just a short period of time. Our players are beginning to understand how to use the upforce to power their shots and to rely less on arm strength. Players are "aiming high" and we are seeing more shots go in because of the arch they are using on their shots. "I held mini camps for players entering grades 1-9. Each camp was 3-hours long. The first two days were used (just) to learn and work with the SWISH method of shooting. All players made progress, and many of the JH players made tremendous progress. The third day of the camp was for individual offensive skills. You can bet that we reinforced the SWISH method as the girls went through the shooting drills using their offensive moves. "I want to share one particular case from our mini camp with you. On the second day as we started camp I showed the group a portion of your SWISH video. It is the part where the little left handed girl is shooting. We broke down her technique. It was a great visual. We also watched the next two male players shoot and studied their high release points. This helped our players to see someone their own age, or younger, successfully use the SWISH method. "About midway through our second day of camp we were working on short bank shots just above the block. Again emphasizing the SWISH method. We had a little girl who will be a second grader next year make four shots in a row and was displaying great SWISH technique. I stopped the camp and had this little girl show everyone (about 35 players) how she was being successful using the SWISH method. Not only did all the campers get a kick out of watching this little girl have success, but the confidence and positive self gratification in the little girl's face was glowing. It gets better, this same little girl the day before could not get the ball to a 10 foot basket. "We did not have adjustable rims so we taped off squares on the wall at 8 1/2 feet for the younger players to shoot at. By the end of the second day, not one younger player needed to shoot at the square on the wall. Each was having enough success of getting the ball to the basket they refused to use the square. "I know we are in the early stages of developing good shooting for the entire program, but if we continue to make as much progress as we have already made, no telling how well we will shoot the ball come season time." -- R. Lyttle, Hamilton, OH - "Hi Tom, I just wanted to say thanks for the great clinic you put on in Potomac MD. My daughter Alyssa really had a great experience, and was helped in the process. She came home and the next day began to work on the things taught in the clinic. She was shooting from 10-12 feet and beyond and I saw her hit 12 consecutive shots, then 8 in a row, etc. "I was out of town this past week, but she was working on her own. She's shooting about 150 shots per day. She told me she hit 15 in a row. "Yesterday she finally got a few minutes of playing time for her middle school team. She was fouled while trying to make a put-back. She went to the line and sank the first shot- hitting nothing but net! The other team called time out. After play resumed she shot the 2nd shot and 'swish,' nothing but net! The net was hardly disturbed on either shot. She told me later 'that new form really works!' "Again, thanks for the investment in my daughter. I hope our paths cross again." -- S. Worley, Mechanicsville, Virginia - "It works! "My daughter has been playing basketball since she was six years old. She is now thirteen. She has always been recognized as one of the best defenders around. If someone was killing us with her shooting, the coach would always put my daughter on her and shut her down. That fact and the fact that she always hustled to get steals and could rebound like someone much taller allowed her to play on some pretty good teams. "The problem was, she couldn't through it in the ocean. It got to the point she was afraid to shoot, thankfully she became a very good passer. About a year ago I purchased your video and we set about changing her shot. It didn't happen over night and I must admit there were several times we both almost gave up but this month she tried out for and made the middle school team. "I am not bragging when I say this is a powerhouse team. Thirty five girls tried out for ten spots and my daughter bagged one of them. Before trying out, a former coach told her, "just do what you do best, they have plenty of scorers on that team". But now, not only is she doing "what she does best", she's a scorer too! One night she was four for seven and the next she was four for six and added a free throw. That's nine points in twelve minutes. (I told you they were a powerhouse, no one has played over twelve minutes in any game). "Another former coach asked me what happened to her, she said, "she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn last year". She wasn't being mean spirited, we all knew she was right. I just wanted you to know, I am not writing this for any sort of publication, just to thank you for helping us find her shot. Keep up the good work." -- G. Hartley, Kingsport, Tennessee - Great job! "I bought your instructional tape last March and both of my sons have become disciples of 'UpForce.' I emailed you last spring to tell you of their successes and you courteously replied. I thank you for that. "New update: Both 3rd grader and 6th grader have had a good year. However, last summer, little did I know I would have to coach the 6th grade team. I had not coached a great deal in my life but I did play high school ball many moons ago. "I decided I would start the kids at square one. We watched the "upforce" video one evening and then practiced all of your techniques. Other than warm-ups our first week of practice consisted of nothing but 'UpForce'. Two years ago this team was 1-14. This year their record was 10-5 (should have been 12-3 but they had a bad coach) and we beat both of the teams that played for the league championship. Our foul shooting was between 80-85%. "Credit where credit is due: Our team has gained some height, seven kids with great heart, and a little video titled 'UpForce.' "You have probably heard this a million times but.... "May the UPFORCE be with you!" -- K. Wilson, Morgantown, West Virginia - Here are some more remarkable testimonials. One, the first, reports on his tremendous breakthroughs JUST from reading the Swish Workbook that accompanies the video. "Hello Tom, I did some shooting in the side yard before reading the booklet accompanying your video (ok, I'd scanned the booklet). I shot ok, I've always shot ok, pretty well as a kid. I used to pride myself on my precise arm shooting and would wax philosophically about where my elbows were positioned. Then 2 weeks ago I read the booklet like I was preparing for finals. "At rec league ball last week I put what I'd read into motion. Keep in mind that I hadn't really played since about 1985 until this year. I started my usual game of defense and passing. Then I started to shoot, and shoot, and shoot (until guilt made me back off). It was as if there was a string running from my legs through my line of sight, up through the ball and my finger tips and through the middle of the basket. At one point I made 8 straight 3 pointers. In between games I sank 10 straight free throws, backed up a step and rang out another string. "Last night I started off half a bubble off plumb, adjusted my leg push up, then started up again. Shooting in between games I did an around the world from baseboard to baseboard from behind the three point arc then back. Finally "the guys" refused to pass the ball back out. My in game shooting wasn't quite as sharp but I had really opened up some eyes. "I got to tell you Tom, this is all before I've watched the video. This is based [just] on the book. I'll be watching the video real soon. I'm already a believer and can't wait to start coaching my 4th/5th grade girls team next fall. I'll be teaching your shooting technique with absolute confidence. "And, I can't believe I'm writing such a fan mail type email. A pretty fawning letter to a Minnesotan from a born-and-bred Iowan, I'd say!" -- Best, P. Wingate, Hadley, MA - "Tom, I am greatly enjoying reading all the monthly newsletters --- they are very helpful. Also I have been reviewing the SWISH videotape this fall to help me in my coaching -- I'm coaching a 7th and 8th grade team and the assistant coach for a high school girls' varsity team. "Two exercises from your tape have been very helpful in helping the players develop their shots -- the first being where the players shoot to a partner about 10 or 12 feet away. We incorporate this into a passing drill so that one player passes, the other catches and shoots. It's great to see the shots get gradually higher and the backspin get better as the drill progresses. The players naturally involve their legs and the UpForce more in this drill as they try to get the ball to come down directly on their partner's head. "The other exercise is where players shoot a foul shot (or a closer shot) and call out where the ball is going to end up, so as to increase their awareness and feel. Usually it only takes four or five attempts before players become very good at feeling where the shot is going -- left, right, short, long or in. Short and long are the tough ones for my players -- that seems to be a more sophisticated feel that is tougher to master than right or left. "Recently, after some poor free throw shooting in games, my high school team started working on foul shots more in practice. We did the feel-call-your-shot drill, then I had them do it with their eyes closed. At first they didn't believe I wanted them to shoot with eyes closed, but when they did it they loved it. I believe that if a coach can get his players to do this exercise he will help their shooting immensely. The players were amazed that they (1) made foul shots with their eyes closed, and (2) could so accurately tell where the shot was going to land. And once they started doing it, they couldn't get enough of it. "Thanks very much for all your work" -- M. Gillis, Salt Lake City" - "Mr. Nordland, I just wanted to thank you very much for taking the time to come to the Washington, D.C. area and put on your clinic. I only wish I had also signed up my son! My daughter, Melanie, was in your afternoon clinic and just loved it. It is just amazing what she learned. I thought that 4 hours of shooting might be a lot for an 11 year-old to take in, but she just ate it up! She came home and continued shooting. All she could do for the rest of the weekend was talk about shooting and how much she learned! Thanks for all of the inspiration! I will continually check your web site for future clinics -- I hope you make it back to the east coast next fall. Thanks again very much." -- K. Leas, D.C. area - "I just picked up your video. It is awesome. I love it, it is the best. I already see my shot improving dead swish every time. I can't miss a shot. I feel like an old school or like Pistol Pete. I played a pickup game recently and nailed seven 3-pointers with only one miss. The onlookers went crazy. The defense didn't affect me either. Thanx to your broom exercise. I now have completed my arsenal with a shot, including game knowledge, and handles. My NBA dreams are now in full swing. And one more thing Tom, why didn't you go to the NBA? You would have done great with your shooting technique. I would have loved to see you go against Larry Bird. Thanx for everything!!" -- E. Michaels - "I made a great discovery about shooting last September. I learned to practice. "I have read everything you have published on the web. I've probably read every one of them at least twice. Somehow I just hadn't really got it, not until last September when I made great progress. This season I've played in an unfamiliar team in an unfamiliar city, since I started to study in an university. I was doing well in my new team, getting playing time, scoring points because I was such a good shooter. But I haven't had time to practice during the winter and my shot started to slip back to the old. And when I did have time to practice I was just basically wasting my time. "Now I'm on a holiday and trying to regain my form. I also wish to increase my range. First I realized that my limited range was due to lack of power. I have a good release ( I can't force myself to say it's great but I have mastered it to some degree) but I lose the release as I move back. I haven't practiced what you call the UpForce ( I think it's a great name) very much so I thought it would be easy to just work on that while of course giving notice to the release and the sun would be shining again. Easier said than done. I had also forgot how to learn, how to practice during the winter. I've always had the difficulty to complicating things. "Last September I realized how very simple learning is. Somehow I just didn't get what I was to do when going to shoot: What to look at, what kind of mindset should I have. All became complicated, practicing became waste of time, in plain words: I learned nothing. Just an hour ago I was outside shooting in our driveway, I live in Finland so it's rare to be able to shoot outside during the winter and even then gloves are a must. I was missing as usual and not making any progress. "Then all of a sudden everything clicked. I was just about to leave when I captured the feel I used to have and again I was making everything. First I did my routine work from in-close on my release and when I got that down I move to 13-14 feet and started to work on the UpForce. I was going back and forth catching a lot of it. I tried to look at the basket in different ways, to be relaxed when going to shoot but nothing seemed to work, I just didn't learn. The thing I then realized was that all I had to do was to channel my mind fully to the shot, that is to say to be completely in the moment. It was only then that my body could learn as the mind wasn't interrupting. "I was giving the normal feedback of when in the jumping motion I released and my body just got it. I'm pretty sure that the difference was in my mindset since that was the only thing I changed. All along the answer was so simple that it seemed too simple. Just connecting to the basket. I'm looking forward for tomorrow and new chances to learn but that's just great about this journey that I'm on that I can only get closer and closer but there's always a ways to go." -- Risto ja Anja Autto, Finland - "Hi Tom, I bought your Swish video a few months ago. I decided to try it and see what happened to my shooting first. I would play pick up games at work during lunch, usually 3 on 3's. I was always the worst percentage shooter on either side. To make a long story short, I'm starting to see a big improvement in my shooting. It's not just me but the other guys I play with tell me so. "I concentrated on several of your key points. Constant upper body release (what you use to call "zero point release"), power from the legs (UpForce), and a high arch. When I practice on my own I always start off with the zero point release until I make a lot of swishes from about 5 feet away. Then I step back a few feet and start to add the leg power to my constant arm release. I pay attention to putting a high arch to my shot and adjust it a little for different distances. If I get the other details and practice more then I know I'll even get better. "I feel confident enough to start teaching these few points to my 8th grade girls b-ball team soon. Thank you and I'll write again if I feel I've hit another milestone in my shooting or my team's shooting." -- V. Magno, Fremont, Calif. - "I once again want to thank you for the terrific clinics you put on this weekend. The coaches' clinic was very informative and really fundamentally changed some of my ideas about how to shoot and how to teach the art of perfecting the shot. I have always felt that the coach is teaching players how to make their own evaluations of situations, their own decisions, etc. Your method teaches players to evaluate their shot so that they can continually make improvements. "I also sincerely appreciate your allowing me to assist you at the clinic the following afternoon. The clinic really cemented in my mind the methods you use in coaching shooters. This was a very energizing experience and I look forward to sharing what I learned with my players so that they may all benefit from the "Swish" method. I intend to run my own "Swish" clinic for my players, utilizing your lesson plans and teaching principles. "Best of all, I got to watch three of my players grow immeasurably in the course of one afternoon. When we finished, one of my players stayed around and was shooting free throws. Her shooting had improved so much that she couldn't help but hang around the gym and watch that beautiful shot fall time after time - even after spending four hours in the gym that afternoon. And I was amazed to see a girl who had been struggling from the line taking free throws and finding it next to impossible to miss a shot. She was in an amazing zone and, on those rare occasions when she missed, she knew what she had done wrong, corrected it, and knocked down another string of 7-8 straight. While 7-8 straight makes from the line might not set any world records in any age group, for her it is a remarkable turnaround. "I spoke with a coaching colleague who sent a daughter to the clinic. He was very impressed with the video. His son, a star shooting guard at one of the local private schools here in DC with a great natural shot, watched the video as well and was equally impressed. You will probably hear from Walter as well. We only want to know when you will come back so we can get more players out to benefit from your teaching method. I would really like to get with my Flames organization to work on having you come out for another go around. We have a number of teams who could fill some clinics with appropriate coordination. And those of us who have seen the results will definitely spread the word. "Thanks again for a wonderful weekend of hoops. I will have to let you know how our clinic goes in a few weeks." -- J. Grant, Maryland Flames Girls AAU Basketball - "HI DEAR TOM, I WAS LOOKING ON THE INTERNET FOR SOME DRILLS TO HELP ME WITH MY SHOOTING WHEN I STUMBLED ON YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY ON SHOOTING. "I MUST SAY IT IS INDEED VERY ARTISTIC, NATURAL, FREE, EASILY EXPRESSED THEREFORE EASILY REPEATED, AND MORE EFFECTIVE THAN THE CONVENTIONAL METHOD. THE THING ABOUT THE CONVENTIONAL METHOD IS THAT ONE IS TOO BUSY CONCERNED OR THINKING ABOUT HOW TO PLACE THE FEET, HOW TO SQUARE UP, THUS THEY MISS THE ART OF FREEDOM OF SELF EXPRESSION. "I WANT TO SAY I THANK YOU FOR THIS VALUABLE WORDS OF WISDOM, THEY REALLY HELP ME SEE MORE CLEARLY THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ART OF SHOOTING." YOURS IN THIS BLESSED GAME -- I. ELUGBE, ARKANSAS - "Tom, I just wanted to let you know of another success story with your shooting method. I am a 54 year old Dad who played high school basketball, 1 year of college and still play fairly competitively. At 6'3", I have always been a relatively good shooter. Also, I have coached kids off and on for about 15 of the last 30 years. Always, it frustrated me that I couldn't get them to shoot as well as they should. "2 years ago or so, I bought your Swish video. My older son was already in college, and not really playing competitive ball anymore. My youngest was then 11, and pretty tall for his age. He had very little interest in the video. "In 6th grade, the youngest played on a middle school team and was one of the taller players. His shot was terribly inconsistent until he got frustrated and watched your video. (We had another one he looked at, too, I must confess, but it taught very similar concepts.) Over about a two week period, he completely changed his shot form from an inconsistent, almost 2 handed thing of ugliness to a beautiful, consistent, repeatable 1 handed release that looks perfect. "He is going into the 8th grade this next year and is 6'2", around 150 pounds. Over the summer, he has probably consistently worked on his shot about 3 or 4 days a week and it just amazes me when I see it. In practice, at least, he can frequently make 9 or 10 free throws in a row and he is almost automatic on his 10-15 foot jump shot. Even his 3 pointers, which I don't like for young kids, is accurate now. It all comes from his lower body, and a 3 pointer is absolutely no strain for him. "Your most recent newsletter pointed out something my son has started doing, to his great benefit. Kids all want to walk out to the 3 point line and start cranking shots up. Because of your video, I start warming up right under the basket and work my way out. My son Spencer has started doing this, without any urging from me, and he now frequently takes 30 or so shots from right under the basket out to about 15 feet before he really starts. "Starting in close and achieving that high, repeatable release have been the two things that have really worked for him! "This year will be interesting! Spencer plays football too and doesn't burn with desire to excel in any sport, but he likes both football and basketball. He hasn't wanted to play travel basketball and I haven't tried to push it. This year, he will be the tallest kid on his school team, the best rebounder and probably, at worst, the second best shooter, but 2 or 3 of the other kids play basketball year round and have a lot more experience. It will be interesting to see if his shooting skill translates into playing better in games! "Thanks for all your good help -- I wish I had understood this better when I was a kid!" -- J. Bryan, Tequesta, FL - "Tom, I found your web-site while doing a search for basketball coaching videos. After purchasing and receiving your video, I watched it, took notes, and started to try the techniques. After getting a handle on things, I convinced my son, an eighth grader at the time, to give it a try. He was a very poor shooter. After just a couple sessions, he was making BIG improvements. Soon he was "self-correcting" and making consistent shots during our practices. His confidence in games went through the roof and with that his playing time. In one game, he was the high scorer. (The team's lead scorer was gone that game, but hey!) With his early improvements so obvious to his team's head coach, I had asked if I could show the video to the team and work with the boys on their shooting. "Now, I should mention most of these boys had poor form over the past four years. They relied on passing to a great shooter, and never developed their own shooting skills. After getting approval to start working with some of the boys, during practice, one of them said to me "Mr. Richards, it doesn't matter." That's how low this kid was on shooting. Another kid cared even less. That's because they never were taught how to shoot. An they were never taught how to shoot, I believe, because no one had a copy of your video. "Well, during one practice, when I had two of the boys for 15 minutes, one said the "Mr. Richards, it doesn't matter" line again. Under the threat of running laps with their arms raised up, they realized it did matter!!! The poorest shooter on the team, one of these boys had never made a shot in four years. We worked and worked, and in practice he was consistent out about 8 feet. "The season was coming to a close, and we were supposed to play in one final tournament. A notoriously hard tournament at that. The head coach was reluctant to sign-up for it, but with a little encouragement, he went ahead and did it. I don't blame him for being reluctant. These boys never advanced in a tournament over four years, why have one more disappointment? "Well, this team of only eight boys lost the first game to a team of at least sixteen that ran them down something fierce. But we did go on to the consolation bracket. While leading during the last game of the bracket, our boy who had never made a single shot sunk a jumper with "video-perfect" form. The place went nuts, and after the buzzer, we were able to take pictures with the boys holding a trophy for the first time ever! "There were a lot of factors that turned this team around. Simpler plays, harder practices, higher expectations all played a roll. But I really do believe your video made the biggest difference. "You know how they say you're not supposed to dwell on the past, but look forward to the future? Well, I can't help but wonder how much better my son and his teammates would have been had we used your video from the start. I hope more people get their hands on your video and embrace the techniques. It's so easy, and natural, that it feels like cheating!!! "Best Regards and Thanks Again." -- Joe Richards -
"Hello! Thanks for sending the video so promptly. My daughter was so happily surprised! We sat down as a family and watched the video immediately. My daughter couldnt wait to go out and start shooting some hoops. My daughter, my husband and I watched the video completely as you suggested then went back and started with part 1 following the excercises with a partner etc. Once we completed the first simple excercises we started taking some practice shots beginning at our zero point. "WOW!!!!! We were so thrilled! I personally shot 40 baskets and missed only 2 shots!!!!!!! My husband, who isnt a huge basketball player, I might add, had equal success. Lastly, it was my daughters turn. Keep in mind she already is an above average shooter, but she was shooting at about 90% Plus I saw the moment when she connected her lower body or upforce with her arm extension to make the shot. She is very small at about 5 feet tall and 3 point shots could be a challenge. Now that she joined up those two body movements, it was amazing to see the difference. It was almost effortless for her! "We still have a lot of practicing and learning ahead of us, but I couldnt wait to tell you how thrilled we are and how sold we are on your method of teaching. We also had a great time learning it as a family! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you a million! It is going to be great seeing what is to come! "I was wondering if you had any suggestions or ideas on bank shots? Let us know if you make any more videos! We are now huge fans of yours and wish and hope that sometime you will be coming our way. We live near Yosemite national park in a small town and it would be awesome if you came this way. I know you would get a huge crowd turnout because we dont have much in our area so local shoting camps are always pretty crowded. Please let me know if I can help to get you to come to our town." Thanks again! Your new biggest fans, -- S. Saint Onge, Sonora, CA. - Subject: I have had amazing results already and it's only day one! "Hi there, Your shooting system is great. I watched your video, began shooting, and i swear i saw a marked improvement after just ten minutes of practice. As a very short player (5'2), I need all the advantage i can get and your video gave me the tools and the confidents to make my high school team." -- Sincerely, I. Bortman - "Hey man what's up? I purchased your video around 5-6 months ago and sent it back in after watching it twice. See, I thought that shooting was complicated, I wanted all the intricate details. Your video was too simple,it was a huge turn off to what I had expected; it felt like it was designed for kids. However, after reading your June Newsletter and after much deliberation by myself these past few months, I have come to realize that you are absolutely correct in what you preach and teach. The more simple things become, the better. Keeping things as simple as possible is key in all aspects of life. It seems as though people, including myself a while back, think that something simple cannot be deep as well. Your teaching method for shooting is simple, however it is not shallow." Thanks, -- J. Concerto - (Laura is a long-time women's coach and husband Ed is a former NBA refereee) "Hi Tom: First, I want to say that both Ed and I believe in the "Swish" method. I want to tell you the story about how we got the video. And, I forwarded this message to my husband, Ed so he can tell you exactly; I think he talked to someone about it before getting online. Anyway, I have been coaching basketball for 22 years; the latter 13 years at the collegiate level. Ed has been helping me too. "One day at Huron University at practice he and I were heavily debating on whether or not you aim at the front of the rim (I said) or back, which he believed in. So, anybody that knows Ed can attest to the fact that he is very detailed and lives by knowledge he seeks so that he gets better at teaching and in the case of coaching; that the kids get better. We had taken over a team that had won only 4 ballgames in three years. We ordered the tape. In one year the FG% went from 32% to 44%/ FT=58% to 75%. And, in our second year the team went to the national tournament (NAIA). "I like the fact that no matter what your shot looks like there are general techniques that apply to everyone..like upforce!! I'm at Graceland University now. My first year wasn't very good in the W/L column but we did the swish method everyday in practice and next year I know we will be a lot better offensively b/c of it. We've recommended the Swish method to a lot of players and people since 2000 when we discovered it. "I didn't have great technique (played at Montana State-Billings); but I shot 52%; naturally I practiced a lot. Today, in coaching I feel that even more so you have to have a method that you believe in before the kids will believe in themselves. To teach a shooters mentality is not easy; therefore again, I teach a method. I also go to camps and do a short demonstration (the progression of doing the method in practice) of the Swish. I have kids from that original team at Huron that coach now and they do your method as well. Thanks for your email. This now gives me the opportunity to say thanks for the 'Swish' method." -- L. Pollard, Iowa - Subject: Note to Parents on Shooting "Tom: FYI - Below is a message that I have sent to the parents of boys I have coached over the past three seasons. "Parents: First of all, let me apologize for the length of this note. I have been looking for a method for teaching kids how to shoot a basketball and to be able to make a high percentage of their shots. The shooting percentages on the teams that I coached and helped coach over the past three years have been consistently low. Even boys with good fundamentals are unable to make a high percentage of open shots within 5 - 10 feet from the basket. "I have found what I think is a pretty promising method for teaching kids how to make a higher percentage of the shots that they take; it is called the "Swish" method. It was developed by Coach Tom Nordland. Tom has a web site (http://www.swish22.com) that I really recommend that parents and kids both take a look at. It contains a lot of good information. Tom also sells a video ($29.95) and sends out a monthly newsletter about shooting. If your son or daughter is serious about basketball and hopes to play on a high school team or just wants to become a better player I recommend that you purchase this video. "Now for the testimonial: Coach Tom says that in order for coaches or parents to be able to teach the "Swish" method they must be able to do it. He also recommends that parents and kids learn it together and teach one another. I readTom's articles and purchased the video last March. Since then Michael and I have been practicing the "Swish" method once or twice a week. We set up 10 different shooting positions within 15 feet from the basket. We play a game where we each take 10 shots from each position (100 shots each total). We see who can make the most out of 10 shots from each position and at the end how many shots we made out of 100. Michael averages about 80% (low 70 high 92). I have been averaging about 78% (low 70 high 87) °© you can teach an old dog new tricks! It's also a nice way to spend some time with your child. We even have had other kids in the neighborhood come up and join us, ranging in ages from 6 - 12. "If anyone would like to borrow my video (for a short period of time) I would be glad to lend it out. Over the summer I would be glad to work with any boy (or girl) that is interested in learning this method. Contact me if your son is interested and perhaps we can get some small groups together periodically throughout the summer. When a player develops confidence in their shooting ability that confidence carries over to the other aspects of the game." -- M. Kane - Subject: breakthrough today "Hi Tom, Today I was practising my shots. They weren't very accurate, especially during the 1vs1 match. However, in the later part of the day, when I was playing a 2vs2, I experimented with jumping straight up instead of forward. I realised that my body weight would be directed forward whenever I jumped. So I concentrated on jumping straight up. I've already learnt how to shoot at the start of the jump. My shots were just dropping from everywhere. I stunned my opponents and I even managed the "in your face" shots. My shots were considered high previously, but now they are even higher. And most of the time they hit nothing but the bottom of the net!" -- Thanks, Nic - I just picked up your video. It is awesome. I love it , it is the best. I already see my shot improving dead swish everytime. I cant miss a shot. I feel like an old school or like pistol pete. I played a pickup game recently and nailed seven 3 pointers with only 1 miss. The onlookers went crazy.The defense didn't effect me either. Thanx to your broom exercise. I now have completed my arsenal with a shot including game knowledge and handles. My NBA dreams are now in full swing. Thanx Tom for everything. And 1 more thing Tom why didnt you go to the NBA you would have done great with your shooting technique. I would have loved to see you go against larry bird. Thanx for everything!! -- E. Michael - Subject: breakthrough - shooting "Hi, I've tried your 'Swish' method for 3 months. With my old method, I had about 70% accuracy at the area just outside the paint. After reading (from others) to square up, it just dropped till I felt that I had totally no control over my hand and thus the flight of the ball. The 3 months of changing was very difficult and my accuracy went down even more. I had to learn to push my hand towards the target because my previous method used the wrist to direct the ball to the basket so the hand was not extended exactly in line. "Tonight I tried placing my guide hand more under the ball, slightly behind and to the left. You mentioned that it might not really matter, but in my case, it did! There's no more tension in my shooting hand when bringing the ball up, and it was just easier to bring the ball up in line with my shooting eye. With the guide hand to the left of the ball and a little over, I tend to bring it up in between the eye and the ear, and bringing it to the eye felt uncomfortable and there was a fair bit of tension. "With the guide hand under, behind and to the left, and using it to bring up the ball instead of having to use most of the shooting hand, I found it much easier and natural to push upwards and inline towards the basket. it would feel uncomfortable with a guide hand in this position and aligning the ball with the ear. so naturally I would bring it in line with the eye, and the ball rests on my fingers and front part of the palm constantly unlike with the other position, where sometimes the ball would rest on the bottom of the palm sometimes. "With the 3 months of using your method, pushing with a relaxed wrist, hand and fingers, the backspin was slow and sometimes a dead ball. But by changing the way I used my guide hand, I have the consistent medium backspin now." Thanks! -- Nicolas -
"Tom: I ordered your video yesterday. I have been following your newsletters since May 2004. I have been practicing your method since then. I sent you an email last year saying that if the shot is to be consistent then the hand/wrist cannot be totally relaxed. I finally feel like I have the method correct. I am 54 and had never played basketball before. My shot has become so consistent this spring that my 14 year old son, Michael, is now using your system. He went to the local high school basketball camp this summer and shot 92 out of 100 free throws. WOW!!! He made as many as 30 without missing one. No one else even came close to 92. THIS IS TRULY A GREAT SUCCESS STORY and A TESTIMONIAL TO YOUR SWISH METHOD.
"I finally understand that the shot power comes from the legs to the follow through. UP-FORCE!"
-- WRD - Fredericton NB (Canada)
"P.S. Shooting well gives you confidence. This the the main point in learning how to shoot. As you continually state in your newsletters, it gives you confidence in other aspects of the game. It makes you proud. That's what it is all about."
"Tom, i think i'm getting the upforce! i notice that the stronger i use my lower body and the earlier the release, the ball goes higher; the longer i wait to release the ball, the lower the flight and force. The more energy i put into my jump also propels the ball farther and higher, i now know that cooperation of the lower body force and the release makes the shot more accurate and consistent. i'll try to experiment more -- my shots are not that consistent yet -- but i can see them hitting closer on the target every time i shoot and they land softly, not like my old shot, which bounces back. At least now the bounce has a chance to go right in the basket, haha
"thnx for the help u gave me, i'm very thankful! "
-- Moises L., location unknown
--------- A second story from Moises, 9 days later ---------
"After these days of training, i'm getting better results. every time i shoot i get a 65% chance that it goes in, the ball always hits the ring, and one time i got 10 consecutive swishes. i still have to improve my shooting in games, though i'm getting better. even if i'm scared, my arm just fires the same, automatic release. i ALMOST know what to expect! haha
"Thanks for the help -- it really works. i've contacted a relative there and asked them if they can order a video for me. maybe i'll get to meet you too. my mom's plannin to go there next year in march! hope it does happen! i'll still train to improve. thnx again!"
-- Moises L.
(The following girl attended a clinic I gave in Connecticut, then watched the Swish video at home.)]
"Hi Mr. Nordland,
"By watching your video, I became eager to see the new techniques that would help improve my shot. When I went outside to practice basketball right after viewing it, I focused on the shooting techniques that I had learned and which I never used before. This included: putting a high arc on the ball by aiming high release, using my legs for upforce to shoot, and watching the basket throughout my shot, not the ball. I also practiced drills that showed me how to use these techniques such as the jumping up and down drill which helped concentrate on the upforce. Two days after watching the video, I went to a pre-All STAR game and entered an all-age knockout contest. While waiting for my turn, I remembered your video and all the new shooting I had practiced. I thought this contest would be a great way to test my abilities so I tried using the new techniques when shooting. Before long I had incredibly become the knock-out Champion, won a pair of Diana Taurasi's Nike sneakers, and had the chance to play another game with Diana.
"Thanks to you, Mr. Nordland, I now have a great story to share throughout my life. Your video not only taught me techniques I have never used before, but improved both my brother's and my shot."
-- Lia V., Connecticut
"Hi Tom, I've not been playing much basketball but today when I went down to take a few shots my shots were dropping like anything after warming up. It was so easy it was becoming boring. There's no net for the hoop I'm shooting in so its kinda boring watching the ball go in and bounce up high. I practised shooting off the dribble and the shots kept going in, I missed a few though.
"Anyway there are some days where my shots are just not so accurate. I learnt something today. I discovered that if I were to treat the wrist as being dead. I'll relax my wrist and hand so much like it's "dead." And previously I used to care about how my wrist points, I did not want it to point left or right or too up or down. But I found out if I were just to forget about the wrist, and think of letting it be as relaxed as possible, my shots accuracy improved tremendously. It doesn't matter how inconsistent the wrist flopping is, meaning it can flop up down left right but I wouldn't care. I found this was the key to my accuracy today and I could allow some "error" like off balance and still get most of my shots in.
"I noticed this very relaxed wrist in the first girl in your flash video when she was taking free throws, and also the high school player that you said his stance was open but could be more open. Their hands flopped a lot compared to other players."
-- Nicolas H., location unknown
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The above testimonial is noteworthy because the boy is coaching himself. He's aware of things and making adjustments, corrections and he's experimenting. That's the only way it's really going to work.]
"Coach, My name is Danny, I coach ABA in Australia. About 2 months ago I started working with one of the top junior players here, at the time I had a friend of mine here from the states. This player is very skillful and athletic, however he was a terrible shooter yet his action and release were fundamentally sound (to me!).
"During his warmup, my friend said - "Release the ball on the way up!" After those 6 words, the player started to swish everything, and the next night at team practice it was noticeable, out of nowhere Chris was now the best shooter in the club. He is 16, 6'1", has a good body, his shot all comes from his legs that he can't actually shoot from the 3pt line smoothly. However from 17 ft he doesn't miss much. He went from not being in the 12 (an age category?) to starting in his last game and scoring 14 points. In the Development league, he averaged over 27 points a game after he was told: Release the ball on the way up. Compared to his scoring in the teens.
"Thought I would share that with you."
- - Danny P., Queensland, Australia
"P.S. I don't know if I mentioned it, but he finished 2nd in the league (a professional league) in FT%, and he didn't get on the court until that session with my friend and me. He missed his last FT of the year to drop to 2nd place."
"Tom, Worthy of note -- My son, Jack, was out in the driveway shooting when he realized something was wrong with his form. Without my prompting him, he stopped and went inside to review "Swish" again. I was amazed he did that -- I find him very coachable, but you'd better really have something for him if you want to offer advice. Never before had I seen him seek a solution like that. He came back out, told me where his problem had been, and his shots started falling again. He was back in the groove. That made him happy, and should make you happy too.
- - PJM in Connecticut
"Hi Tom! It was nice of you to follow up! My son is really benefiting from the video...in fact, unbelievably so! The first game after watching it a couple times over the weekend and practicing the concept on his own, he scored 17 points in a quarter and a half! He had gotten into foul trouble early so he sat until the end of the 3rd. He came in and our team ended up winning! He was 5 for 6 at the foul line. He now laughs at the coaches comments about how his arc is "way too high." The coach doesn't say much now with the way his shooting has improved. Watching the video is now part of his pre-game routine. He practices your methods on his own during the weekends.
"I did have to laugh at your comment about getting injured playing football. He got tackled at a game on Tuesday and sprained his ankle. They penalized the team with a technical foul, but he could not play on Friday. At least in football they have pads! He was most upset that the kid that shot the free throws for him missed all of them!
"I would like to thank you for sharing your skills as a coach. I swam for some of the best coaches in the world and I know how rare you are! Thank you. You have made a difference in my son's life!
-- Thanks, Heidi K., Ohio
----- A second memo from Heidi -----
"Tom, My son is a high school junior. He is 17 years old, 6'9", 215 lbs. He has a 3.7 GPA and will attend college. His brother plays football for Yale (freshman), so he realizes that there is life after sports and he keeps academics important. (Both my husband and myself were scholarship athletes at NCSU, he in football and I in swimming) I purchased your video for a Christmas present which is why I am so astounded at the rapid improvement in his shooting. He's actually afraid to tell his coach about your video. The coach is a nice guy but is real young (25) so he tends to be a meat head. He insists that he not shoot if he is more than 3 feet from the basket because "Big guys cannot shoot!" He's actually a great shot from the 3pt. but doesn't want to be benched!
"We live on a farm in a rural area in Ohio. Travel to good coaches doesn't bother us. I spent my childhood in training out in California. I swam for Santa Clara and DeAnza swim clubs while my family lived in Georgia. We kept both of our sons out of little league sports just so they would love sports when they got older. That theory has worked because they both have a burning desire to excel! My son pulled a back muscle this summer and x-rays showed that he had 3 or more inches of growth, according to the doctor. Even though he keeps getting letters from several D-1 football programs, we know his future as a 6'9+" QB/WR is limited -- he needs great basketball coaching now.
"I appreciate your help ... heck after watching the video even this old swimmer can shoot! I'm 6'3" and have been asked my whole life if I play basketball. Now at least I can say I can shoot! Thanks again!
-- Heidi K., Ohio
"First of all, you have a great training strategy. I think this approach will go along way in helping kids learn to shoot. There is one particular friend of my daughter's who shoots almost entirely with her hands. She will be a good test.
"I studied the video last night, then I stopped by WalMart on the way home from work today to upgrade my b-ball collection. Just spent an hour in the driveway. Here's a summary:
"- started with the three footers, working on the release; no problem, swish, swish, swish
"- moved to eight feet, bent my knees a little to get the down-up force; no problem; was very
comfortable shooting with the arm and the hand/fingers relaxed, and focused on getting the power from the arm push and a little down-up action; also had no problem with transitioning from square-up position to an angled position - it certainly was more natural from there to line up the eye, hand, and basket; shifting the power from the hand/fingers exclusively to the arm push definitely required conscious thought, but it was not uncomfortable
"- moved to 15 feet - uh oh; I kept shooting short; found myself tensioning my fingers on the release to get extra power; that caused the ball to go left or right of target; then tried focusing on more arm push with relaxed fingers; that slowly seemed to work, I think that range will require a lot of practice to develop the full upward arm push, while simultaneously relaxing the fingers; I should probably just gradually move back from 8 feet rather than jump to 15 feet
"- jump shots - not too much to show on that yet; I broke my foot in early January, so I can't get a
lot of power from the jump yet; however, I can see it will take some time to integrate the upward
movement and the release in one single stoke; I can also sense the hand and fingers wanting to
get in the action; I suspect this will be the biggest adjustment, but first this dang foot has to heal
"So this is what I think I need to focus on in sequence to build towards that 20 foot and 3 point
"- keep working the 4 footers to train the arm to power the shot, and train the fingers to stay totally relaxed and out of the power picture
"- move to my comfortable eight foot range to shoot, and then back up one foot at a time, gradually increasing my range as I maintain a strong upward push with the arm and legs with totally relaxed fingers; gradual increase in range will allow development of the arm and down-up power while keeping the fingers relaxed
"- until my foot fully heals, begin doing easy 12 foot jump shots, working on connecting the upward movement to the release
"So the two biggest learning challenges for me appear to be switching from finger power to arm
power, and connecting the upforce and release into a single stroke."
-- from Geof Fountain, Aiken, SC
A second one from Geof:
"Here's some feedback from my second session.
"I followed the routine - starting at the zero point, then the down-up at 8 to 10 feet, and then the foul shot. I was able to extend my range to 15 feet comfortably - a big step from the first session. Towards the end of the session, I shot two sets of 20 foul shots. First set - 16 of 20; second set 18 of 20.
"About half of the made fouls shots were swishes. The rest rolled in -- I noticed the softness of the landing and how it seemed to help the balls go in.
"I worked some on my jump shots, but the broken foot bone is limiting my practice on that shot. No big deal though as there is plenty to practice on from 15 feet in. I did focus some on developing an early release. But my guess is an early release will need the full power of the jump to really develop it, I think. The good news is, after spending an hour on my foot shooting yesterday, as well as working in the yard, and then playing some horse late last night with some of the high school boys team(they lost in the second round last night to Spartanburg High), my foot feels pretty good today. So I think my recovery is going along well and I can start working earnestly on jump shooting within the next two weeks.
"During the session, I noticed my awareness going up and was more focused, concentrating on the fundamentals - relaxed hands and fingers and shooting with power from the arm. I am beginning to see the difference between sloppy practice and "perfect" practice - maintaining an awareness of my execution compared to the fundamentals, and using that feedback to improve the execution. That was neat. So sloppy practice is the opposite - little awareness and little knowledge of the fundamentals. Does this make sense ?
"My awareness on alignment went up. I think one of the focus areas of my next session will be getting to the set point with good alignment until it becomes automatic.
"I had my first session with my daughter yesterday. It went extremely well. Last night went we were playing horse, she was swishing many of her shots. She is very teachable, so we should see significant progress with her."
- - Geof Fountain, Aiken, SC
(He welcomes emails on the subject: firstname.lastname@example.org)
"I ordered your DVD on Monday and should receive it today (Friday). In the meantime, my son Jared (14 yr old - freshman) started basketball conditioning workouts at his high school with the varsity and JV teams. They run for 20 minutes then shoot for 45 minutes and finish with 5 on 5 for about 15 minutes. At this point in the year, no basketball coaching is taking place.
"I have read everything on your website while waiting for your DVD to arrive. When I went to his practice I thought, since this was high school, I would see better shooting from the kids, but it is just as you described in your newsletters. Very poor. The coach told me that during one stretch of the season last year their shooting guard went 5 games without scoring a point! That's 0 out of 70 attempts. I know that when Jared begins to develop a real jump shot, one that he can consistently call upon during the game and in pressure situations he will help this team tremendously.
"I have great confidence in what you teach and the approach you use to teach it. I will keep you updated on Jared's improvement throughout the year. Thanks."
-- Jim C., Baton Rouge, LA
"Hi Tom, I first read about your method this morning. I bought into your system because I found it almost impossible to coach shooting for young kids the way I was taught to do it. (I've been
coaching basketball for 3 years -- since my older son was in grade 2.)
"The 'selling' argument was that having an open stance is better then squaring up to the
basket. I've been to a number of coaching clinics and I was taught to square up every time.
"The biggest difficulty with shooting for young kids comes from squaring up. When squared up
they have difficulty to get their elbows below the ball and also they cannot shoot without
'pushing their shoulders.' In the open stance these problems disappear naturally.
"Tonight I had my second practice with a group of 2-3 graders and I've started teaching them
the open stance shooting. After just 20 minutes most of the kids (brand new to basketball)
could shoot up to the basket with one hand -- I was impressed.
"From now on I will be teaching open stance shooting for my players and I'm eagerly waiting
for the DVD to learn and teach the swish method -- I'll keep you informed."
-- Andras S., British Columbia, Canada
"My two sons were both very good guards. Both were voted MVP and all-conference in middle school, and now our oldest was voted co-mvp and all conference as a sophomore. When my oldest son, Grey was an eight grader he probably hit 15-20% of his 3s. As a ninth grader he probably hit 20%. He averaged 12-13, and was a good player. They have an advantage because they are athletic.
"After the first game of Grey's sophomore season, in which he did not shoot well, I exposed him to your web site. He learned to shoot on the way up instead of at the top by looking at your web site. His 3's shooting percentage immediately went from the 20 range to a low of 30 to quite often over 50%. The better the defense, the better he shot. It was dramatic and immediate. We ordered your video. He looked at it a little. His shot got better, but would still have times that he would "throw" instead of "push' the shot. He was all conference, averaged 17 a game, and became the go-to man in the fourth quarter because he knew how to shoot. In the conference championship game, with us down by one with 12 seconds left, he drove the length of the court, stripped the net from the foul line as the buzzer went off. His comment was that the play was designed for him to take it the length of the court and to take the shot. He told me that his thought was that he knew how to shoot it, and all he needed to do was do what he had learned. It is all about what you said, you are teaching a way they can depend on.
"About a month after his highly successful season, he went out for a very high profile AAU team. The coach made a mistake and did not move Grey and one other very good player into the court he was looking at. Grey's shooting and court play was lights out. Neither Grey nor the other boy made the team. Even though there was a rational explanation, Grey's confidence was hurt.
"He made an immediate decision to go our for another high profile AAU team, the Greensboro Gators. He shot lights out in warm-ups but you could tell the first miss in the game devastated him. He had the worst shooting night I'd ever seen him have on the first night of tryouts -- making no shots out of 12 or 13 from the field. He was definitely throwing the ball! Zero confidence. He miraculously made the first cut from 75 to about 35.
"That first tryout was on a Wednesday and his final tryout was to be on Saturday. I knew for him to even have a remote chance of making this very strong team, he would have to have a career day. Knowing he had -0- confidence, I took control of his training. His first job was to watch & perform the elements of your video on Thursday. He begrudgingly agreed. His shot came back. The only thing I added to what you were showing was that I told him I couldn't wait to see him miss a shot, because I wanted to see his form after a miss. He seemed to like that - a miss was not important anymore.
"He knew the pressure was on without me telling him. Before the tryout I threw him a few balls and asked him to miss so I could see the next shot. He was playing with some of the best 16s in the state. His floor game was superb, but he missed 3 of the first 4 shots. From then on, he made 14 of the next 15 shots and made the team. I credit his willingness to miss, and the technique that you have taught him. Your technique is a winning technique, but it does take a receptive subject. He has had numerous shooting runs in the last two months similar to the 14 for 15 run. I don't thing there is anybody else that shows someone how to shoot as well as you do. You make it simple and direct."
-- Mike W., Greensboro, NC
"Our daughter is a 7th grade basketball player. She does not play AAU and does not have aspirations to be in the WNBA. She just wanted to be better at shooting the ball because she is not especially fast or tall and felt that would be the best way she could contribute to her team offensively. After using your shooting style, she became the best shooter on her team. Her confidence has skyrocketed. The team she is on right now does sprints at the end of practice. The girls vote for the person who will shoot the free throws on their behalf, for every free throw that is made it is one less sprint at the end of practice, all the way down to zero if the shooter makes them all. Imagine how my daughter feels when she knocks down all of her free throws and the team walks out without having to do a single sprint!!! She has done it enough that the coaches had to modify the rules or the girls wouldn't get the conditioning they need."
- - J. Phillips
"Hi Tom: Yesterday morning I ran a four-hour shooting clinic based on your Coaching Lesson plans 1 and 2. I had nineteen boys ranging from 10 - 14 years old. Some of the players have played for 2-3 years, others for less than one year. They are all part of either the u13 or u14 Sheffield Junior Sharks basketball club squads. I've been coaching them since July 2004.
"I took the time to view the DVD several times, worked with my younger son Oliver, and printed off and condensed down the lesson plans 1 and 2. The gym we practice in is pretty good - it is at a school and has single court with two main baskets and eight wall-mounted side baskets. That plus plenty of basketballs.
"Firstly let me say I was astounded by the session. I had every faith that the Swish method would work - it makes great sense to me, it is consistent with the way I have tried to coach shooting in the past, and I could see that the simple approach would be readily understood. But the outcome was frankly amazing! As the session developed and we went through the progression, pretty much as your lesson plan advised, the improvement in the boys shooting was astonishing. I couldn't help smiling -- at first just inwardly, but then just a broad grin -- and everywhere on the court I could see players doing the same.
"I have to give credit to the boys -- over a sustained four hour period without anything more than several water breaks, they concentrated throughout and showed great self-discipline. But they could see for themselves that the method works and they just kept working with it -- so it gave instant positive feedback.
"'It works - it's amazing!' was the response from the boys.
"Your advice in terms of encouraging them to be self-aware and to watch others and give honest feedback worked so well. I was very impressed -- as young teenagers they will chat to each other about so much (TV, school, NBA etc) and often at the "wrong" time (when the coach is talking), but trying to get them to communicate on court on D, etc. -- they all clam up! But today they talked far more to each other about their shooting as the session progressed, particularly "yes/no" on the release.
"On introducing the release, I used your "sitting down" approach from the DVD instead of standing in circles, but then moved onto that. It allowed me and a couple of assistant coaches to look at grip, set point, hand/wrist etc. more easily.
"But the real take off came with the Pure Release Distance. Once they started swishing it at the PRD (particularly with eyes closed), they were sold! Interestingly, one player took the instruction to find the PRD by trial and error to mean once he could hit swishes with no leg drive from a spot close to the basket, he next decided to increase the distance and try to repeat but going for the basket. Once I spotted what he was doing it I brought the group back together and emphasised that this exercise is the key one to the method and that it is not a test of strength, but of repeatability. Once this particular understood this, he went back and used it well and was one of the first to really express his astonishment -- "it works!"
"Once we had put it all together with jump shots from a variety of spots - short, mid, long range - each player choosing their own, I then went to shooting from their weak hand/arm. I reckoned that this would a) make them think and b) help them realise that the method is so simple. We went through the progression very quickly and I had players swishing "wrong" hand shots - again everyone was impressed.
"Because they had concentrated so well, we had enough time to look at free throws too. Again, they understood quickly, took the "down-up" advice and applied it with the rest of the method. We used your micro-mini-full progression with very good results.
"The last section of the session I split them into four teams on a shooting competition we run usually in more relaxed sessions than our normal practices. Each team had to hit five shots from four spots round the key. Not unexpectedly, the added pressure/excitement/competitiveness had an immediate impact on their performance. Only four or five out of the 19 clearly tried to use their new shooting technique - the rest reverted more or less! After one run through we repeated it twice more with reminders in between about how they should be shooting. Performance improved noticeably. But it showed just how fragile it can be.
"I have had great feedback from my assistant coaches and from parents - one mum came in about three quarters the way through and said the atmosphere was buzzing and that her son has not been able to stop talking about it since (he was one who really took to the method - shooting 16/20 free throws!).
"So, if it's not already abundantly clear, thanks, Tom, for this method! Now I have got to make sure we follow it through and reinforce constantly. I am sure we will see an improvement in our jump shots and free throws in matches. We are in our national age-group playoffs and we know we are going to come up against better and bigger teams. Most of our points come off layups from steals/turnovers generated by high pressure D. But we won't be able to rely on that to the same extent -- we will need to be able to hit open jump shots and free throws to win -- the Swish method may yet prove to be the crucial ingredient in our season. I'll let you know."
- - Tom G.
Sheffield Junior Sharks, England
"Hello, I surely wish i could come to the clinic, but I live and coach in Alabama and probably won't be able to make it. I have the video and it helped tremendously. I will use it for years to come. My team went from 1-25 two years ago to private school state champions this year and a big part of it was our shooting. we hit 33 out of 42 foul shots in our state tournament. I would take that at any level. Especially considering last year (11-10 record) we shot about 45%. Thanks so much. Is there any way I can order a t-shirt to give you guys some publicity out here?"
- - Paul B., Alabama
"Hi Mr. Nordland, My son and I attended last Saturday's clinic and enjoyed it very much. We had purchased the video a few months ago and our shooting began to improve immediately. What really impressed me about the clinic was the way in which you taught the kids a method for learning that can be applied to anything, not just shooting a basketball -- i.e. paying attention to what your body is doing, constantly evaluating and searching for the sweet spot (Ichiro Honda said that success is 99 percent failure), slowing things down to level where one can control things, etc. I was lucky enough to have a great piano teacher some time ago and his methods were similar, and now, as a professional musician I find myself using these techniques all the time. Thanks for sharing this with the kids."
- - Mark K. and son, Trevor
"Funny thing happened yesterday.
"As a coach of both a national caliber AAU team and my kids' teams, I purchased your video and attended one of your clinics in order to better teach shooting. Part of my approach was to spend some time in the gym first applying your principles to my own shot. I reasoned it would make it easier to teach and I certainly had fun improving my own shooting.
"As I have the last few weeks, I played in a pick up game that I knew was regularly played in by several recently graduated college players. So we're in the middle of the game yesterday and one of my teammates started pointing at me and yelling "Get him the ball. He can shoot." They were running plays for the old guy in order to beat the flat bellies. What fun.
"Tom, somewhere on the way to being a better coach, I seem to have gotten some game as well. Thanks."
- - Mark H.