A. By "the same," I mean the same speed and force, the same relaxed wrist and hand! The angle is the only thing that changes, to control distance. That will be instinctive. You don't have to think about what angle. Your clever body will know to aim higher or lower. And always plan to shoot very high, if possible, which requires a strong, deliberate leg drive action.
Master the Release from the Pure Release Distance!!! This is a distance where, with no legs or just a tiny, triggering kind of motion, you fire off your Release aimed high and the ball comes down dead center every time. The ball gets up to 11 1/2' 12' or a little more (not 15-20') and drops softly into the center, swish. Don't adjust your Release to fit the distance. Adjust the distance to fit the Release!!!
From there you should be able to make 5, 10, 20 in a row any time you want, most swishes, and make 90-95% of your shots (and get focused, calm, trusting). If you can't make a bunch in a row like a robot, any time you choose, it means your Release is not "constant," not simple, automatic and repeatable. Moving back with that kind of unstable Release will just make things worse as you add more variables (the leg drive, the distance, maybe extra body movement, etc.).
Remember to keep it simple.
Q. Can you shoot too high?
(A question about coaching a daughter)
A. Yes, it's possible to get too much arch. I rarely see it, so I keep saying "as high as possible," but 10', 12', 15' and more above the rim is too high because it's both hard to judge the distance and the ball starts to accelerate as it approaches the rim, thus making it more "hot." It's fun and useful to "play" with height and shoot that high, but then tame it down when you shoot for real. If she can shoot ultra high and make the shots, then there's no problem, but it's a difficult thing to do consistently.
To coach your daughter, see how she is shooting so high. Is it from the legs? Or is it from a very strong arm action? She may have to tame it down, again, very rare.
Have her work from the "Pure Release Distance” (PRD), the one distance from which she can make shot after after shot after shot with medium-high arch (~50-60 degrees above horizontal, roughly 11 o’clock on a clock) and minimal (or no) leg action, high arching, soft landing, dead center, swish! Fire off the Swish Release (a consistent, relaxed wrist release, the arm doing all the work) and then adjust the distance from the basket accordingly, so the shots come in from high, dead center.
From the PRD, the bottom of the ball can get up to 11 1/2-12 feet -- much higher than that probably isn't necessary. If she (or anyone) is that strong, then raise the Set Point. You want the repeatable release motion. That's the key. As she moves back, then, the leg power will be needed to power and stabilize the shot.
Q. How get perfect spin?
A. Your spin is not perfectly backspin because you must be doing something extra with your shooting hand or wrist (or some action involving the off hand). Observe yourself shoot very carefully and see if you can figure out what's interfering.
To practice a great Release, bring your shooting hand in line with your shooting eye and the target (an open stance is more natural than a square stance). Observe if your hand is directly in line with the target. Is the center of the hand in line? The fingers are pointing up and back. To shoot, simply straighten your arm in a pushing action, aimed up high in the direction of the target, and hold the follow through. You might do it one-handed for awhile to learn it, and then add the off hand.
Observe to see if your hand twists or does it stay straight in line with the target. If it stays straight in line you should get perfect backspin, medium in speed if you do it fairly strong and quickly. If your hand is doing something else, that will interfere with the normal, medium backpin that a relaxed wrist and hand will create naturally when the arm is pushed directly in line with a target.
I advocate NO tension in the wrist and hand. That way the action is simple and repeatable. And you'll find it's the way the greatest shooters shoot (Jeff Hornacek, Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Steve Kerr, etc.). The Release is just an arm thing, a pushing to the end-of-the-arm at the same speed and force every time.
Go to my website (http://www.swish22.com) and read all my articles, Newsletters, coaching suggestions, Q&A's, etc. You will read of the simple way of shooting that I coach. The July 2002 Newsletter has a section entitled "What Matters in Shooting..." It talks about how the Hand matters, how that hand is pointing and how it's used in the shot.
This spin thing is simple bio-mechanics, not some complicated thing. But you have to be aware of what you do.
Q. How control distance?
I'm trying to vary arch to control distance, as you advise, but I'm always short. What's wrong?
A. Don't make arch a set thing! It's an intangible. It has to be figured instinctively, in the moment, based on how far you are away from the basket, how much power you feel from the lower body (leg drive, UpForce), how fast you have to shoot, how much of the leg energy you are "catching," etc. etc. You will just KNOW whether to raise or lower the arch at the moment of release.
If you are short or long, it just means you are not paying attention to all those variables (at least not enough attention) to make an appropriate adjustment for the power you have.
To learn how to do this, play around with it! Experiment, explore, discover! Be creative!
Stand in one spot, say 12-15 feet away, and take a bunch of shots. Each time vary the amount of leg drive and see how much arch is appropriate. You should, very quickly, learn to vary arch to control the distance and start making a lot of shots, maybe even 5, 10, 20, 30 in a row or more.
(Read the Newsletter from May 2001 where I mention the 150-in-a-row story:
I feel this adjustment in arch can be completely instinctive, nothing to think about. With practice you should become very good at it. The basket is huge (18" inside diameter), so if you are just even close, the ball will drop. With a full sized ball, you can be off 4" in all directions and still "swish" the shot, it's that big. Key is to get at least enough leg drive that you can shoot very high, as the high arch ensures a big landing area.
Q. Ball Over Eye
I have a question for your regarding your thoughts on 'squaring up.
I also have taught the open stance approach so as to relieve tension in the shooting arm. However, I have also taught the "open window" approach, i.e. not putting the ball in front of your face when you shoot. I have always adhered to the school of thought that having the ball in front of your shooting eye affects your depth perception.
Perhaps I misunderstood. I would appreciate your opinion on this, as I am always attempting to improve on my coaching philosophy on shooting.
A. I think it's important to have the hand and ball "pretty much" in alignment with the shooting eye. I like it exactly in line, but when I'm moving left or right, that's not always possible, so this is a guideline, more than a hard-and-fast rule.
I've heard that some people like to have both eyes on the target, and that requires a movement of the ball slightly to the right (for right handers). This is your "open window" idea.
I find that I can cover one eye with my arm and still shoot just fine. My body "knows" where the basket is with a quick glance. You wouldn't want the ball in front of the face, blocking your vision totally, so you have to have a Set Point either above or below the eyes (so you can see the basket by looking under or above the ball).
Depth perception is not a problem for me and the players I've coached. If you can see with even just one eye (for that instant) and you trust yourself, your body will know where the basket is in space and find the appropriate height for each shot. In general, it's effective to be "generally" aligned with the shooting eye. A little bit left or right is okay, just so it's not so much that you can't be consistent with direction. I feel over the ear or the shoulder is much too far off line and requires a calculation of angle each time that can cause errors.