For Improved Shooting - Laser-Like Focus and High Awareness on Alignment!

I just gave a private lesson to a couple brothers, ages 9 and 15, who live with their younger sister and parents in Moscow most of the year (the father works in the oil business there). During the lesson I drilled 7-8 medium-long shots and asked them to notice how focused I was.

I could see that my near perfect performance (deadly accurate, great control of distance) for those several shots came from the principles I teach (open stance, power from the legs, shooting on the way up, alignment as long as possible, a Set Point in line with the eye, the Release as an upward pushing action, etc.). But what sets me apart from them at this point in their development is my intense focus on the line of the shot (the connection of body, hand, ball, and target) for those 2-3 seconds of a shot. You might call it a "Laser-like" focus.

I get the ball aligned with my eye and the basket and keep it there unwaveringly throughout the motion of setting, release and follow through. They were struggling to do that, perhaps starting aligned and then finishing off line, or bringing the ball up off-line and then having spotty results with direction.

It's normal for focus and awareness and concentration and confidence to rise and fall as you're learning a new stroke. Just keep working on it. Note what's happening, which of those is developing and which needs more work and attention. Keep returning to the simple things that work so well, and pretty soon your focus and alignment and all that stuff will get easier and more consistent. As they become easier for you, your shooting performance will start to soar. In the moments when they come together -- briefly at first, more and more with time -- you'll see the results that tell you you're on a great path of shooting.


Notice how aligned you are with the ball, your shooting eye and the basket as you shoot. Note your level of concentration (focus) on the basket as you shoot, and your awareness of your body motion and direction and height. You can read my articles and newsletters, etc., and get my Swish videos if you want to learn my method of shooting, but just being more focused and connected (and aligned) to the target will improve your shooting, no matter how you shoot.

Tom Nordland is a shooting expert and coach from California via Minnesota. His videos, coaching and writings are inspiring a Renaissance (a rebirth, a revival) in shooting around the world as players and coaches are taught the things that really matter in shooting. A great shooter as a youth, Tom was given a gift of seeing shooting like few have ever seen it. He sees the “essence” of great shooting and how to get there. The good news is that it’s very simple. The few great shooters of today and yesterday mastered simple things, not complicated motions. Improved shooting is now possible for everybody in the game, and mastery is available to those who sincerely dedicate themselves to it. Visit Tom’s website ( to read of his background and his articles and newsletters, and to view the remarkable endorsements and amazing testimonials for this approach to shooting.

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