Let's Look at the Hand Position

This is just a quick little thing that can make a big difference in your shot. As I was practicing recently, having fun learning and observing the learning process (and drilling shots from 6-10 feet away, over and over and over), I noticed recently the very important thing we can call the Hand Position. Where the hand is in the setting and release of a basketball is critical for control and accuracy. If it points off to the side, then some kind of compensation has to be made as you shoot, and that threatens control. If the hand is not in line with the eye and basket as you shoot, accuracy will always be a challenge, as an angle back to the basket has to be figured.

Let's look at three different areas of the positioning of the hand:

1) Before the shot (the "setting" of the ball)

2) During the shot (from the Set Point forward)

3) After the shot (the Follow Through)


Before the shot is what we can all the "Setting" of the ball. This is the movement of the ball from wherever it is (off a dribble, from the triple threat position, from a catch) to the Set Point.


When the ball reaches the Set Point, you are usually involved immediately in shooting. Though you can hesitate a bit to shoot, if you need to, it's usually most effective to keep the ball moving. It's more of a change of direction rather than a stop-start. If it keeps moving, the Law of Inertia (Newton's First Law of Motion mentioned above) will help your shooting. So keep the ball in line with eye and basket and fire off your Release motion on line and keep it on line.


After the ball leaves the hand, it's important to hold the Follow Through for at least a bit. I like to suggest holding the F/Thru from 1/2 to one second. That's enough. It helps to "complete" the action, and retains "connection" to the target for just that much longer. Whenever I do it sincerely, I notice that my shots have a little more range and are a little more accurate. That's helpful stuff!

So, increase awareness of your Hand Position throughout the shot and you will learn and perform at a higher level. Trust me. No, don't trust ME!!! Trust your experience! Try shooting with immaculate Hand Position, and then shoot with off-line or rotated hand position and compare the results. Your "experience" will teach you what works best.

(Note: I rarely use the word “immaculate," but it came to me and I went with it, knowing it was a good word, but not remembering exactly what it means. My dictionary says it means, "perfectly clean, without a flaw or error, pure, innocent, sinless." I'm not sure about the innocent and sinless part of that, but being clean and pure, that's great stuff. Work on getting your Hand Position, and all the other aspects of shooting, pure and clean, and they'll be writing books about you and your awesome shooting.)

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 (http://www.swish22.com/) to read of his background and his articles and newsletters, and to view the remarkable endorsements and amazing testimonials for this approach to shooting.