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Brookfield Central Lancers
Coach Sorenson
20550 Dexter Court
Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Pong type moving B-Ball
Shooting Form
Years ago we used to think that some kids were just "born-shooters"... either you had the knack or you didn't. Nowadays, I believe everyone can become a good shooter with correct instruction on the fundamentals of shooting, combined with drills and practice. This article discusses the fundamentals of good shooting form. The principles discussed below should be used as guidelines, not absolutes, and may be helpful in correcting or teaching a player who is struggling with his/her shooting, or is just learning to shoot. Coaches should resist the urge to change a player's shot if it works for that player. We can all think of great shooters who didn't have perfect form. So, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Have your feet about shoulder width apart. Your knees should be bent a little as your thigh muscles will provide power for your shot. If you shoot right-handed, your right foot should be slightly forward, and your weight should be on the balls of your feet (not the heels). Your shoulders and body should be square to the hoop, although some great shooters are more comfortable with the side that the ball is on turned a little toward the hoop (find out which is most comfortable for you). Probably the important thing here is that when you jump to shoot, jump straight up (or slightly forward), but not sideways or backwards. Stay balanced.

Holding the ball
Use both hands to hold the ball, but only your shooting hand will actually propel the ball forward. Don't shoot two-handed. Your shooting hand is the "platform" and should be underneath the ball with your wrist cocked back. Your elbow should be bent at about 90%, like a backwards "L", and underneath the ball (not out to the side). Your other hand (the "guide hand") helps support or balance the ball, but does not enter into the actual shooting of the ball. Your non-shooting hand should actually come off the ball just before you release the ball, so that you are shooting with one hand, just your shooting hand. Use your fingertips, not palms, to hold and release the ball.

Here is a method to learn what the correct "platform" is. Extend your shooting arm straight forward with your palm facing up and let the ball sit comfortably your hand (fingers comfortably apart). Now in one motion, bend the elbow while rotating the forearm, wrist and hand outward and upward, and under the ball so that the ball is now resting on your hand above your right shoulder with the wrist cocked back. The shoulder is the "hinge", the elbow points toward the hoop and an "L" is formed by the forearm and the arm (looking from the shooting arm side). Your elbow should be in and pointing at the basket.

The position of the shooting hand's thumb is important. The shooting thumb should be pointing upward at about a 45 degree angle left (right-handed shooter). This will cause the elbow to naturally fall under the ball. I have seen some young players with the thumb too far under the ball and pointing straight leftward, which causes the elbow to fly outward (see the two photos). So if your shooter's release looks a little goofy, has side-spin, or the elbow is flying, look at the position of the thumb... a very simple concept that's easy to fix.
Set Point
The set point is where you position the ball just prior to releasing the shot. If you are right-handed and shoot with your shoulders and feet square to the hoop, have the ball to the right of your face, a little toward the right shoulder. Don't line the ball up in the center of your face, as this may result in your shooting elbow flying away from your body, and could actually cause your wrist to turn sideways (supinate) when you release the ball, imparting a side-spin.

On the other hand, if you are more comfortable shooting with your body turned in toward the shooting side, then the set point can be more in front of your face. You will have to find which method works best for you.

Also, it is best that the ball is as high as your forehead, or even higher (if you are strong enough or close to the basket), in order to keep your shot from being blocked. But do not cock the ball back over the top of (or behind) your head. This results in a "slinging" motion and a flatter shot.
Finally, younger players who have less strength will have a lower set point, perhaps even below the shoulder, in order to get more power. As the youngster matures, the set point should move higher.         

Upward Force
Most of the power in your shot should come from the upward force of your jump (in the jump shot), or the upward force from your thighs moving upward (in the free throw). You should not try to power up longer shots with your arm, wrist or hand muscles. Let the big muscles in the legs do the work. Release your shot on the upward force of the jump, not on the way down.

Aiming the ball
Pick out a spot to aim at... either the back of the rim, or just over the front of the rim, or the backboard (if you are shooting a bank shot). Concentrate on this spot, and don't look at the ball, or the flight of the ball.

Releasing (shooting) the ball
Use the shoulder as a "hinge". Your shooting arm extends forward toward the hoop (keep the elbow in), the elbow extends (straightens), and then you release the ball with a snap of the wrist, with the ball rolling off your fingertips. This will imparts backspin ("rotation") that all good shooters have. Backspin makes the ball land softly on the rim, and often creates a favorable "shooter's" bounce, resulting in a score even though the shot was not perfect. Shoot the ball high with an arc. Don't shoot a flat, line drive, type of shot. An arched shot has a better chance of going in, since the hoop is actually bigger and wider for a ball coming in from above, than from a line drive. Don't "push" the ball with the heel of your palm; let it come off your finger-tips. Make sure that you extend (straighten) your elbow... don't "short-arm" the shot. The release should be repeatable. Don't sling the ball up for more power on long shots... use the power from the up-force of your jump, or lower your set point for more power. Don't pull the ball back behind your head before releasing it, as this results in a flat, line-drive type shot. On shorter shots, release the ball more at the top of the jump with a higher set point (arms extended up over your head).         

Follow Through
This is important in getting the proper rotation (back spin) on the ball. Your fingers should be pointing toward the hoop, and your wrist bent forward, in a "goose neck" fashion. Another analogy is if you were "reaching into the cookie jar" high on the shelf. Hold this release after your shot until the ball hits the rim. You will notice that with a proper follow-through, the palm of your hand will be facing downward toward the floor. If it is turned sideways with the back of the hand facing outward (as if you were going to shake hands with someone), then you are incorrectly twisting your wrist during the release. Keep your eye on the target... don't watch the flight of the ball.

going for a dunk
Following this 9-step procedure is a good way for a Jr. Lancer to learn how to block out so you can become a better rebounder:

      1. KNOW YOUR ASSIGNED OPPONENT. As the ball is shot, find your assigned player and make aggressive contact, then pivot to get him on your back (rear and lower back). Remember when pivoting to open to the ball.

      2. SOLID CONTACT. Stress contact, taking your opponent out of the paint. Set your feet a little wider than your shoulders. As you make contact, pivot and hold your opponent with a wrap. Do this by placing your hands on the opponent to feel where he is. But remember that this should be for just a brief second.

      3. STANCE/POSITIONING. As you complete the pivot, look up to the rim and bring your elbows out and up to shoulder level.

      4. HANDS. Open your hands to the basket.

      5. KEEP AWARE. As you step toward your assigned opponent, if he doesn't come, turn and get back in the play.

      6. ATTACK THE BALL. As the ball comes off, jump toward it; rebound with two hands.

      7. SECURING THE BALL. As you bring the ball down, keep your elbows out. Never bring the ball lower then your chest. Be strong.

      8. LOOKING FOR THE OUTLET. After making contact with the ball, make a half-turn to the outside to look for the outlet pass.

      9. BALANCE. Keep your feet spread, with weight on both feet. When a player takes a shot, the person who's guarding the shooter must callout, "Shot!" This tells the other defensive players to find their opponents and block out.

The Mental Aspects of Rebounding from the coaching staff……

Basketball is a game that has a lot of “little” games within its circle. There’s the shooting percentage game, the turnover game, the free throw game, and the rebounding game, just to name a few. We, as coaches, like to win all of the little games. Well, maybe not the turnover game. But winning the little games is very crucial because the more little victories you have, the better chance you have of getting the “W”, or the big victory.

There are some aspects of the game that are considered very crucial, or “must wins”. Rebounding is one such aspect. A team with the rebounding edge has a better chance of winning the game, because they are able to attempt more shots, while limiting the other team’s shot attempts.

Lets say UCLA and Duke have just played each other. Not knowing the actual score, but only a few statistical facts about the game let’s figure out who won. I’ll make it easy. Every stat is the same, except rebounding, and shot attempts. Both shot 45% from the field, and had 10 turnovers. The difference is that UCLA had 5 more rebounds than Duke did. Who won? UCLA, of course, and with just 5 more rebounds. Why? They had the ball more, thus shooting more, thus limiting the number of shot attempts taken by Duke.
The best thing about rebounding is that everyone can be good at it. The truth is that the foundation of rebounding has absolutely nothing to do with physical size. It has everything to do with a player’s mind. A player that is 5’5 can be just as good, or better at rebounding as a player that is 6’5.

The first step to being a good rebounder is the desire to want to be good at it. Rebounding takes effort. It takes a conscious choice to be a good rebounder. Players have to exert some energy to move from where they are standing, to where the ball is while trying to maneuver, and get around players blocking them out. What we notice is that many players often become spectators when it comes to rebounding.

One thing that a player must assume is that every shot is a missed shot, and they should go after the ball accordingly. They have to feel like the rebound should be theirs, and nothing is going to stop them from getting it. Rebounding is a mentality that says, “no matter how far I am away from the ball I can still get to it, if I hustle.” We have all seen players run from one side of the court to the other, and end up with the ball. Had they assumed that they would, or could not get the ball, they would not have ended up with it. That type of play stems from aggressive rebounding mental state. That could have been the difference in the game. (Every play counts!).

Basketball being what it is, big strong players are a plus. But size need not be used as a crutch for not being able to rebound. A player that may be smaller in physical stature, but has an understanding of the importance of rebounding, with the attitude that if he does not make it happen, it will not happen can be more affective than someone who is just, simply big. Think about five players with a mind to crash the boards together, and rebound!

When you get rebounds, you are than able to do what everyone likes best….Play offense! Successful rebounding always leads to more offensive opportunities.

smilely face
Rebounds make the coaches smile!

Right Now by Van Halen

Thursday, October 26
Working with young athletes is a big responsibility. It requires the coach and parent to do his or her homework to make sure the athletes are receiving quality instruction and sufficient opportunities to improve themselves in their sport. Hopefully the following list of resources will benefit you as you prepare to provide leadership in your young athlete’s weight training program:

# National Strength and Conditioning Association – The NSCA is an organization whose central focus is on the development of muscular strength. Check them out for resources related to weight training with young athletes. (

# American College of Sports Medicine – The ACSM is probably the leading organization for sports and fitness training. See what they have to offer in the area of training young athletes. (

# American Academy of Pediatrics – The AAP offers position papers on weight training with young athletes and other youth sport issues. It can be accessed at

# Strength Training for Young Athletes – written by W.J. Kraemer and S.J. Fleck this book provides insights into developing strength training programs for kids ages 7-18. (

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