By Joe Haefner
When I was in 9th grade, I developed into a pretty good shooter. Every shooting session, I would hit a hot streak and bury 10 to 15 three’s in a row. I think I made as many as 25 during one session.
My shot was quick, but I had a very low release. My varsity coach then asked me if I wanted to play college basketball and I said, “Yes!” From that point forward, he worked with me to develop a higher release point. For some reason, things didn’t click, and I developed a hitch in my shot. I lacked the coordination between my lower body and upper body that was required to shoot a jump shot. Looking back, I wasn’t using my legs to get my shot there, I was straining too much with my upper body, and I tried to shoot at the peak of my jump rather than shooting as I was going up.
I lost my shooting touch..
By senior year, I was a total head case. I was always thinking about my shot mechanics instead of letting the shot fly. I shot 33% from the field which had dropped from 42% the previous year and 50% my sophomore year.
I started toying with the shooting methods Tom Nordland uses in Swish 2. I hadn’t practiced or played with any consistency for about 2 years, so I was quite rusty. My girlfriend also took some interest in shooting with me and I tested out the shooting methods on her.
Here is a quick summary of what I did:
1. I developed my “Pure” shooting stroke. I practiced shooting to a partner, not at the hoop.
Swish 2 goes into great detail about the “Pure” shooting stroke and how to develop it.
2. Next, I started to incorporate my legs into the shot. I still did not shoot at a hoop.
3. I started to toy with adjusting my shooting distance with my legs while using the same stroke. Still did not shoot at a hoop. All I was trying to do is get a feel for the shot.
4. I started shooting very close (about 5 feet away) to the hoop. I gradually moved out.
Instantly, I noticed I was shooting with TOUCH! It felt good. Granted, I was shooting from 5 feet away, but it still felt great. Gradually, I started moving out. The same thing happened. I was consistently hitting nothing, but net. The shot felt good. It looked good.
After a few months of shooting with the Swish Method, I really started stroking the basketball with a nice touch. Not to mention, my girlfriend (who never played high school basketball) was becoming a pretty good shooter.
Want to know the crazy thing about it? We were only shooting once a week.
Now, remember when teaching or making shooting adjustments, it isn’t all gravy. I struggled and still struggle at times when practicing as will anybody else when first changing a shot. Most players will often miss more before they start making more. This applies to the whole “Take 2 steps backwards to take 3 steps forward” analogy meaning that you may miss more at first with your new shooting technique (2 steps backwards), but you will make more in the long-run (3 steps forward).
I’m still working on my 3-point shot after 5 to 6 months. If I had time to practice like I did in high school, this could’ve been done in a few weeks. This is just to put in perspective that you do not want to learn a new shooting method and jump straight out to 3-point land. Things just won’t work and you’ll get frustrated.
Here is what I learned from the Swish Method:
1. At any age, you could develop a GREAT shot using the Swish method with some persistence and patience. And you truly develop that “Pure” shooting touch that all of the great shooters have. When I used to miss shots, I would MISS. The ball would clang off the rim and come flying back at me or somewhere else. Now, I get a lot of shots that go in with those “shooter’s touch” bounces.
2. Now, my girlfriend shoots better than me, so I’m never teaching her anything basketball-related again.