My Personal Experience With Tom Nordland’s Swish Method

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.

Now, let’s fast forward to this last year. As I was reviewing and watching some great shooting DVDs, I came across Swish 2.

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.

If you like to learn more about the Swish Method, check out our review on Swish 2 or visit their website here Swish 2.


  1. Coach Mike Ketchel — June 3, 2010 @ 10:17 am

    I came across the SWISH method a year ago and immediately embraced the logic of trajectory and arc, relaxation, inertia, and open stance. The results are obvious and readily measurable. Some say there is a very narrow range in the most effective shot angle, but Tom’s method leaves lots of room for an individual shooter’s natural style – some may be effective at 45% while others will be at 50-55-60%, Some will, like Tom Nordland, shoot from a very open stance, while others (most) less open. But it still works! I showed the SWISH video to our boys team, and everyone loved it. We’ll be working with SWISH in our shooting practices. That brings up another matter – the absence of shooting instruction at the youth level. Coaches work on shooting drills, but almost never on proper shot mechanics. (Bad habits cemented at the youth level are not only hard to break, it’s our fault as coaches for allowing bad shot mechanics to go uncorrected!) The SWISH method is a very easy to teach method and can be easily incorporated into a training program. Every club and team should be working on shot mechanics, not just the numbers of shots taken. SWISH is a great system.

  2. Bruce Aulabaugh — January 5, 2012 @ 7:39 am

    I echo all of Jeff’s SWISH comments as I too have been reteaching myself shooting after years of not playing. I’m doing this so that I can coach my U12 boys team with full authority on what I’m teaching. SWISH 2 is great and I’ve followed the same progression that Jeff describes, namely- working on pure release then moving out further to incorporate leg action. Also doing significant work away from the basket to develop full awareness then taking it to the basket.

  3. Bruce Aulabaugh — January 5, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    Sorry, I meant to say ‘Joe’ in above posting (not Jeff).

  4. D Jackson — August 5, 2020 @ 6:51 pm

    Hello Joe, I know this is a very old post, but there are 3 Swish videos, do I need to purchase all 3 videos or do you think Swish 2 is enough to learn Tom’s SWISH method? I had a similar HS experience to you. I was a phenomenal shooter in middle school, but because of shoulder surgeries (mainly bc of football) I lost my shooting touch and never quite regained it. I believe I used to shoot the basketball in the way that Tom Nordland teaches his SWISH technique because my shot was effortless and accurate. I want the kids I coach now to develop that same accuracy and repeatability. Thanks in advance!

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