What is “Perfect” Basketball Shooting Form?

By Joe Haefner

hopla11.jpgRecently, I received an interesting email about Dave Hopla’s shooting form. It was in response to listing Dave as one of the shooting experts that we interviewed in our new Basketball Shooting Guide.

The email stated that Dave Hopla did NOT have great shooting form in the picture that was displayed on our site (you can see the actual picture on the right).

Now in all fairness, this is not a good picture of his actual shooting form.  But this comment brings up a really interesting and important point about shooting the basketball.

Here’s my response that explains what I’m talking about:

You know what. I thought the exact same thing when I first started studying shooting. I thought Dave Hopla doesn’t have that great of shooting form, but after studying shooting for countless hours and developing our new Shooting Guide, I have came to a NEW conclusion on basketball shooting form

You don’t need “perfect” or even “great” mechanics to be a great shooter. You need CONSISTENT & REPEATABLE shooting mechanics. If your shot is the same every time, it’s easier to make adjustments.

While I do highly recommend using “good” shooting mechanics, you can also look at Larry Bird’s and Peja Stojaković’s shooting form. Anybody with some knowledge of how to shoot would quickly notice that they had bad shooting form, yet they are arguably two of the top shooters that the NBA has seen in the last 25 years.

Even though, they didn’t have good shooting form, they did have the same shot mechanics on every shot. Now imagine if a coach would’ve said to Larry after he won back to back 3-point shootouts, “Now Larry, your form doesn’t look good so we’re going to have to change it.” As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I think us coaches (me included) get a little obsessed sometimes with perfection not only when it comes to shooting, but other areas of the game as well. We want the players to have the perfect defensive slide or the perfect passing technique. We forget that basketball is an art. There is no perfect way to do anything. The real question is “Is the player effective?” which pertains to anything in basketball.

I’m not saying that coaches shouldn’t critique and help players make adjustments to become a better player, we just need to be careful and use logic and rational when doing so. If a kid knocks down 50% of his three point attempts, but his elbow sticks out while shooting, I’m not going to be the one to change it. Now, if you have a kid with bad shooting form that shoots 20% from the field, you should try to help the player make some adjustments to his/her shooting form. That’s where coaching comes into play and where the top coaches/trainers earn their money. They know when to leave players alone and when to offer advice to help them become a better player.

And back to Dave Hopla, the guy makes about 98% or 99% of his shots. I’ve never personally seen his speeches or shooting demonstrations, but I’ve heard they’re simply amazing and very few people in the world if anybody can do what he does. He’s had demonstrations where he’s made 350 of 350 shots while talking to the audience the entire time. If any of my players could do that, I couldn’t care less how he shoots the ball.

Some of the NBA’s best players such as Kobe Bryant have consulted with Hopla. He is also currently an assistant for Washington Wizards. So I do highly value what he has to say.

The end goal is to put the ball in the basket. It doesn’t matter how pretty it looks. I know Dave Hopla does a heck of a job, so I’m more than willing to listen to what he has to say.

Recommended Resources:

Baden 28.5″ Shooting Basketball

What are your thoughts about basketball shooting form?