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PostPosted: 06 Jul 2011, 21:11 

Posts: 21
How does one politely tell a coach to leave a kid's shot alone? My 12 year old daughter just started on a club team and the coach is having the girls (who are mainly Varsity HS players) do shooting drills that are based on ones done by college men's teams.

The drills are very technique specific, and are messing with my daughter's shot. The release is too high for her and the knee bend too pronounced. If she were just learning to shoot or had problems shooting, that would be one thing, but she's a good shooter (40% mid-range, 30% 3 pt, 90% free throws), has been working with a shooting coach weekly for a year, and has been told by several coaches that she has "perfect form". I should also mention that she plays off-season with the local HS Varsity team, and has been playing at a high school level since last year when she was 11. So her shot is definately not broken--if anything, it's been the subject of much attention for how nice it is.

This team is new and there have only been a handful of practices, so he's never really seen her in action.

I realize that there is a benefit to a higher release (harder to defend), and a benefit to using one's legs as much as possible. However, she's not strong enough at her age to produce what he wants. Plus the ball currently goes into the hoop with a nice arc and follow-through, which seems to me to be the goal.

She wants to quit the club team b/c of the shooting drills. Also, in general the practices are not intense enough for her--he doesn't really push the girls very hard--so we really have two issues going on. At any rate, is there any way to politely tell him to leave her shot alone? Or are we at the mercy of how he wants to teach fundamentals?

PostPosted: 07 Jul 2011, 09:01 
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This is a tough call...... the coach is probably running the camp for high school players and not prepared to deal with younger kids..... then again... when I ran shooting camps for younger kids, I taught them the same things I taught all players... the basics.... for the younger, smaller kids who are not as strong as others, we moved the drill closer to the basket to account for that. I was dealing with FORM.

Now, with that being said... and I cant see what is going on in the camp and how your daughter shoots... its hard to tell you what to do. The old saying, IF IT ISN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT. We had a couple of kids that had terrible form with great results... never even attempted to change their shots... some kids with bad results and form we worked with - some didn't want to change and their shot continued to be bad and they didn't understand why they weren't the go to guy during games.

How about sitting down with him AFTER practice some day and discussing your thoughts and the problems you are seeing? Maybe this coach sees something in your daughter and wants to push her to the next level (GREAT free throw shooting by the way) The other numbers are pretty good also... IS your daughter uncomfortable playing at this level... 12 year old vs high school players? I would also give him a little more time..... hard to judge someone from a couple of practices. This is summer and while she wants to learn about the game, its supposed to be fun too.

What are your thoughts now? Hopefully a couple of the other coaches here will chime in on this thread, either way, keep us informed as to how things are going.

PostPosted: 07 Jul 2011, 11:50 

Posts: 21
Thanks for the input, Coach Sar. This is a club team, not a camp, so it's kind of an issue as to whether we continue with it or not.

She does not have poor shooting form. She just doesn't shoot with as high a release as this coach would like. I'm going to talk to her shooting coach about it at her lesson tomorrow.

This new club coach is the only coach she's been in front of who has wanted to change her shot. The coach who will be her Varsity coach in HS is happy with her shot. Every camp and clinic coach we've been to has been happy with her shot. This club coach is having everyone do the same shooting drills, so it's not that she's being singled out as needing "fixing".

She's very comfortable playing "up". She's much more advanced skills wise than her peers. We've been told she has D1 potential. I'm sure when she gets older and stronger she'll be able to have a higher release. All it's doing now is frustrating her and making her miss her shots.

PostPosted: 07 Jul 2011, 13:42 
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IF your daughter doesn't like this experience... maybe its not right for her?

Does this new coach have any new things that can help your daughter... one thing about coaches... I always told our kids, IF you can learn ONE new thing from every coach you come in contact with... you will be doing well... hopefully MORE from some.

Here is my take on where the realease should be coming from.... going into the lift and releasing something like this .......... elbow to eye/ear area... give our take a bit... it has to be comfortable for the shooter and of course effective. Where is her elbow on release?

PostPosted: 07 Jul 2011, 16:26 

Posts: 21
Her release is a bit lower--her elbow is slightly below her ear.

The release you describe is closer to what the club coach wants, and is not comfortable for her. Again, he's not singling her out--he is having everyone do these drills. During practice I watched a girl who will be a senior and who is a great shooter struggle with the drills and have her shot get thrown off as well.

She has learned some new offensive plays from this coach. I agree that one can learn something new from every coach, and that's one of the great things about working with different people.

PostPosted: 07 Jul 2011, 18:05 
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After reading some of the responses on this thread it sounds like she might want to raise her release point. When I work with players I often tell them that they have to get worse before they can get better. If she raises her release point, she will certainly get worse for a while. But in the long run she will most likely be better off. Breaking shooting habits are tough and that's a whole other subject in itself.

DID YOU KNOW a shot with 35 degree arc only has .6 inches of margin for the ball to clear
without hitting the rim? BUT a shot with a 45 degree medium height arc has a 3 inch margin of error!

This is why arc is important and quite often young players (like your 12 year old daughter) have flat shots. They tend to push the ball because of their lack of strength. I'm currently running a 4 week long shooting clinic now, we video tape players and watch their shot in slow motion. A large number of the players come in with low release points (their elbow finishes around their nose). Not only is that easy to block but cause them to have low arc.

Those are just some thoughts to consider. Remember she is just 12 and she just needs to be a kid and have fun too. And until post puberty, some of this is irrelevant. Things change so much after puberty that the shot might need to be reworked then anyway.

I have also seen many coaches stress the use of legs (overload players in practice) because very few players use their legs enough in games. Your legs allow you to develop range.

Dirk Nowitzki shoots 100 shots before every game by picking the ball up off the floor. Reason he does it is it over emphasizes the use of his legs and gets him thinking about the importance of using them. During a game clearly he does not place the ball on the floor, bend deep and come up for a shot.

I can completely understand why a coach might want to focus on finishing with a high release and using the legs. For 90% of the players out there that is something they need to improve. Again, just some thoughts and without seeing your daughter shoot it's tough to give a specific opinion.

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 07 Jul 2011, 19:34 

Posts: 21
Thanks for the input, Jeff.

I can see where a higher release and more knee bend can help a shooter. But I feel like this coach is coming in and making universal adjustments willy-nilly. He also wanted to change where she focuses her eyes while doing free throws, and she went from making all of her free throws during that practice to missing seven in a row. I'm not for change for the sake of change if something is working fine.

I also agree that she'll probably need to adjust her shot once she hits puberty. I think with the added strength that will develop, she'll be able to raise the release naturally. Right now it's forced and not working for her. I don't think this coach is used to working with girls her age.

PostPosted: 08 Jul 2011, 06:08 
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I was thinking about this string this morning.... Jeff has given you some sound advice, remember, shooting ( like a lot of other things in sports ) is all about muscle memory .... and what your daughter is doing right now is reinforcing something that she will probably have to change down the road IF she is going to be a good shooter... it is a lot easier to change her shot now than it will be later after several years of shooting the way she is now.
One of the things that could be causing this is her shooting three point shots, she needs to shoot the way she is now to get the ball to the rim.
I'm not so sure I understand why the coach wants to change what she is looking at when she is shooting, especially free throws..... and you say she shoots 90%?
I wouldn't care if she had her eyes closed IF she could shoot that way. What is your daughters target now and what does the coach want her to look at?
( Here is a fun thing you can try with your daughter.... you can do it too ... try shooting them with your eyes close - this will reinforce muscle memory. Take a few practice shots with your eyes open and then start shooting with your eyes closed)

Here is another thought - you can have your daughter work on raising her release point by standing next to a wall.... one dribble, bring the ball up with the shooting hand... and go into the shot with the new release point - shooting the ball up against the way. Do not use the guide hand at all.

Like Jeff said, this is all about a goal of making her a better player... she will have to try some new things IF she is going to make it to the next level.

PostPosted: 08 Jul 2011, 08:56 

Posts: 21
RE: free throws. She looks at a spot on the floor, then looks up to the rim and shoots. It's just part of her rhythm and timing. The coach wants her looking at the rim from the get-go and it throws her off. I can't understand the rationale for the change since she is very accurate on free throws and has a set routine.

She has a shooting lesson with her trainer today. I'm going to discuss the release point with him, since it has never been an issue up until this coach.

I agree that one has to push oneself to improve. I just want to make sure she's making the right adjustments at the right points in her development. The bigger issue in all of this is that she doesn't like the coach's coaching style in general and there have been other things he's wanted to randomly change (like where she starts under the basket to do reverse layup drills) that don't seem to serve a purpose other than that's how he prefers to do things. Conversely, she loves the coach who will be her HS coach, and would probably change her technique to shooting baskets while standing on her head if he asked her to.

PostPosted: 08 Jul 2011, 13:04 
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Re; free throws -

IF that makes her successful, who cares... I had a lot of kids do strange things... one of my better free throw shooters caught the ball from the ref, took one dribble and shot it.... someone questioned me about it... and the fact that towards the end of games we didn't have any rebounders in their lanes..... he asked me why ... I told him that he shoots 90% in the fourth quarter, we don't need anyone in there... set up our defense and we weren't getting beat for easy baskets and didn't foul.

Good idea to talk to her trainer... he seems to have helped her so far.... but keep an open mind regarding the release point.. and habits (muscle memory) you can ask him about that.

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