Nick Nurse Shooting Tips and My Personal Camp Story With Him

In this story, you're going to learn some very valuable shooting tips. In fact, I still use them today! I learned these shooting tips while working a camp with Nick Nurse back in 2006 or 2007.

If you haven't noticed, Nick Nurse is the head coach of the Toronto Raptors and just won the 2019 NBA championship!

And after you hear this entire story, you might question my intelligence! I know that I do.

Here is what we cover:

  • How to extend your shooting range to half court
  • Youth shooting tip to improve your shooting form and your shooting range
  • Most underrated and overlooked shooting drills to improve your shooting rhythm, coordination, and fluidity of your shooting motion
  • How we declined working with an NBA champion coach! Or maybe two...

Back in 2006 or 2007, Nick Nurse used to travel Iowa conducting shooting camps. This was at the same time he took the head coaching job with the Iowa Energy which was an NBA D-League team.

And the Anamosa High School booster club brought him to conduct a camp. That's where I graduated from high school. At the time, I was also currently coaching freshman/sophomore basketball teams. So I worked the camp.

Coach Nurse didn't mess around at the camp. And I loved it. In fact, in the first few minutes of the camp, some parents were being loud while he was trying to talk to the kids. He just stopped and looked at the parents for about one minute. They got the message. And Coach Nurse wasn't being a jerk. I'm sure they are good people, but the parents were being slightly disruptive.

I also really like the fact that Coach Nurse sat down and ate lunch with us other camp coaches. He stuck himself right in the middle and talked with us. One of my strengths and weaknesses is that I can be direct. I don't like small talk. I like to joke around and have a good time. Or I like to get down to business.

So I asked Coach Nurse point blank, "Are you going to make your Iowa Energy players change their shooting form to match what you teach at this camp?"

You could tell he was a little taken back. I don't think he expected the question.

He just said, "Yes. But it depends." Smart answer.

Anyways, now let's get to the good stuff with the valuable shooting tips and the part of the story where you're going to question whether I should have reproduced children. We're praying they got momma's smarts.

Nick Nurse's Tip for Extending Shooting Range To Half Court - The Youth Tip to Improve Shooting Form

Coach Nick Nurse walked up, described this shooting tip, immediately walked to half court, and dropped the first shot he took. My jaw dropped slightly.

Before describing the tip, let's preface it...

At that point in 2006 or 2007, I had always been taught this in regards to your shooting motion.

Prior to your release, you want to get the ball into a position above your head.

You make an L with your shooting arm.

Then from there you follow through to the basket.

You can see the picture provided as a reference. Note, I have changed this approach since then.

Well, Nick Nurse countered this traditional wisdom.

He said if you watched Steve Nash, he did this from 3-point range. Considering Nash is in the top 10 all-time for 3-point shooting percentage, he's probably a good person to reference.

It was actually simple, you just dropped your elbow. So instead of trying to get the ball above your head, the ball started in front of your shoulder and you just pushed the ball in one smooth motion through your release.

Today, this is more commonly taught, but coming out of the Michael Jordan / Kobe Bryant era back in 2006 or 2007, this wasn't taught as much.

Coach Nurse also said it was a great way for younger players to shoot who hadn't developed the strength and coordination yet. It helps them shoot generate more power while maintaining good shooting mechanics.

Personally, I still use this approach.

By the way, if you want to know one of the quickest ways to get kids to buy in to what you're teaching. Drop a shot in from half court on the first try!

Most Underrated and Overlooked Shooting Drill - How To Improve Your Shooting Fluidity, Rhythm, and Coordination Between Your Upper Body and Legs

Here is another drill I got from Nick Nurse. As a young coach, I was a little surprised to see it used as a shooting drill. However, knowing what I know now, I think it's one of the most underrated and overlooked shooting drills.

It's a simple drill where you quick stop, get in an athletic stance, and put the ball in triple threat or what we call the set position.

You start on the baseline. You run out a few steps and do a quick stop. And you try to land both feet at the same time. At the same time, you put the ball in your triple threat position. At our shooting camps, we call this the set position.

You could do this in three different ways.

1 - You jog while holding the ball and come to a quick stop.

2 - You spin the ball out, run to the ball, grab it, and come to a quick stop.

3 - You dribble the ball and come to a quick stop.

Each time, you get the ball into the set position as quickly as possible.

Now, Coach Nurse said he used this to master your footwork. You did this to develop consistency in your shooting stance and improve your balance.

Here's another overlooked benefit of the drill. In fact, I've never heard talk about this or reference this before.

The Additional Benefit That I've Never Heard Anybody Reference Before!

When it comes to the shooting motion, whether you dip the ball or not after the catch, all of the great shooters bring the ball up to their shoulder or head area. However, prior to bringing the ball up, their legs don't extend upwards. Only when the ball reaches the shoulder or head area, do their legs start to extend and they jump.

Look at the second and third pictures from the left of Stephen Curry. See how he doesn't start to extend his legs until the ball reaches his shoulder area. Some players won't extend upwards until it reaches the head area.

So by practicing moving the ball up into the set position while maintaining an athletic stance, teaches players the coordination and timing required to be a great shooter.

You don't want to extend your legs too early or too late. And this teaches you the first step of doing so!

So don't overlook this basic drill. It helps engrain the proper coordination, rhythm, and fluidity to become a great shooter!

Also, here is a drill that you can reference. It would be similar to this. The dribbling progression starts at about 2:10. The first progression, they just work on the quick stop without the ball.

How We Declined Working With an NBA Champion Coach! Or Maybe Two...

After the camp, Coach Nick Nurse and I spent about 30 minutes to an hour chatting about different things. I told him about Breakthrough Basketball and how we were really gaining a lot of traction through our newsletter. We were also starting to get a lot of natural traffic coming to our website.

A few weeks later, we exchanged some more emails. He even ended up sending me some of his shooting DVDs that he had developed.

Long story short... it didn't make sense for us to sell his DVDs. So we declined. At that point, I had moved to Kansas City and the communication pretty much ended between us.

Had I had an ounce of intelligence or maybe just business or life experience, we should've offered the idea of filming some videos with him on numerous coaching topics! He already had a ton of experience coaching professionally overseas and was a head coach for an NBA affiliate.

And now he's an NBA champion coach! And you know what's even funnier, he's the second NBA champion coach we've declined to work with... another story for another time. :)

Seriously, if you're questioning my intelligence, I don't blame you. I do too... all of the time.

Well, I hope you learned some valuable shooting tips, or at the very least, you had a good laugh.

Let me know if you have any advice to share and if you liked the story!

Related Shooting Resources and Solutions

Breakthrough Basketball Shooting Camps

Shooting Drills for Coaches

Shooting & Training Drills for Players


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Rick Penny says:
6/24/2019 at 3:42:27 PM

Nick Nurse is wise as well as you Joe!

That adjustment makes a tremendous amount of difference.


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