Feb 6, 2022

Happy Fire Friday 🔥

(to everyone except those who tell shooters to "keep their elbow in".)

My dad taught me how to shoot when I was growing up, and frankly, I think he did a fantastic job.

He taught me things like:

"Square up."

"Stagger your feet."

"Keep the ball above your chest at all times."

....and of course,

"Keep your elbow in."

Fast forward to today: I now teach against all of these traditional staples of shooting. But today, we'll just talk about one.

Because he was an excellent teacher and I was a gym rat, I had everything mostly put together. That, mixed with the countless hours and reps it took to help me shoot with confidence, I managed to shoot at a respectable 38% 3pt FG for my college career. 

If I knew then what I know now, I 1000% believe that percentage would have been closer to the low-to-mid 40s.

Can't prove that, but I do believe that.

So, I needed to dig through the archives to find this one... but check out baby BriAnna's shot below.

A shot and a sashay. 😂
(My college teammates called me Cheesy Breezy for obvious reasons.)

As you can see, I've always had a fairly smooth and simple shot.

But there was one thing that I always struggled with:

and that was consistency

I always knew when something didn't *feel* right in my shot, but I never knew what exactly that was... so I tried correcting myself with the only thing I really knew:

I tried to keep my elbow in.

But here's something I never knew about myself until I watched the clip above on a loop---I always *started* with my elbow in... but through my lift process, it naturally wiggled out from underneath the ball. WHO KNEW???

So that whole time. My whole career... I was trying to remove something about my movement that came naturally and replace it with something that did not.


Because, for me and for most people, keeping your elbow underneath the ball was the one tip that our coaches, parents, and trainers typically gave us when our shots weren't going in.

And I say this with the utmost respect to the teachers of our past...

but they were wrong.

As it turns out, we now know that keeping our elbow perfectly underneath the ball fights against our natural kinesthetic movement.

Let me explain.

Wherever you're sitting reading this, I want you to take your dominant hand and act like you're holding a basketball in the platter position, like this:

(You can leave your other hand down.) 

Now, I want you to tuck your elbow so that you get it as perfectly underneath the center of your ball in front of your body.

No, I mean really get that elbow in!

Do you feel that tension in your shoulder and back?

That's your body asking you to listen, Linda.

We want our bodies to feel good when we shoot. We want it to feel easy.

And as it turns out, tucking that elbow actually makes for a shot that is much more complicated, and there for much harder to repeat.

We want our shot to feel like we have absolute freedom of movement.

The easier our shot feels, the easier it is to do it over again the same way. 

While it is vital that we make sure our hand (and pointer finger) is centered underneath the ball, let's look at some shooters who manage to achieve that... without the need to "keep their elbow in".

Do you see any elbows in?

Now, this is not to say that shooters can't be successful with the elbow-in approach. There are no absolutes when it comes to shooting.

However, I wanted to show you a clip of one of the many problems the constant effort to keep one's elbow in can cause.

This is one of the shooters who is currently enrolled in my Virtual Shot Training Program. There's a lot going on here that we could cover... but specifically what I want you to see is her tendency to dip her right shoulder down to position her body (and elbow) underneath the ball.

If left uncorrected, this type of movement is likely going to be a hindrance to her power generation, as well as a contributing factor to some inconsistency. 

Our main focus during this time is to get away from that old and vigorously driven-in idea that the only way to shoot is "elbow-in".

I wish you can see the faces of the shooters that I work with when I tell them:

"Actually... let's try to relax our shoulders and even shoot with your elbow *out*, if that feels more comfortable. And we'll see what that does for us."

(It tends to work.)

Evolve in teaching. Seek freedom of movement. Get buckets.

I'll see you next Friday. 🔥

 Shooters Shoot.