Tag Archives: bball

The Evolution of an Outside Shot – Part III

23 September 2015

Well, it’s been over a year since my last post on this subject, and while I’d like to say I’ve made great strides, In reality progress has been somewhat spotty.  From November of last year until about two months ago I had been practicing my shot almost every day, and was seeing slow but steady improvement.  I even got to the point where I was making the occasional 3-point shot ‘in competition’ (at my age, the ‘in competition’ is definitely in quotes!).  However, while my shooting prowess was increasing, so was pain in both my knees, and sometime in July it got to be too much to bear anymore.  When a doctor’s visit and a set of X-rays ruled out skeletal damage as the culprit, I tried some massage therapy to see if that would help; it did, but not significantly enough to get me back on the court.  At the recommendation of the massage therapist,  I started a physical therapy course, and although I haven’t quite finished the PT sessions, my knee pain has gone from ‘cant-stand-it-anymore’ agony to ‘mild-old-age-annoyance’ stiffness.  I’m not sure how much of this is just abstinence from shooting and how much is due to the exercises, but at this point I’m not sure I care! 😉

So, yesterday I went back to some mild practice shooting for the first time in a couple of months.  Instead of just shooting 3’s, I’m limiting my practices to short-range, foul-line, and what I call ‘2-1/2’ range (halfway between the foul line and the 3-point arc).  I was encouraged to find that the break had not erased all my skill gains (such as they were), and I was still able to shoot with a reasonable amount of good form for an ‘almost-septuagenarian’ ;-).  The following short videos show side and front views of my ‘2-1/2’ point range shooting form.   Hopefully I will be able to increase the frequency and duration of my practice sessions without re-injuring my knees.

The Evolution of an Outside Shot

So, in order to not get beat up under the basket, I must have a reliable outside shot.  I never needed an outside shot before, as I was always the guy banging around under the basket.  Now that I’m old and feeble, this is a real good way to get hurt (ask me how I know).  In the good old days, I might get bruised up in a game, but would be ready to do it again the next day.  Now if I get bruised up, it might be several weeks before I can play again!  I can remember remarking to my wife that “I can tell I’m getting old; it used to be that I took a couple of aspirin after a big game for relief from bruises, but now I find myself taking a couple of aspirin before the game”.  And this was when I was on the uphill side of 40! ;-).

OK, so I know I need to develop an outside shot – but how hard can it be?  I have the basket and backboard installed, and I have my double-height basketball escape-prevention mechanism in place.  All I had to do (I thought) was go out and shoot a few baskets and voila!  3-point shot!


Being the scientific type, I started out by measuring my 3-point shooting performance over time using Excel, and was encouraged somewhat to see steady progress in my shooting percentages over time.  However, after doing some inet research I discovered that my shooting percentage from 3-point land was about half what was required for reasonable performance in competition.  About the best I could do was somewhere in the 30’s to 40’s (on a good day).  This sounds pretty good until you discover that most experts agree that one’s percentage in competition is about half the practice percentage, and 30’s to 40’s in competition is considered the minimum requirement for a productive member of a team – oops!!

3-Point shooting percentages taken over a 6-week period

3-Point shooting percentages taken over a 6-week period

After a while, it seemed like I just wasn’t getting any better, no matter how hard I tried or how much I shot (and by this time, I was shooting several hundred shots per day).  Also, I was concentrating entirely on 3-point shooting, and my other shots from shorter ranges (including at the foul line) sucked even worse.  So, I did what I have done every time I have been faced with a hard problem – I tossed out all my assumptions and started researching “the perfect basketball shooting form”.  In the process, I ran across a series of videos created by Arthur Jackson of “One on One Basketball” fame. The videos are at http://www.monkeysee.com and go from the correct shooting stance, proper shooting mechanics and follow-through, and typical mistakes.  The first video in the series is “How to Shoot a Basketball“.

After viewing the videos and comparing them with video from some of my practice sessions, I realized that my shot form was, well, shot.  I was going to have to start all over again and develop a shot from scratch.

The above video was shot in late August 2014 and shows the essentially two-handed shot style I had developed up to this point.  The following video shows the shot style I have developed a couple of months later, based on the Arthur Jackson video series.