Over the last decade, players, coaches, and NBA front offices have realized a simple yet profound fact: three points are worth more than two. And with that realization, the entire landscape of basketball began to change.
Of all shots taken in the 2018-19 season, 33.6% of them were from the three-point line, compared to less than 5% when the rule was introduced in 1979.
Now, what does this have to do with you? More than you might think.
Trends that develop at the highest levels of play tend to trickle down to lower levels of play. As I’ve traveled the country interacting with coaches, many say similar things, “we need better three-point shooters in our program.” They’re hard to find: rare, scarce, few.
Recently, a college coach told me, “I will always have room on my team for an athlete who can shoot with great distance and accuracy.” I asked him why? He said, “Three-pointers are worth more than two. I like those odds. Also, having great shooters on the team creates better spacing, which allows for more drives to the rim to take place.”
I couldn’t agree more. Damian Lillard and Steph Curry are two of the best examples of guys who have, over time, tightened the mechanics on their shots resulting in the ability to shoot an easy ball with accuracy.
Lillard and Curry have been great shooters for a long time, but one astounding thing about them is the distance with which they shoot. The reason? A deeper uncontested three is a better shot for them than a three with a defender crowding their space.
Let’s look at Lillard for a moment. Across the entire NBA last season (2018-2019), players shot, on average, 25.9% from 30-40 feet. Damian Lillard shot 39.2% from this distance, most notably, hitting the 37 foot series-clinching shot over Paul George to thrust the Portland Trailblazers forward in the NBA playoffs. That is an immense difference.
But here’s the question. How are they able to make so many shots from so far out, and how can you begin to do the same?
The answer: efficient power generation, intentional focus on the finish, and thousands of repetitions.
Efficient Power Generation
Body rotation like tennis, golf, baseball, and boxing, athletes utilize core strength through body rotation to generate power. Basketball is the same. The farther you are away from the basket, the more body rotation you may need to use.
Dip the ball
Dip the ball whether you shoot off the catch or dribble, a dip of the basketball allows for more upward force to be generated when shooting. Many young players start the ball high near their faces, which reduces their ability to generate power efficiently, forcing them to find power elsewhere when shooting from distance, ultimately compromising form.
Focus on Finish
Extend your shoulder, elbow, and wrist simultaneously for maximum & efficient power.
Snap and wiggle
Remove any stiffness from your wrist. Stiffness reduces power. Snap your wrist and allow the wiggle to ensure strong force on the shot.
Trigger (pointer finger) down
Starting with your trigger finger in the center of the basketball and finishing down will significantly help you shoot the ball straight for increased accuracy.
Becoming a great shooter requires daily work. I’d feel uncomfortable with a surgeon, who’s never practiced their procedure, performing on me. The procedure would be sloppy and ineffective. Avoid a sloppy and ineffective shot by putting in the time to get quality repetitions, day after day.
There’s a reason great three-point shooters make a lot of money. It’s one of the hardest things in basketball to master and widely considered the most valuable. The greats have become experts with their shot accuracy and ability to generate power efficiently so they can extend their range, make more shots, and spread the floor for their teammates to create more open driving lanes.
The fastest way to level up your game is to become a great shooter. And the quickest way to become a great shooter and extend your range is to consistently practice your ability to generate power from distance while maintaining accuracy.
Once you’ve become a better shooter, you’ll not only become a more confident player, your coach will trust you more. More trust equals more opportunities in games to take shots, score points, and help your team win. After all, three points is worth more than two. Don’t wait, now’s the time to extend your range!
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PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.