Basketball: Help me sink 3s
July 23, 2017 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Looking for ideas to strengthen and sharpen my long-range shooting skills. A little snowflaky.

At 65, I can’t compete with the youth on speed or agility. But I believe I could outshoot a good many of them – with some work.

• 20 lbs overweight
• Not much exercise over last 2-3 years
• Arm & wrist healthy, but weak – never got full strength after T elbow.
• Today my 20-foot shot falls short.
• I’m 20 minutes away from a good uncrowded LA Fitness court.
• I have a decent driveway hoop.
• I played years before the 3-point shot, but hit many a 20-footer
• I’ve started a routine of resistance and aerobic.

Help me become an outside threat again.
posted by LonnieK to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I coached a lot of youth basketball and some AAU basketball. I volunteer with my district's high school team. My expertise is defense and big man positioning and moves, but about shooting, I think I can give you some general advice.

The two most important things for shooting are a consistent motion and your legs. I think it is easier to teach someone who has good form (elbow in under the ball, guide hand in position, etc) if you look at Lonzo Ball for example, his form is with respect to the positioning of his arms and his release point is not so good, he has consistency.) If you were once consistent with range, you can did it again.

If you are worried about the 20 lbs, I can then assume you are talking about your shooting in game situations, not playing h.o.r.s.e. So, if you were my student, I would start with determining what your current range is. Then, I would evaluate your form and your arm and leg strength. Your core too. If you are not bending your knees, small coiling and jumping with your shot, you need to learn to do that. At the top of your jump, you need to be at the final point in your arm movement, the flick of the wrist and the follow through.

I obviously cannot see your form or ability, so my general advice would be to do leg strengthening/jumping exercises, work on your core which holds together your legs and arm movement, strengthen your arms including your shoulders and particularly your forearm/wrists.

At the same time, you should work on your form. Are you squared away to the basket? Is your shooting arm foot slightly ahead of you oppo foot? Are you following through or pulling back your hand/arm?

Start in closer and get consistent from a shorter range then move out a few feet and get consistent from that level and move out again. Keep doing that until you reach the level you want of can.

Now, assuming this is game shooting, you need to get open and work on your catching the ball in ready position or quickly moving to it. You would need to do drills catching and shooting, dribbling and shooting and standing still and shooting.

My opinion is that if you hired a shooting coach and there are a lot of them out there, you could get consistent 3 point range. You have to bc at 65, slashing a driving is going to be even harder.

If you can find a partner to work on the on court stuff, someone to rebound for you, to pass you the ball, to identify when you are not squared up or not following through, it will be a lot easier.

If you just want internet general advice, strengthen your legs and forearm, start with getting consistency closer in and work your way out.
posted by AugustWest at 8:25 AM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Practice shooting underhand too. This article and others like it focus on free throw accuracy, but I used to be able to nail shots from half court pretty well and I did it underhand. You don't always have the time in a game to set up underhand shots, obviously, but you can practice doing them from specific places and wait for those opportunities to arrive.
posted by carmicha at 11:59 AM on July 23, 2017

Are you actually strong enough to shoot 3s using standard form? Players with less strength (like kids) have to use different mechanics to get more power from their arm (they start their shot lower and release earlier so they get all that arm power behind their shot).
posted by The arrows are too fast at 1:24 PM on July 23, 2017

As a lifelong baller who still plays regularly at age 60, I would say that it's all in your legs. Anytime I feel my three-point shot is short, I try to get more bend in my squat before I lift up to shoot the ball. And, of course, anything you can do to strengthen your legs – squats, lunges – will help that process along. I also find that one the best ways to get more distance on your shot is to think "Shoot up, not out." That is, add more arc instead of flattening your shot to make it to the rim. You'll be surprised how much distance that adds while giving you the optimal entry angle to the rim. And lastly, work on how you move yourself in position to take the shot. Guys our age have lost some lift and are more susceptible to blockage. So don't just stand out there waving your arms waiting for a pass. Learn how to move without the ball and slide out there just before you're ready to shoot. Hope any of that helps.
posted by lpsguy at 1:35 PM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Other people have covered the majority of things involved: good form and leg strength. I just want to add a couple of things.

Re leg strength: if your knees can handle it, plyometrics are the way to go. Box jumps (jumping onto an elevated box) and depth jumps (jumping off an elevated box and then, immediately recoiling up into another elevated box) will do wonders for your leg muscles (and hips). I'm in my late 30s, 20 pounds overweight, and otherwise not very athletic, and until recently I could jump onto a washing machine.

Re: form: set up your phone to record video of you shooting in your driveway. That will allow you to analyze your own form instead of having someone else coach you.

Shooting is largely about repetition, so just keep practicing and you'll get there.

One other thing to consider: don't sell yourself short on the other aspects of the game. If you work on your leg strength for shooting, you'll also be able to jump for rebounds. Rebounding, especially at the recreational level, is largely about using your weight against your opponent, so being overweight might actually be helpful there if your opponents can't handle it (think Charles Barkley). Passing is another skill that requires more technique than athleticism. You can practice against a brick wall. (And teammates will love it if you can set them up.)

Shooting threes, dropping dimes, and grabbing boards should make you a pretty good all-around baller. Good luck!
posted by kevinbelt at 7:26 AM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Relationship burnout - how to handle it?   |   Two antique IDs from El Rastro market in Madrid? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.