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Drain It From Any Range


Some days you can’t miss. Other days, no shot can be close or easy enough. Sure-fire accuracy in hoops comes down to fundamentals and repetition. Fran Fraschilla, ESPN college basketball analyst, offers up three drills to improve your technique and regain entry into the zone.

1. Sink it from short range

All great shooters are one-handed shooters,” Fraschilla says. The off-hand serves as a guide, but when it becomes overly involved, more elements can go wrong. Specifically, the ball can now be missed left or right.

To improve your form, stand straight on to the basket, 7 to 10 feet away, with the ball on the finger tips and pads of your shooting hand. This position will naturally put your elbow under the ball. With your elbow over your shooting toe, the ball invariably will go straight, and with your off-hand eliminated, making shots is all about judging distance. Expect about 200 shots to ingrain the form. “It’s like grooving a putting stroke,” Fraschilla says.

Perfect your shot with this game: Swishes.
How to play: You have to make 10 shots before you miss and earn 10 points. A swish is worth 1 point, a non-swish is zero. A miss wipes out your score. It’s incredibly hard, but focusing on making a swish increases your mental focus, which will help you come up big when the pressure's on. “I call it overload. I make the drill tougher than the game,” Fraschilla says.

2. Hit from mid-range

Your form stays the same as from short range, but you can use your off-hand as a guide. The distance is controlled by your lower body. From the top of the key, flip the ball to the right elbow so it bounces high enough to catch it at chest level. Plant your inside foot and then your outside foot to get into shooting form—feet shoulder-width apart, shooting foot slightly in front of your other foot, and knees bent. Alternate shooting from each side of the key, focusing on three things:

  1. Don't bring the ball down once you catch it – it's unnecessary motion.
  2. As you release and extend your arm, the index and middle fingers should be the last to contact the ball.
  3. Think about putting your hand through the basket. 

Perfect your shot with this game: Beat the Pro.
How to play: Pick your famous opponent and start shooting. The imaginary competition gives you a focus and challenge. A make is +1. A miss is –1. If you reach +10 before –10, you just took down LeBron.

3. Hit from long-range

Your form stays the same when shooting from long range. The thing that powers this shot is lower body strength, and the best thing to do is the trap bar deadlift, says Zac Woodfin, a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance in Los Angeles, Calif.

Here's how to do it: Use the hexagon shaped bar at the gym that you’ve never paid attention to. It has handles and bars on the sides for plates. Load the bar with heavy weight and stand inside the bar with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keeping your chest up, lower back flat, knees over the toes and butt down, grab the bar with both hands. Draw in your abs and drive your heels into the floor, lifting the weight while keeping your chest up and arms extended throughout. Return slowly to the starting position until the weight rests on the floor. Do 3-4 sets of 6-8 repetitions, twice a week.

Perfect your shot with this game: Basketball golf.
How to play: Pick 7 different spots and hit 7 shots from each place in as few attempts as possible. Par is 49. Don’t have any three-pointers in order to avoid heaves, and make one a midrange baseliner, the shot that isn’t taken enough.

About The Author

Steve Calechman – Steve Calechman is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com. He has published articles for Men's Health, Natural Health, The Robb Report and Women's Health magazine.

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Tags: Basketball