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1. Welcome from the Coach
First let me say that I appreciate your interest to subscribe to my monthly writings on shooting. There are now over 2,500 of you who've chosen to receive the Newsletters. Thank you!!! In this issue I'm asking for some feedback so I can know better who you are and what you need to help you learn and coach shooting more effectively.
TRIP TO TEXAS
WHAT I ENVISION IN MY DEVELOPMENT OF THE
The goal is, of course, more players, parents and coaches everywhere having success with shooting and more fun with the game of basketball. The game will be dramatically more fun to play and coach and watch when shooting reaches a high level of development at all levels.
INCREASED PRIORITY ON TRAINING COACHES
NEED YOUR INPUT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SURVEY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Please copy and paste the following into a memo (with your added responses) and mail or forward it to: "Survey@swish22.com"
I. WHO ARE YOU?
· Where do you live?
· Are you a player, middle school,
high school., college, professional, recreational?
· Are you a coach?
· If yes, what level, and girls
· Are you an interested parent?
II. WHAT DO YOU NEED?
· What instruction and coaching
ideas do you see you need?
· If a coach, how do you see the
Swish Method helping you with your coaching and your teams?
· If a coach, would you be interested
in a "Certification" Training program?
· Would you be willing to travel
to California for Certification training?
· If not, what would be a desired
III. HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE SWISH VIDEO AND METHOD?
FOR PLAYERS -- HOW TO DO IT!
· Rate from 1-10 the effectiveness
of the Swish video in helping you ...
· How often have you practiced the
method shown in the video?
FOR COACHES -- HOW TO COACH IT!
· How effective has the video been
in developing your coaching skills around shooting?
· How much time do you devote to
either learning or coaching the Swish Method?
· What add'l topics or techniques
do you see need to be addressed in the next Swish video?
· How would you compare Swish to
other methods of coaching shooting you have used?
· What kinds of documented improvements
have you and/or your teams experienced with the Method?
Thank you for your responses! This input is invaluable in helping me to define and develop the tools needed to take shooting to the next level.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ END OF SURVEY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A DIRECTORY OF COACHES
SIGN UP ON MY "COACHES' MAILING LIST"
FEEL FREE TO COACH WITH THIS METHOD!
WORK WITH THE SWISH VIDEO
IT'S ABOUT THE FLIGHT OF THE BALL
However, in my coaching I've come to see that the more you know about the motion you wish to change, the easier it is to let go of it. It's like golfers being unable to change something about their swing that they can't feel. When they can feel it, then the body can "choose" a different motion. And the clearer the experience of the unwanted motion, the clearer the choice.
One way to look at this is the idea of "Extremes and Opposites." Let's say a right-handed player currently squares up to the basket and shoots off her or his right shoulder. The desired new motion is an open stance and a Set Point in line with the shooting eye. I'll take the role of a coach here in my description.
After you have helped the player see and feel that s/he has a square stance and has a Set Point that is centered over the right shoulder, then you introduce the idea of opening the stance (say 45 degrees) and having the Set Point in line with the eye. As the player gets the idea and can do it, now you have a learning situation: how to practice and reinforce a new behavior and (gradually) let go of the old.
JUMP BACK AND FORTH
Now add the idea of stretching the experience through extremes and opposites. Ask the player to experiment with different stances, for example one that is just a little open, then a lot, then way way open (up to 180 degrees). The latter will feel funny and be physically impractical, but do it for the sake of feeling and awareness. Even have a closed stance, that is rotating clockwise instead of counter clockwise, and shoot to feel what that's like. Then return to the suggested 45 degrees (approx.).
You might even ask the player to shoot with the opposite hand, turning the body the other way, left hand in line with the left eye, etc. to experience the opposite way of shooting. Again, the more the student "knows" what's going on, the stronger and deeper and quicker the choices it will make. It's in the "unknowing," in the blind spots, that we get stuck.
From stretching the experience like that, the player gets greater awareness, which never hurts for learning. For the Set Point, ask her or him to shoot over the shoulder, then over the ear, out beyond the shoulder, over the left eye, over the left ear (hard to do), etc. These exaggerated positions serve to clarify feel and expand the possibilities. The goal you are presenting -- an open stance with a Set Point in line with the eye -- will be felt and seen as the most effective or else you'll need to change the lesson. (If what you're teaching isn't physically comfortable and the most effective of the options, then something's wrong with the goals of the lesson.)
THE BODY IS SMART
PACERS VS. CELTICS
The free throws were comparable, but with three's the Pacers made only 9 of 31, the same 29%, and the Celtics made 12 of 25, 48%. No wonder Boston won by 20 points! They got up by 18 in the first quarter and cruised home with that same approximate margin throughout the game. You can say the defenses are very tight and the ref's allow the defense to get away with murder, but this difference in shooting was remarkable.
TRAIL BLAZERS VS. MAVERICKS
Here are some more recent testimonials I've gotten for the Swish video and my website articles and newsletters. They reveal a pattern of people understanding better how to shoot, how to approach practice, and how to coach the skill.
A NOTE ABOUT TESTIMONIALS
The testimonials you can read here and in last month's newsletter and on my website (http://www.swish22.com/testimonials.html) occur because something in the Swish video (or even in my articles) touches people's learning mechanisms. They see something simple and do-able. It gives them key "distinctions" that they are then able to put into use by themselves. I feel one of my major contributions to basketball is that I've "simplified" the process of learning and coaching shooting. We all need that. More often systems complicate things rather than simplify them.
Anytime we offer a "formula" for learning (do this, then do that, etc.), we are likely to add complexity and rules about how things "should" be. Our minds love to be told how to do things but our amazing bodies don't learn that way. We learn by awareness, by feel, by experimenting, and by comparing and contrasting experience. My Swish Method is about that stuff, about general things like minimizing variables, use of larger, more stable muscles, where accuracy comes from, how to get consistency and repeatability. As I often say, it's about how to control the "Flight of the ball." When you understand and can physically experience those things, learning soars and powerful results occur. That is what these people are talking about. Please share your experiences with me and my readers.
-- Mo game
"I believe one of the most important points was he was listening to us and NOT feeling for himself what was right and wrong. I love your point of getting the player to feel what is right/wrong [Correction by Editor: I would say "... feel what works and doesn't work!" rather than making it a judgment, right or wrong!]. After a month of having your video my son and I were on the driveway practicing and he made 24 out of 25 free throws. Thank you."
It was interesting watching a girl named Whitney in Wheaton, MD, going from a two-handed motion to a one-handed motion in one 4-hour clinic. When it was over, she stayed for almost an hour (with her mother rebounding), shooting -- and making -- shot after shot with her new stroke. She was thrilled to be so effective. Now she KNEW what it was she had been missing all this time. [Well, not that long, since she was only 12.]
-- J. Eannarelli
"I had a great shooting day playing ball and look forward to improving my shooting teaching skill with my current crop of players. Thank you."
-- J. Pearce
-- M. Biskup
"There are several passages that really hit home. So much so, that I printed one out ("Great Shooters Don't Get Into that Funk") and gave it to my son before his game tonight. He has been shooting well all season, but just not shooting enough. But, tonight he started looking to take more shots. Although he was only 3 for 8 on 3-pointers, every one of them was right on target (a couple just short and couple just long) and looked liked they were going in. The effect was instant recognition by the opposing coach resulting in opening up his teammates. As I watched the game I started to notice he was clearly the best shooter in the gym. I know I'm probably biased, but you just have to watch the wrist and the hand.
"This summer his school got a new coach. After watching several summer league games with his new players, the coach commented to me that there was only one player whose shot looked like it was going to go in every time -- my son's."
-- J. Quirk, Dallas
"Tom, Some of the girls have really taken to it. When we do our warm up shooting drills at the beginning of practice we all say "yes" or "no" on the release and I have the girls (and their partners) rate their arc on a scale of 1-10. I've found that this really helps them evaluate and remain aware. [Editor's note: By "Yes" and "No," the kids are reporting if their Release action was with a relaxed wrist and hand, simple, to the end-of-the-arm, at the same speed and force every time, one of what I call the "secrets" of great shooting.]
"I was working with the JV team on foul shooting the other day. Two of the girls were jumping while shooting free throws. I reminded them about consistency and adding variables to the shot that they didn't need. It took them a couple minutes of shooting to adjust for the UpForce they had lost by not jumping anymore, but when they figured it out their shots were more consistent and had better touch (plus they weren't crossing the foul line for a violation every couple of shots).
"Another girl on that same day had her Set Point way too high. This has been a problem for her and it led to her generating power from her shoulder and not the UpForce. Her shot had always looked mechanical, with no flow between the lower body and the upper body. I suggested she move her set point down - off her cheek, that's all. She immediately hit her next 24 of 25 foul shots, including the first 16 in a row. The change in Set Point resulted in a much smoother, relaxed shot. The mechanical look of it was gone because she was able to connect her UpForce to her stroke.
"The clinic has given all of us a
common reference point to work from. It has been very helpful
in making change. Because of the common reference point and
terminology, my coaching is more efficient. I don't have to
spend as much time with one player during our limited time.
I can get to everyone. The most common things I say are:
"These are "reminders" that allow them to self coach."
P. Jones, Santa Cruz, CA
"Tom, I just got back from an hour and fifteen minutes of shooting and I have improved my shooting success by as much as 50% minimum. I watched your video 2-3 times, followed along in the workbook and went out today to apply what you taught. It's amazing how easy the shot feels when you follow the swish principles.
"Shooting is much easier almost effortless when using the UpForce. When I push my arm up and let my hand flop, it's amazing how few shots I missed.
"I feel now that as I continue to practice, I can fine tune my shooting. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to use my guide hand. I need to find something I'm comfortable with that can be automatic. I'll keep you updated on my progress."
-- T. Jarema, Illinois
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR LEARNING
I was in Calgary, Alberta, Canada recently to give a couple of two-day camps and experienced some differences in learning I want to share with you. The morning camp was mostly girls with just a couple boys, and the afternoon camp was mostly boys. The ages were roughly 12-16, 7th to 11th grade.
What I saw was that the learning of the girls was remarkably higher than the boys. All of the girls "got" what I was teaching and coaching but only some of the boys got it. Maybe the percentage was 95% for the girls to 25-30% for the boys, just a guess. I want to comment on that and make some suggestions, mostly for the boys, in how they could be better learners.
What I saw was that the girls were much more focused on doing the exercises. They listened intently to what I said and they did what was asked of them. The boys would listen and do what I said when they were with me, but when I left, oftentimes they would quickly return to what they were doing before. Some were attentive and focused, and they learned like the girls. I gave each player personal attention more than once and I could see that they all could do what I asked. It was in the personal, "self coaching" time with themselves and with a partner that the boys reverted to old habits.
TOO MUCH INTO "PERFORMANCE"
I know what this drive is because I can see myself perform this way as I learn golf. It is very easy to switch from learning to performing in that game, especially with the big club, the driver, in my hands. I can't say how strong the urge is in girls and women, but I know as a male that performance and looking good are very powerful in me. I can also be committed to learning, and I've done that a lot, but the urge to hit a long, powerful drive is always there.
WHAT ARE YOU COMMITTED TO?
Commitment is something I feel we have control over. We don't have much control over our emotions; we can get angry very quickly over some things. We don't have control over our physical bodies; we can feel more or less energy and aches and pains from day to day, hour to hour. Our thoughts are not always under our control. An old "tape" can be run any time, an old thought can reappear to throw us off. And we can't usually control our drive to look good, to avoid looking bad.
But I feel we CAN change our commitments. We can decide to be committed to learning, if we choose. For example, we can approach a situation cautiously, if the situation demands it. In that case, we're committed to caution (say it's a dangerous cross-section as we drive a car, or a dangerous walking trail along a steep cliff). In basketball, we can be committed to just observing the ball approach the basket without all the judgment if it goes in or not.
The trick is to catch yourself getting lost in old programming (making the basket to look good, trying not to fail, etc.) and change the game, change the commitment. If you're going to a court to learn something, you can commit to the learning exercises and reduce your need to look good. As you shoot, commit to just observing the ball and where it lands. That will teach you a lot about how your are shooting. Maybe rate your "Commitment" on a 1-10 scale, where "10" means you're totally committed to pure observation without judgment and "1" means you got lost in performance. You're going to constantly screw it up and get lost into something other than awareness, but with practice the commitment will strengthen, and then you will really start to learn things.
SELLING OUT FOR PERFORMANCE
The point is to observe what's happening. When you see the games you're playing, then you have a chance to change them to games that will serve you, games that will enhance your learning. Then you have a better chance to grow and develop so the next time you play, you're more accomplished. The boys in Calgary had that chance, but most of them chose to work on looking good rather than on their learning.
In a game, the focus needs to be on performance, of course, so go for that, strive to be the best you can be. There it matters whether the ball goes in or not. But in practice, it's learning that needs to be at the forefront in order for the practice to be worth something and for you to develop. Learning requires trying different things and you'll be missing a lot of shots as you do that. (This is why too many games, like AAU games all summer long, can hurt a player's development. If you're always playing games you get caught up in the "performance" thing all the time and little growth happens. There's no room for experimentation. It would be a lot more effective to have a balance between practice and competition.)
Let me know if this makes any sense to
you. If you have a powerful experience of what I'm saying, please
write it up and send it to me and I'll post it on my website.
If you'd like to start on the process of learning how to coach shooting with my Method, please join my Coaches' Mailing List. The list is a quick and easy way for me to communicate to all the coaches at once. As I develop new things and post new articles, coaching ideas, etc., I use this vehicle to let you know. Also, visit and bookmark my "For Coaches" page, as it will have more and more coaching ideas, lesson plans, articles, etc. There's a "Homework" document that can get you started on this path very quickly.
To join the List, go to the Coaches page, scroll down to the "Sign up" section and click "Join List." You'll be prompted as to what to do. Your email address will not be sold or given to anyone else, and you can easily un-subscribe yourself on that same page.
If you're having some wonderful results
either from working with the Swish video or just from reading
my coaching suggestions, lesson plans, etc., please write them
up for me to post on the coaches' page for others to see. We
can all learn from each other's experiences and insights.
I invite you to bookmark my Website so you can go there easily to catch my latest comments on shooting. You can read about my video there (including endorsements, testimonials, reviews and an overview of the video), my coaching, and the many articles on shooting I've written. You can see video clips and archived back issues of this Newsletter and, of course, subscribe, if you're not already getting this on a regular basis.
Please tell others about this newsletter,
my site, and my video. Forward the newsletter to them and suggest
they read it and the many archived issues. Send them the URL
(http://www.swish22.com) and let them know there's a proven method
for powerful shooting.
Some of the clinics that are being planned
in the next three months:
If you'd like to organize some shooting
clinics or camps, please call or email me. I'll be scheduling
Coaches' Trainings at each stop as much as possible, too.
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