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Fix Your Bricks

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Anyone who has watched a decent amount of basketball will tell you that a lot more shots are missed short than missed long and there are many reasons for that. But, what if you are one of those rare basketball players who are consistently long on nearly every shot you shoot? What should you do if every layup, free throw, midrange pull up, 3 pointer and post move are all "bricks" and are constantly clanking off the back of the rim? What do you do?The first step is to understand exactly WHY your shots are always long. There seems to be three main reasons that cause this problem: too much leg power, using the back of the rim as your shooting target, or shooting the ball just too flat.

1. Leg Power

It's been estimated that for most shooters the power thrust behind their shot breaks down to 15% from a player's arms and shoulders and 85% from his core and legs. Of course, young players will often use 100% of their upper body which is the reason why their "shot" ends up being a two handed heave from below their waist. As they get older they start incorporating their legs into their shot and the result is that for awhile they look like they are exploding upward out of a chair.

This might be necessary and effective for younger, weaker shooters but could cause distance problems as players continue to get older and stronger if they don't do something to modify their shooting technique. Instead of "squatting" as part of their shooting motion, players should use a slight knee flex and recruit their calves as a source of power rather than their quads. Not only does this help regulate the power underneath your shot but it s also quicker as well. A great visual example of this technique is the Miami Heat's Ray Allen.

2. Shooting Target

Young players who have a tendency to shoot their shots short are often told by well meaning parents and coaches to "Aim for the back of the rim!" Even though hitting this new target solves one problem, it often creates another one. Why aim for a target that you really don't want to hit? Don't aim for the front of the rim or for the back of the rim but aim for the dead center which is often called the "nest" by many skill development trainers. Not only should you focus on this spot with your eyes but you should also make sure you point your index finger right in the middle of the nest on your shot's follow through.

3. Proper Arc

A regulation sized basket is large enough that two basketballs can fit inside the rim at the exact same time. Shots with proper arc have a greater chance of going in the basket and the misses will usually land "softer" and stay close to the rim. On the other hand, flat shots have a much smaller margin for error and misses usually go right over the front part of the rim and bounce long off the back. To make things even worse, flat shots that hit off the back of the rim hardly ever take a lucky bounce and "slop" in like softer shots with more arc do.

Consistently getting more arc on a shot is not often an easy fix and can take a considerable amount of time. One of the best drills to use is a simple form shooting drill. Stand only a few feet away from the basket and start shooting shot after shot with perfect form and only change spots after several makes. Eventually get to the point where only clean "swishes" count as it is impossible to swish the ball without proper arc.

If you find yourself constantly missing long and watching the ball hit off the back of the rim while all of your opponents yell "Brick!" then analyze your shot and determine which one of these three areas is the cause of the problem. Once you realize what the problem is you can start fixing it right away.

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