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For a coach to be successful at teaching players how to shoot the basketball correctly, there needs to be a complete understanding of the fundamentals of a shot (BEEF). A coach does not have to be a great shooter or even a fair shooter to be a great teacher of shooting. The coach simply must understand BEEF and be able to explain the fundamentals to the players. The coach also needs to have knowledge of a teaching progression and age-appropriate drills that will help players develop the proper shooting fundamentals.
To be a good shooter, it is important to know the four basic parts of the shot. The word BEEF is a simple easy way to remember the most important fundamentals of a good shot. All players should be able to remember and recite the fundamentals, even if the fundamentals have not been mastered yet.
Each letter in the word represents an important fundamental. To be a good shooter, a player must master ALL the fundamentals of BEEF. Below is an explanation of each letter in the word BEEF as it applies to shooting.
B = BALANCE – start by teaching the footwork for the shot.
- Have the players stand with their “shooting / lead foot” forward.
- “TOE TO THE TARGET” – the lead foot or shooting foot should point to the target or the basket.
- Instruct the players to place their non-shooting foot into the arch of the sneaker (the insert) of the shooting foot.
- Tell the players to move their non-shooting foot (back foot) to the side so that the feet are shoulder width apart.
- Bend the knees to be in triple threat position.
- Have the shoulders in front of the feet.
- Feet, hips, and shoulders should be square.
- The shooting hand should be placed in the middle of the basketball. The palm should not touch the ball. There should be “little daylight” that can be seen as the player holds the ball off his palm and on his fingertip pads and fingertips.
E = ELBOW: It is essential to have proper elbow position to develop a good shot.
- READ THE BALL – The player should place the ball in his hand with the palm facing the sky. The hand should be between waist and shoulder level. The player should then READ THE BALL (i.e. Spaulding).
- LINE UP THE SEAMS – It is a very fundamental step that may not always be able to be completed during a game but the player should always try to line up his fingertips with the seams to get a good feel for the ball. This will also help a developing shooter to identify whether his shot has the proper rotation.
- ELBOW FORMS AN “L” (in line with the lead foot and knee) – It is also important to make sure the elbow is straight. There are four ways to miss a shot. Right, left, short, or long. If a player can shoot the ball straight, he will be a much more accurate shooter. With proper elbow position, the player will only miss the shot short or long. He should never miss to the right or left.
- WRIST WRINKLES – The ball should rest on the shooting hand far enough back so that the shooting hand’s wrist has wrinkles.
E = EYES: The eyes should always be focused on the target
- The eyes should be focused on the target at all times. The eyes should never follow the flight of the ball.
- The eyes should focus on the target, the center of the basket.
F = FOLLOW THROUGH: The last part of the shot.
- BEND – Even when a player shoots very close to the basket, it is important to bend the knees. The further away from the basket the player moves, the more important it is to bend the knees and use the legs.
- AND EXTEND (extend the elbow above the eyebrow) – After releasing the ball, the elbow should end above the player’s eyebrow. A good reminder for players is the phrase – “ELBOW ABOVE THE EYEBROW.” Coaches can use this phrase to help remind the players of the proper fundamental.
- PUT YOUR HAND IN THE BASKET (or HAND IN THE HOOP) – Players should try to finish their follow through by snapping (maybe not the best term) the hand in the basket. Sometimes it might be helpful to tell the player to try touch their fingertips to their wrist, even though this is impossible.
- FREEZE THE FOLLOW THROUGH – It is also important to hold the follow through until the ball goes through the hoop. A player should not only freeze his shooting hand, but his guide hand as well. If a player drops his guide hand and only freezes his shooting hand, the body has a tendency to turn to the side of the guide hand. This will negatively impact the release of the shot.
- FISH HOOK – after completing the follow through, the shooting hand should resemble a “fish hook.”
ADDITIONAL COACHING POINTS:
THUMBS FORM A “T” – when a player starts to shoot the ball with two hands, the shooting thumb and the guide hand thumb should form the letter “T”. The guide hand is placed on the side of the ball. If the player turns the ball so the guide hand is on the top, it should form a T. The thumbs should not be touching, but if there was a line drawn connecting the space between the two thumbs it would form the letter “T’
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