I know it's been forever since I last posted but the summer break is finally coming and I've finally had more time to reflect professionally on this past season, but also look ahead at what's to come, and I'm absolutely ecstatic to say the least.

I will be helping a Varsity head coach (a legend around these parts) with a shooter's clinic this weekend and next weekend. Shooting is such an important skill at each position that I think it's a great idea to grab all of your players (and players from your area) and spend 2 days just working on technique, which is what we will be doing.

We got talking as we started planning for the weekend and naturally the topic drifted to the NBA finals and the shot form of Dirk Nowitzki,

We talked about some of the good things he does on his shot like his starting position and shooting hand follow-through, and some of his not so good things like his tendency to shoot off one foot and finish off-balance and the finish of his guide-hand.

Obviously, the mechanics are important, getting the ball in the shot pocket, flicking the wrist, ten toes pointed to the basket, proper knee bend, etc... all that good stuff that you and I all teach. It doesn't matter how good your mechanics are, what matters most is what happens to the ball after it leaves your hands. And those 2 fundamentals are:

1. The ball must have the proper arc
2. The ball must have the proper rotation

The reason why the ball must have proper arc is simply a matter of physics. Balls that are shot with a flat trajectory have less surface area with which to get into the rim, and when flat balls do hit the rim they tend to bounce straight off the front, or off the back, as opposed to hitting the rim and falling into the basket.

The reason why the ball must have proper backspin rotation is simple. A ball that has no rotation will not have a consistent arc and is susceptible to change direction mid-flight, much like a knuckle-ball which sinks hard and goes in all kinds of directions. Rotation limits the ability for wind or air resistance to affect the balls natural parabolic trajectory. Backspin is the correct kind of rotation because it creates a soft bounce. You can always tell when a shooter has good rotation because when the ball goes in without touching the rim, it makes that loud "swoosh" sound and the net almost flies back up the rim. It's almost like the basket is a vacuum and sucks the ball down it.

Everything else is just not that important in my opinion. Now, mechanics will dictate for the most part how those 2 fundamentals get accomplished, but I've seen players shoot from the side of their head (ala John Stockton), or from their chest (ala Shawn Marion), and still be very consistent and successful shooters. So long as the ball has the proper arc and rotation, nothing else really matters.

Hope you all had a great time watching the NBA playoffs, I know I did. It was great to see Dirk, J Kidd, and Coach Rick Carlisle win it because they've paid their dues. Patience and sticking with the plan certainly did pay off for Mark Cuban.

I will try to keep updating the blog throughout the summer, I will try to use a more analytical approach, discussing the craft of coaching and what people are doing these days.

For more shooting drills you can use in your practice, take a look at Steve Alford's Shooting Drills DVD. Coach Alford is the head coach at University of New Mexico.