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  • Hitting the last-second shot

  • Scholarships,
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  • Scholarships,
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  • Improving Agility


  • 'BEEF' UP YOUR SHOOTING

    A look at how to swish when you're on the line.

    By Kellie M. Stewart

    The foul shot is one of the easiest shots on the basketball court.

    Why, then, do so many athletes, from children to the pros, struggle with this simple shot? What is the magic that separates the high-percentage foul shooting from the struggling one? Is it luck? No, it is one word--BEEF!

    The first thing to remember when shooting the ball is Balance.

    If you are off balance, the shot will be off as well. When shooting the foul shot, step up to the line, place both feet on the floor approximately shoulder distance apart with your weight equally distributed. Do not lean to one side or the other, but place one foot slightly in front of the other. If you are right-handed, place your right foot a few inches further forward than the left; vice versa if you are left-handed.

    Do not jump when shooting a foul shot. Both feet remain on the floor, maintaining balance as the knees bend, and the body crouches down and then extends upward. It is okay to rise to your toes when shooting, as long as you do not fall forward, backwards, or sideways. Balance must be maintained.

    As you stand at the foul line preparing for the undefended, one-point shot, where are your Eyes? The eyes are important, and are key No. 2 to BEEF. You must look where you want the ball to go--right over the front of the rim! Take a deep breath as you stare down the front of the rim, but don't take your eyes off of it!

    So you are not portraying the Leaning Tower, and you are fixated on the glistening, orange rim. What's next? It's the Elbow! If you like to do the chicken dance, then sticking your elbows out to the sides and flapping is quite appropriate; however, looking like a chicken when shooting a foul shot makes the ball fly away--as away from the hoop. Your elbow should be in alignment with your body; it should not stick out or in.

    When shooting, hold the ball at head level, with the elbow forming a right angle. This helps keep the ball in alignment with the hoop. If the elbow sticks out upon release, the ball will be pushed to one side or the other. It will not go straight towards the hoop. So, keep the elbow straight, and save the chicken pose for the next dance party.

    What's left to do when taking the free 15-foot shot? Follow through! A follow through is the position of the arm and hand after the ball is released. The arm should extend, the hand open, the wrist bent. It is like hanging your hand over the front of the rim. The follow through helps guide the ball where you want it to go. As coaches say, "Stick your hand in the basket," meaning, "Follow through"!

    Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow through--it doesn't seem that tough. If you want to be a successful foul shooter, you should know that there is no magic, there is no luck--there is just BEEF.

    The next time you step up to the foul line, remember to shoot with BEEF.

    Kellie M. Stewart hooped her way through Carrick High School in Pittsburgh, Penn., where she still holds a number of records, including most career points scored and most career rebounds snatched off the boards. Afterwards, she attended Point Park University on basketball and academic scholarships. She has spent the past seven years coaching at camps, clinics, summer leagues, and AAU girls' basketball traveling teams. In her spare time, she is also a full-time paralegal and a mom.


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