After over a decade of trying different ways to shoot, reading tips, training with different devices, the Pro Shot Shooting System is the only thing I recommend for experienced shooters (not necessarily great ones, just those who are more mature / set in mechanics and in their playing). It is completely free and resulted in clear results for me, not only in practice, but in games. You can watch the following two videos to learn more as well:
I have been studying shooting in efforts to shoot better on a more consistent level for well over the last decade. Luckily, the Internet has made more of this information accessible. Unluckily, much of the information is opinion and as I would try things, I could not tell what was working.
I have tried numerous devices over the years, all with arguable effect. Overall, I never found anything truly worthwhile until I started reading 10 Shooting Lies on FocusedShooter.com. (Ignore the visual mess of the website) What I really like about the Lies article is that Paul Hoover, the author, does not simply state his opinion. He shows video footage of NBA players (good ones) doing all the things that he discussed. Thus, when one lie is staying square to the basket, he shows how no one actually does this. Same thing for jumping straight up and down during the shooting motion (everyone sweeps their feet).
In addition, practicing the Pro Shot Shooting System does not require any new devices or purchase. You can download a 150 page PDF file (you can read it very quickly to understand what needs to be done) for free.
Once I read the article, and started trying these tips, I immediately (within one session) could see more consistent strength and accuracy on shots. Unlike any training device I have tried, it is indisputable that I am better when I practice under the System. It does not require any training devices, and when I notice myself out of form, I read the PDF again to make sure I have all the key tips in my mind as I shoot and I find that I can quickly rediscover the right form. However, two things I still cannot do are shoot with one finger (like Kobe Bryant) and focus on the ball’s flight path while shooting.
To read more of my basketball training product reviews, please click here.
The Baden SkilCoach Heavy Trainer Rubber Basketball is not worth purchasing. From my experience, the rubber surface tore up my fingertips to the point of bleeding, and I could not see any marked improvement in shooting range from shooting the ball. If I were to try a heavy basketball again, I might try one of Spalding’s weighted balls with a composite cover that would cause less pressured friction on my finger tips.
The Baden Heavy Basketball has a sharp rubber surface and my problems with it remind me of when the NBA tried to stop using leather balls several years ago and players complained how their fingers got cut using the ball. Using the 29.5 inch, 40-44 oz (3.5 pounds) ball, I developed blisters and had to stop shooting for weeks at a time. Later, these blisters tore up when I used the ball again, and fingers would bleed with use.
Despite this, my extensive time training with the ball never resulted in any improvements in my shooting range. It’s definitely much heavier than a normal basketball. During shots outside a few feet, I would airball most of the time, and this was on a slightly low court (rim 9.5 feet high).
(Note: I initially reviewed the Baden basketball nearly 4 years ago. I am revisiting the review and condensing it for easier consumption in this new article as well as reviewing what I wrote, removing biases with hindsight. For more of my basketball training product reviews, click here)
The Shooting Strap Basketball Shooting Aid is not worth purchasing. From my experience, I found my left “ball placement” hand constantly fighting to help push the ball. Restraining that hand back for extensive periods of time did not train my left hand to stop doing it.
Several years later with hindsight, I found that the best method for improving my shot, and reducing the tendency for my left, non-shooting hand to affect my shot was by practicing the Pro Shot Shooting System featured on FocusedShooter.com. (The tips are free through a downloadable PDF)
The Shooting Strap’s promise is to prevent you from shooting with two hands, which can be a bad habit formed in youth because it’s easier to add strength when the off-hand helps push the ball. The Strap is made (and aggressively shown to be made) in the USA, which after you look at it, you’ll be saying “It better be, because there is no way this costs more than a $1 to make.” It’s a simple polyester (I think) strap that ties your thumb so it can’t move. It works as long as you tighten it properly. I had to tighten the Strap so tight that it held my thumb (I am also double jointed) almost in reverse because I found that the thumb, even if given a little bit of room, would try to come out and push. After weeks of working with the Shooting Strap, however, I found no real decline in my left hand not making a push.
(Note: I initially reviewed Jay Wolf’s Basketball Shooting Strap nearly 4 years ago. I am revisiting the review and condensing it for easier consumption in this new article as well as reviewing what I wrote, removing biases with hindsight. For more of my basketball training product reviews, click here)
The Shotloc, whether direct from Shotloc or SKLZ, is not worth purchasing. From my experience, I am not convinced that its spreading of fingers and putting space on the palm really had any positive long term “muscle memory” effect on my shooting. The product is not expensive at under $20, however, and if you feel you have very strong difficulty spreading your fingers or are helping a young child learn to shoot for the first time, I could see Shotloc helping.
The Shotloc does a great job of making sure you follow-through on your shot. You basically have to because you can’t shoot unevenly with it on, it forces all of your fingers to fold together. If anything, using the Shotloc forces finger strength because to get a shot off, you have to push off with your fingertips. This makes the ball feel a little bit loose to me, and when you shoot from longer distance you really have to accelerate the spin on the ball coming off your fingertips to generate power.
So, while shooting with the Shotloc seems to create good habits, I could not see any real changes to my form and results after extensive training with it, and then playing without it. For more evidence and research into Shotloc’s effectiveness, see this research paper from the Sport Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Manitoba, “The effectiveness of the ShotLoc training tool on basketball free throw performance and technique.”
(Note: I initially reviewed the Shotloc nearly 4 years ago. I am revisiting the review and condensing it for easier consumption in this new article as well as reviewing what I wrote, removing biases with hindsight. For more of my basketball training product reviews, click here)
The Unique Sports Dribble Specs is worth purchasing. For less than $10, you get an easy to use device that, while unfashionable to wear, makes sure you cannot look at the ball while dribbling. From my experience, this is great for removing your dependency on looking at the ball, and is especially helpful for simulating game time situations.
The Unique Dribble Specs is not specs at all. The black plastic pieces simply block your lower vertical vision so you can’t see the ball. Nonetheless, the Unique Dribble Specs work as intended – they are easy to use and do not cause injuries. I think they’re great to help with a dribble workout. They do, however, hold your sweat from your eyes, so when you take them off, all your collected sweat will drip down on your face when you remove it. Sweat burn in the eyes…
(Note: I initially reviewed the Dribble Specs nearly 4 years ago. I am revisiting the review and condensing it for easier consumption in this new article as well as reviewing what I wrote, removing biases with hindsight. For more of my basketball training product reviews, click here)