Improve Shooting Accuracy By Perfecting The Release
During the last moment of contact with the ball during the RELEASE, the ball is either in a 1) balanced or 2) unbalanced position. The shooter has no conscious recognition of that precise moment but the mind is able to AUTOMATICALLY sense which of the two it is and will respond accordingly. This is called our “kinesthetic sense”.
In this article we will explain:
1. How to determine if the ball is balanced,
2. How balance affects shooting accuracy, and
3. How to improve balance and perfect the final release.
The position of the fingers during the follow-through will tell the story. When the mind senses that the ball is in an “unbalanced position”, the fingers will do whatever they can to “compensate” to regain control of the ball. The result will often be as follows: fingers angling IN, OUT, or, the outside fingers – #4 and #5 – will be down further than the others and often at an angle.
When in a balanced position, the index and middle fingers will be in a vertical plane. This is the most accurate method.
Balance and Accuracy
Balance affects Left/Right accuracy. Greatest accuracy is achieved when the two shooting fingers move in a vertical plane during the release./p>
Drills to Perfect the Release
Hold up your shooting hand and look at the length of the fingers. Notice that the middle finger is longer than the 2nd and 4th. This difference in length makes it VERY difficult for the ball to roll off the index and middle fingers (two shooting fingers) with perfect balance.
So can perfect balance to be achieved? Here’s a 3-drill progression that will create excellent ball control and balance. But understand that, if performed daily before practice, it will take at least 2 to 3 weeks to create consistency.
Drill #1: Using a magic marker, place a dot on the TOP and BOTTOM of the index finger on the shooting hand. It should be placed between the last two knuckles.
Next, model the shot without a ball using ONLY the shooting hand. With the hand higher than the head and elbow under the palm, focus on the dot before, during, and after the release. The finger should move PERFECTLY in a vertical plane. Notice the middle finger moves with the index finger. Perform 10 PERFECT reps in ROW.
Drill #2: Add a ball to drill #1 and shoot 10 air-shots while wearing the SHOOTING STRAP training aid. Stare at the dot on the top and bottom of the index finger in the same way as during drill #1. Catch the ball before it hits the floor. The two shooting fingers should move in a vertical plane. Perform 10 perfect reps in a ROW.
IMPORTANT: Turn the ball so the valve stem points straight up and then position the two shooting fingers on each side. This will increase the chances for the last contact with the ball to be at the lowest point of the ball and in a more balanced position. Experiment by re-positioning the fingers slightly left and right. Notice the affect of the flight path. Determine the best position and use it each time.
Drill #3: Perform Drill #2 again ONLY this time, let the ball hit the floor. Using a volleyball floor line, position the shooting foot on top of the line so both the heel and toe are on the line. (The shooting foot is the one on the same side as the shooting hand.) Make the ball strike the line 7 out of 10 attempts.