Shooting coaches or “gurus” advertise their shooting methods and guarantee great results. It’s a lie but I understand why they do that.
It sounds tempting. You know, writing a step-by-step method with one novel-sounding idea in it. Coming up with a cool-sounding name for the method, perhaps an acronym. Shooting a video. And so.
Putting together a shooting method is a way to scale the coaching. To productize it. To make money off it. To have many paying customers do the same thing at the same time.
The problem with coaching methods is that they don’t work – not in shooting basketball, not in strength & conditioning, not anywhere.
Or to be more precise, they do work but only up to a point far from the optimum. That’s because whenever you’re shooting the ball, on the average you’re learning to shoot it better.
But inevitably, shooting methods don’t work optimally. That’s because they are based on a positivistic assumption of linear learning:
- Start under the presumption that everyone is a tabula rasa when it comes to shooting.
- Everyone does Drill 1 – for example the one-handed shooting drill. Learns the proper stance, release and follow-through.
- Everyone does Drill 2– for example, shooting stationary two-handed shots to the partner. Learns to use the off hand.
- And so on, from drill to drill and from detail to detail until everyone is shooting perfect jumpers.
I’m not exaggerating. The shooting methods are actually based on this assumption. It only looks like I’m exaggerating since everyone knows that learning doesn’t work like that.
People learn nonlinearly, and no player is a tabula rasa. Everyone uses individual movement patterns even the first time they shoot the ball. Everyone reacts to drills and coaching interventions differently.
So, coaching should always start from the way a player is actually shooting right now. Not from the coach’s tabula rasa fantasy.
Coaching – for example choosing drills – should be based on the players’ actual reactions to what is being done. Not on what is prescribed by the acronym method.
Coaching is a craft. It can’t be scaled.