In this article, I want to focus on covering some of the key principles of using the lower body and how it can affect your shooting.
When I discussed using the upper body I talked about making sure that your elbow was straight. I described that an absolute key to shooting straight was to make sure that your elbow is straight. When using your lower body the key to your balance is your front foot.
Shooters will rarely shoot with their feet parallel. One will often lead slightly in front of the other. The foot that leads is typically your strong foot or dominant foot. This foot needs to be pointed at the target.
When your front foot points at the target it allows your whole body to be in sync. It helps keep your elbow straight and keeps your shoulders and head in line with the basket. This is a very important and over-looked key when it comes to being a solid shooter.
Your feet need to be about shoulder-width apart. If your feet are too close together you will notice that you are consistently off balance when you shoot and when you land. You will be an inconsistent shooter. If your feet are shoulder width apart you will notice that you are truly using your legs to get lift on your shot.
If your feet are wider than your shoulders you will just feel completely out of sync. You won't be able to get good lift on the shot at all and you will be blocked on a number of your shots. It is unnatural to shoot from that position. Some people believe shooters are from the waist up and that isn't true. The legs are crucial.
Drifting is another common occurrence when players use their legs inconsistently. A good shooter will go straight up and down. They will land in practically the same spot they took the shot from. Shooters that fall forward tend to be off balance and have a lean in their body as they go to shoot. Shooters that fall to the side are not going up straight. They are either off-balance with their feet or they have their feet parallel or simply too close together.
When I practice my shooting I have to make sure that I jump and land in the same spot. There are times that I don't even care if the ball goes in or not, to me that isn't as important as practicing and creating a solid habit. A key for me is to stay on the balls of my feet and not my heels. When I shoot with the weight on my heels a number of bad things take place.
That's why I always mention this: PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Practice good habits and create good habits first. Don't even worry about making or missing the shots initially. Some of this will feel awkward to you at first, but stick with it.
When you have developed proper habits you'll notice whenever something is wrong. For me, I have no problem with my shot if I miss short or long. If I miss to the side then something is wrong. Either it is coming off my hand incorrectly or my feet are messed up. But because of developing good habits I'm easily able to make the necessary adjustments to correct my shot almost instantly