Shooting has become the most important skill in the modern basketball game. If a young basketball player is going to be a specialist, he or she better specialize in shooting the basketball. Now, when talking about shooting, the undisputed greatest in that category is Stephen Curry. His mechanics have been broken down to a science by many in hopes of emulating his style. If you want to learn how to shoot like Stephen Curry, you better read this article from top to bottom.
This piece will examine the secrets to Steph Curry’s shooting form, along with some tips for improved shooting. Of course, equaling or surpassing Curry in the all-time ranks is almost impossible, but that shouldn’t deter you, or anyone for that matter, from becoming better.
Why Stephen Curry is So Popular?
Steph Curry’s popularity now is a combination of a lot of factors. The guy works extremely hard in his craft, but the Warriors’ trust in him and how the management set him up for success cannot be overstated. Remember, success will make you famous. It’s also worth mentioning that Curry did not come into his own until Golden State hired Steve Kerr, who seemed to have unlocked the whole Warriors offense.
If anything, no one can predict the career curve Curry has. First of all, he wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school. He did prove he could score and handle the basketball with the best of them while in college, but questions about his true position, size, and defense lingered. Before the NBA Draft, here’s something Bleacher Report predicted of Curry’s career arc:
“He probably is never going to end up being a star in the league because of a lack of explosiveness (meaning he will be a huge defensive liability). He should be able to hang around the league because of the all-around offensive package he brings to the table.”
The Warriors also did their due diligence in the NBA Draft and surrounded Curry with complementary players. They drafted Klay Thompson in 2011 (1st round, 11th) and Draymond Green (2nd round, 35th pick) the year after. They acquired Andrew Bogut, a former #1 overall pick, who was a solid banger and passer.
Curry overcame his early-career ankle issues and won four out of the six NBA championships since 2015. In sports, popularity always follows success. His career took off, and he is still one of the most beloved basketball players today. It is also worth noting that Curry did not change who he was for his critics. He was, of course, a better version than the one in Davidson, but the playstyle remained. All of these factors significantly contributed to Curry’s popularity.
How Does Steph Curry Make It Look So Easy to Shoot?
Again, it’s a combination of so many things, but primarily it’s repetition and one-motion shooting. Repetition is pretty self-explanatory. Curry is said to have a goal of making 250 shots a day, and some say it’s closer to 500 during the offseason and at least 200 during the season. If we stick close anywhere those numbers, Curry has made more than a million threes in practice alone in his NBA career.
If you want to learn how to shoot like Stephen Curry, you need that type of dedication to the craft. This leads to impeccable muscle memory, making the shot easier than it looks to the untrained eye.
Another secret to knowing how to shoot a 3-pointer like Stephen Curry is one-motion shooting. Basically, one-motion shooting is when a player shoots a shot on the way up instead of at the peak of the jump. (When you do the latter, then it’s a two-motion shot.) To understand more about what one-motion shooting is (and all the other shooting motions), please watch the video below:
Basically, one-motion shooting is the key to Steph’s fluidity and range. You can see how smooth and effortless the shot is and that’s because of one-motion shooting.
Stephen Curry Shooting Form: What Makes Him So Good?
Steph Curry’s shooting form is not textbook by any means. It’s not as unconventional as, say, Shawn Marion, but his shooting techniques rarely follow the norm. These are some of the things about Steph Curry’s shooting form that defies conventional wisdom:
- He is a palm shooter. Coaches often recommend leaving a gap between the ball and the palms, but that’s not true. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding, in this case, is Steph Curry! Steph lays the ball on his hand with the light pressure of the ball on his palm. He next snaps his wrist forward, transferring the ball from this palm to his finger pads and off his fingertips. This does not mean that everyone should be a palm shooter, but instead, work on what’s best for you.
- He uses a wide stance. A wider stance allows for more balance. Curry will be ready for the ball with his hands poised to collect it around his shooting pocket. His legs are bent, knees pointing inwards, and prepared to provide the force required to fire the shot. All players should understand that the legs produce the power for the shot while the arms guide the ball. This loaded position allows him to reduce the amount of motion required to get his shot off once he has the ball, allowing for an ultra-quick release.
- He is not completely square to the basket. Another Curry habit that’s out of the norm, he is not entirely square to the basket. That means his feet are not directly facing the rim but instead turn sideways. His foot positioning changes, especially when he is running around and stopping on a dime. In these cases, he usually does a slight turn in the air.
Steph Curry’s Tips to Improve Shooting
Even though Steph Curry’s pedigree is undeniable, he believes shooters are created and not born. Great shooters have absolute control over their mechanics, and that’s one thing that you can practice over and over to improve your shooting. Here are some of Steph’s tips so you can customize your own shooting practices:
- Practice shooting and dribbling as a combination
This tip is probably not for beginners, but it won’t hurt trying if you’re already a good basketball player who’d like to take his game to the next level. This will increase your confidence level so you can pull off these moves in a game.
- Practice shots near the basket and gradually increase range
Kids today who go directly from shooting halfcourt and logo shots are not doing it the right way. Steph practices shots close to the basket and gradually increases the range. He does this from five different angles going from the deep right corner to the deep left corner.
- Shooting is all about endurance.
Defense is generally more taxing than offense, but shooting long-distance shots 20 or 25 times a night needs conditioning. If you disregard this tip, your body will wear out quickly, and your legs won’t be there in the fourth quarter.
- Be fundamentally sound
As your basketball skills improve, you may want to go to more sophisticated drills that combine passing, dribbling, shooting, and rebounding to simulate a real game. However, you should temper your enthusiasm. Ensure that you can confidently make five shots in a row off a single pound dribble or a catch and shoot before moving on to combo drills. There’s no stronger foundation than building your fundamentals.
- Practice shooting with a passing partner
In actual games, you often have to adjust to the passes of your teammates before shooting. Therefore, practicing with a passing partner will help you be comfortable with all types of passes that come your way. Have someone pass right into your shooting pocket, on the opposite side, and below. That way, you can adjust accordingly in real games.
3 Stephen Curry’s Basketball Shooting Drills
Steph Curry was a big fan of the fundamentals and for a good reason. Being fundamentally sound allowed him to “bend” the rules a little bit, resulting in the shooting monster that he is now. Here are some basic Steph Curry shooting drills to get you started:
1. Basketball Shooting Drill With Curl
This drill is primarily about improving the catch-and-shoot skills off the dribble. But by using four chairs in different spots, you can practice catching and shooting by using the chairs as screeners. Using curls to get open is not as simple as it looks. You need to be at full speed, but at the same time, you must also use footwork in slowing down, catching the ball, and squaring up to the basket. Anyone can shoot on the move, but not everyone can make a high percentage of those shots. Perfecting this drill will help you be more efficient in catch-and-shoot opportunities off curl screens.
2. Spot up/Shoot off the Dribble Drill
This is as basic as it gets, but you need a passer to complete this one. The drill starts preferably in the corner. The passer stands at the top of the key and passes right to you. Your job is to catch the ball while simultaneously taking a step to the basket. Using that rhythm step, quickly shoot the ball to master the quick release. Doing the same procedure, you may also do a “shoot off the dribble” drill. As soon as you catch the ball, bounce the ball once, and quickly shoot the ball. Do this as many reps as you can.
3. High Bounce Shooting Drill
Suggested by shooting and skills trainer Collin Castellaw, the goal of the high bounce shooting drill is to imitate Steph Curry’s load and dip. The exercise is pretty straightforward: Bounce the ball high up on the floor, maybe at least 10 feet in the air, and shoot as the ball comes down off the bounce. The goal is for your lower body to load as you catch the ball and transition into a fluid, shooting motion.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Shoot Like Stephen Curry
Steph Curry is the best shooter basketball has ever seen. Anyone telling you otherwise knows nothing about basketball or has a bone to pick with the current generation. Stephen Curry’s shooting percentage from deep and the volume of attempts are just about head and shoulders above everyone.
Curry has developed insane accuracy with his shot because of hard work and pinning down the fundamentals. It was said that Curry aims to hit 500 shots a day during the offseason and 250 to 300 shots daily during game days. His current shooting drills involve a combination of ballhandling and other skills he can use in real game situations.
That said, Curry developed his own shooting technique, combining strong fundamentals and non-traditional methods. For instance, Curry shoots with his palm and is not always square to the basket. Still, he is able to make insanely tricky shots because of his hand position, consistent mechanics, and fluidity of motion.
Knowing how to shoot like Stephen Curry is definitely not easy. It takes years of hard work and dedication, but if you put in the hours, the results are definitely worth it.
If you’re interested in learning Stephen Curry story, check out this basketball biography book.
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