A Blog About Feet

Seriously, this blog is about feet. Your feet when shooting a basketball. As many of you know I’m very particular about shooting and the form it takes to be successful. Your entire shot starts with your feet- and you don’t want start off on the wrong foot. Get it?

OK, so where should you have your feet. First they should be pointed at the hoop. The feet are the compass of your shot and the ball tends to follow where your feet are pointed. What happens is your feet will turn your knees, hips, core and in turn your shoulders to where they are pointed. If they are not straight then you have to fight everything else back to square.

Your feet should be shoulder width apart, not too wide and not too close together. You should think of about doing a squat in the weight room. You know what a squat is right? I hope kids are still doing those. If you squatted with your feet too wide or too close and your feet crooked what would happen? You’d be at the doctor’s office. There is a reason why you squat with your feet straight ahead and shoulder width apart. It’s where you are the most powerful. Wouldn’t you want to be the most powerful in your jumper as well?

Most people know the ½ inch rule, where your shooting hand foot is ½ an inch in front of the other. I think whether your feet are equal or ½ inch is doesn’t matter but you definitely don’t want to be over two inches from each other. That will start to throw off your shoulders and everything else.

Lastly and probably the most important part- your weight placement. Your weight needs to be balanced and equally displaced. If your weight is too far forward it will push you off balance and make everything lunge forward and push the shot path flat. If your shot is flat you have a much lower chance statistically to make the shot- that is a fact. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone shooting off their heels but if you do, don’t. From a balanced position you rise up through your toes. A great tip is to jump stop before your shot and think about your feet, notice where your weight is and then correct it to be balanced. Close your eyes and think about your feet and how that balanced position feels- then lock in that memory and repeat it.

It’s important to start out your shot right and everything starts with your feet. Build from the ground up and start with the right processes. There is a completely separate topic about feet and that is footwork, this blog is about feet placement. Stay tuned in the future for shooting footwork and the process of developing solid footwork. When it comes to feet placement be balanced, just as in life a balanced approach is usually the right way to go.

Keep hooping. #FeetPlacement #ThePocketShootingSystem #SquareisBetterThanCrooked #IKnowIUsetoShootCrooked #AskRose

So, You Want to Be Able to Shoot?

That must be true otherwise you wouldn’t have taken the time to even read to this point. Well great, did you head to the web? YouTube maybe? I’m sure that left you only scratching your head. Dip the ball, twist slightly this way, lean back and let that sucker fly right? Nah. Not cool.

I’ve played some hoops, changed my shot a ton of times and what has worked for me is using what I call “The Pocket Shooting System” trademark pending… someday. If you want to check out my blog on that follow this link- https://joshwilsonbasketball.com/2014/10/23/basketball-shooting-form

That may seem easy and simple but it is a ton of work, both mentally and physically. People have all these crazy notions when it comes to shooting, not wanting to mess up this beautiful shot that does not exist. Newsflash- if you cannot make 60% of your shots by yourself in the gym you need to do something different. Good high school players shoot 60-70% by themselves, good college players 70-80% and pros are at a 90% clip. If you want to see where you’re at as a shooter, keep track of your stats while practicing. My point is that you have to be willing to change your form. It will feel terrible but I promise you have to work through it and find your shot. To me it’s a great metaphor for life, get over the fact that it might not feel great- it’s what you should do.

Outside of form is the second part of the equation which is reps. You have to dedicate yourself to doing it right and shooting over and over again until you master it. Shoot until your shoulders burn. There are some out there that are pure shooters, there are some out there who have worked to become good shooters but the great ones can marry both together.

Take the time to perfect your form and get high quality reps. If you want drills just send an email to joshwilsonbasketball@gmail.com. If you want to see where your form can improve send a video of your shot. I’m happy to help and give you my opinion. My guess is you dip, push off with your off hand and don’t properly sit down. That’s just a guess though.

Take care and keep hooping.  #ThePocketShootingSystem  #ShotTransformation #FormandReps

Steph Curry is Ruining the Game

I have heard several arguments lately that Stephen Curry and the way he plays is ruining youth basketball. I’ve heard this from people I respect but I’m going to say this- you are wrong. You are crazy wrong.

Steph plays the game the way he does because he has mastered it. While I understand that kids copying Steph, making crazy moves and shooting deep threes can turn them into a fundamental nightmare, you are missing the point. You are missing a golden opportunity to teach. Steph Curry can do that because he has worked harder than anyone else in the NBA on his skills and quite possibly more than anyone ever.

Steph has been the product of great skills coaches, great team coaches and the most important part- an unstoppable desire to become better. He feels the burn every day to prove all of those that told him he was too skinny, too short and not strong enough wrong. Not only has he silenced all those critics but he continues to defy all expectations of the player most thought he would be.  The best thing about it is Steph continues to improve. Take a step back and look how he prepares for each and every game.  Rather than walk onto the court and hope he plays well he takes the time to warm up his ball-handling skills, shooting mechanics and finishes. He prepares and leaves nothing to chance.

Steph Curry is the worst thing to happen to youth basketball? How about we all take a step back and look at how he got here- hard work and dedication. Do you think that teaching kids if you work hard enough you can do things no one ever even thought was possible is a bad thing? Didn’t think so. I’m pretty sure that might correlate to life.

Jump on the wagon.

#KeeponKeepinOnSteph #ChangetheGame #LeadByExample

Basketball Shooting Form

Shooting Form

As basketball personal trainers, the most common thing we see are players that want to work on their shot. Rarely does someone come to us and say, you know, I really want to work on my defense. A shot can be a mysterious thing. What feels great one day feels terrible the next. Consistency comes with practice and solid shooting form. Shooting form is also one of the most poorly coached things in basketball. While you can be creative with form and become consistent through practice, keeping it simple is the best way to go. Here is what we teach our players.

Feet to follow through step by step guide.

1. Square Up

Your feet should be squared at the hoop and a comfortable distance apart from each, usually shoulder width.

Squared up means both feet pointing towards the basket and shoulders aligned with the feet. Kobe in this picture could be squared even more but it’s pretty good. Kobe probably feels more comfortable with his left foot behind his right which is fine as long as you can keep everything pointed at the hoop.

Tip- You can use the baseline three (like the picture) or the free throw or other line to see if your feet are square.

2. Sit Down

In the picture above Kobe is beginning this process. When you sit down your knees should be bending directly over your feet. Not to the side, not both knees pointing in, they need to be directly over your feet.

In sitting down you need to be on balance to be able to explode directly up and equally with both feet. Your tailbone should be sitting back towards your heals with your chest up. Make sure you do not twist or turn in sitting down. SIT STRAIGHT DOWN.

Tip- Use a barbell to work on squatting and staying on balance. It’s the same as sitting down in your shot.

3. Ball in Your Pocket

Ball in your pocket means to put your hand under the ball with your elbow in and up with close to a 90 degree angle. This in our opinion is the most important aspect to your shot and where most problems occur.

Your offhand needs to be on the side of the ball and used only as a guide hand ONLY. As your release your shot your offhand should not push or be in the way of your shot in anyway. Watch out for offhand thumb, it loves to push off giving side spin.

Tip- Practice shooting with one hand so you get use to not relying on your offhand.

Your shooting hand needs to be under the ball, in the middle of the ball and on your fingertips. Your fingers should be a comfortable distance apart.

Your elbow needs to align with your knee which is aligned with your feet which are pointed at the hoop. Remember that from shoulder to your elbow to your hand should be close to 90 degrees like the picture above.

4. Release

From your pocket everything should go straight up keeping your form nice and tight. Again make sure your offhand is flat and not pushing off, Michael Jordan gives a perfect example above. We don’t want side spin. Do your best to stay square and not turn through the whole process. Don’t become stiff like a robot but still maintain your form.

Hold your follow through. We’ve all heard that before but what does that mean? It means from your pocket the release needs to have a result like Ray Allen or Michael Jordan above. Elbow is fully extended and you have a nice smooth flip of the wrist with the ball touching your finger tips last. You’re essentially pointing your hand at the hoop or putting your hand in the hoop.

Make sure you extend your follow through UP NOT OUT. This puts arc on the ball which gives it the best opportunity to go in. Put the ball in the air.

It’s a matter of physics that by shooting the ball with arc you have a higher percentage for the ball to go through. A flat shot can miss 50% of the hoop and shooting is hard enough as is. You do not need to give yourself this disadvantage.

So now you have feet pointed at the hoop, knees over your feet, elbow over your knee and releasing and holding your follow through all at a straight line at the hoop. Simple. Michael Jordan’s release above is a great example of following straight through.

5. Confidence

The most important aspect of shooting after you have practiced good form is shooting with confidence. If you don’t believe the ball will go in, it won’t. Every time you shoot the ball know it is going to go in, expect it to go in and you’ll find yourself making more shots.

Practice allows confidence to grow so get in the gym as much as possible. Get a rebounder use the shooting gun or grab a parent and head to the gym. It’s no secret that practice makes perfect and is the catalyst to success. Put your heart into it, it’s addicting and your confidence will grow by leaps and bounds.

Tips

  • The most common error in form is crooked feet not squared to the hoop, not putting the ball in a pocket thus shooting from your belly and pushing off with your off  hand. Players constantly make these mistakes.
  • Look at the back of the rim when shooting. It gives the ball the best chance to go in. Looking at the front may leave the ball short giving the ball less of a chance than if the ball was long.
  • When you struggle get back to basics and practice. Start in close and work your way out. Think about keeping everything tight.
  • Video tape your shot. It’s hard to tell what you’re doing if you can’t see it yourself. Video tape it and find the mistakes your making for yourself.
  • If you change your form it may not work right away. You have to develop muscle memory which can only be done through practice. Trust that your fixes will improve your shot and don’t go back to your old ways, you’ll want to.
  • Get a basketball trainer who knows their stuff. They will see things you can’t and help you progress as a player.

 

Keep hooping,

 

Josh Wilson

Founder & Head Trainer, Roots Basketball

CEO, Roots Sports Academy

The Right Stuff.

The Right Stuff.

How to develop the x-factor that every coach is looking for.

Every coach is looking for that special player out there that has something that sets them apart from the rest. Skills are important but it is by no means the end all when it comes to playing time or being picked for a team. In fact there are many skilled players out there in all sports that never make anything of themselves because they don’t have that x-factor to propel them to greatness. You can take anything I say with a grain of salt but I have been in the battles, I have gone through the ringer with coaches and I am now a coach myself. In my opinion this is what it takes to get that separation from the rest of your team and develop the right stuff.

Work hard. First and foremost you have to have work ethic and pride. This is no surprise I know, but how on earth do you acquire it? Some are born with this innate desire to be great but how is it learned? I have been known throughout my whole life to be a hard worker but I find myself everyday still fighting this battle. Fight being lazy in all aspects of your life. Do not let yourself do the easy thing because more often than not that is not what is good for you. Break each practice, each drill, each training session down and after each one ask yourself, did I work as hard as I can? If not don’t stress it, just come back the next time and give it everything you have. It’s hard to confront it and do your best but it will without a doubt pay off. The great thing about sports is working hard is fun because you very quickly reap rewards from it. Shooting shot after shot leading up to game gives you an immediate impact on the game because the ball feels great in your hands.

Study. Become a master at what you do best and work on your weaknesses. As a point guard you should know intricacies of not only your own offenses but all offenses. You should know every position from every play so you know how to teach and lead no matter the situation. This goes for all players and all positions. If you are great at driving to the hoop harness that talent and discover new ways to be more effective. Don’t just watch an NBA game but study it. Why did that team win the game? Who played well and why? College is even better to watch because of the time they have to study leading up to games it becomes almost a chess match. Read, watch and learn all you can on what you do and set yourself apart from the rest.

Lead. Become a leader in your family, team, school or work. Being a leader is twofold. So often we think of a leader as someone barking orders but this is not the case. In fact I think I’d state the case that someone barking negativity is the opposite of a leader and drags down the team. Yes as a leader you need to hold others accountable but only when they are doing things they should not be doing. Celebrate those who are working hard around you and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Lead with positive encouragement and stern criticism when teammates get out of line. Secondly, lead by example. No person will follow you if they don’t believe you truly represent what you are saying. Show them you can and will do what you are preaching by hopping in the trenches and working harder than anyone else.

Balance. Life is all about balance. Name anything in the world and I bet you for it to be successful balance needs to be in place. For all the effort you put into something you need the rest. You can’t dribble only to the right, then you have no left. You spend too much time with your friends and you neglect your family. Everything in life is about having the right balance and this comes with being a player as well. Maintain a mental and physical balance in your life and in sports.

Having the right stuff isn’t about how good you are, it’s the total package as a person and athlete. Everything stems out of hard work and doing the right thing. If you can always do the right thing and give it all you have you will end up on top. You will, several times, be knocked down but that is when you build your character. Get up and move forward.

Keep hooping,

Josh Wilson
Founder & Head Trainer, Roots Basketball
CEO, Roots Sports Academy

My Life

To close the gap between my last blog and now will require a bit of catching up. August 28, 2012 seems like a lifetime ago. Here is the quick rundown of how in two years we added a new baby girl, bought a house, had 2 job changes and grew Roots into where it is today.

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First and foremost Margo Nanette Wilson was born on June 12, 2013 in Olympia, WA to make the Wilson total to 3 kids. She is like the sour patch commercials, sweet but a little bit sour. She is developing quite the goofy personality.  We love her with all our hearts and couldn’t imagine life without her.

We also bought our first home and couldn’t be happier about it. Our new house was a foreclosure and wasn’t exactly in move in ready condition. Dominique and I immediately began working on it even though she was 9 months pregnant at the time. She is quite the trooper. So far we have torn down a wall, put in new hardwood flooring, replaced all the windows, replaced all the interior doors and painted the outside of the house. We still have a lot of work to do but are quite proud of our little remodel.

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Roots has been amazing. We have gone from 4 AAU teams in 2012 to 17 AAU teams in the spring & summer season this year. We went from training 5-10 kids to 40-60 each month. We have also opened our first location with a tiny gym on 3rd Avenue. With this new gym we decided to go nonprofit and add football and baseball to create Roots Sports Academy. Scott Pisapia has been instrumental in our growth and continual execution of the day to day of Roots. All you Roots hoopers out there should thank him next time you see him because we wouldn’t be where we are without him. We also have to thank Pat Costello for generously helping us open our first location. He has been unbelievable.

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My day to day life is nuts, and I am extremely blessed to have a wife who can deal with my basketball obsessed behavior. I went from managing a landscape company, to working for DPI Speciality Foods putting food to the shelf at Fred Meyer to my current position as an Advertising & Marketing Consultant for The Daily News. I am also an assistant coach for Lower Columbia College. So what these means is I work 8-5PM at the TDN, 5-7:30 Roots on weekdays and Roots 8-5PM on Saturdays. I am swamped so thank you to all those who are patient with my complete lack of communication. My wife is absolutely amazing and the Roots nation should thank her for putting up with me.

My goal is to write this blog as frequently as possible to share my ideas on hoops and life. Bare with me in typos, periods of not posting and my complete obsession with hoops. It has given me so much in life I am completely devoted to spreading love for basketball and sports. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy here on out.

Keep Hooping,

Josh WIlson

 

Founder & Head Trainer Roots Basketball

CEO Roots Sports Academy

The Next Chapter.

It’s been a very long time since I last posted on this blog. I’ve had a battle back and forth to whether I’ll even continue playing the great game of basketball as a professional. Getting to this point has been a lifelong dream of mine, one I have pictured over and over since I was a little kid, so to hang up the sneakers now seems surreal. But it appears that I may not have a choice and I’ll let what will be, be and know that it will work out. So here is why I’ve come to this point.

After hitting the deer in Hungary I thought it was best for my family and I to play somewhere else. The accident not only left me with a fear of deer on the road (or brown bushes) but cost a lot financially. The Hungarian government tried taking away my license for 3 months, making me pay for the deer I killed (up to $5,000) and also threatened to make me pay for the teammate that was riding with me hospital bill. They said I was liable because there was a deer warning sign a few KM back and because I was liable I also had to pay for the car I just totaled. Apparently insurance wouldn’t cover it.

So after that great experience I went to Finland. I wanted a change in scenery and hopefully springboard my career to where I could get a good job for next year. Unfortunately I chose the wrong situation to do so. While my team was talented, we were unfortunately not compensated in a timely matter. The financial strain on my family (wife and 2 kids) was too much after the accident and not being paid that we felt it was best to leave Finland on the flight that was already purchased from Hungary. This was a very tough decision for me but I could not put my family at risk any longer being so far from home without a reliable income.

I have now moved to plan B, C and maybe even D. I have my door wide open to continue playing for the right situation. My family and I love to travel and would jump at the opportunity to continue living abroad. That is plan A. Plan B is not so bad either. I have started a management company with my Dad which owns and operates three companies. I was able to come home and get right to work which has been a major blessing.  It’s been a lot of fun putting my MBA education to work in a legitimate business. My basketball academy, Roots Basketball, has unfortunately suffered because of the other business but is starting back up next month. We will have clinics in the months of Sept and October and we are expecting over 40 kids. Lastly, if I can’t play overseas I want to start an IBL team in my hometown and run it under a European model, sponsors on jersey’s and rely on advertising for income not only ticket sales. No matter what I’m going to find a way to keep playing competitively.

As August comes to a close I get a major itch to take an offer.  So far I have had Hungary, Turkey, Romania and few other small leagues make offers but nothing that will pull me away from my business endeavors. Below are updated highlight tapes and game film for those who want to check it out. I finished with 17.9 PPG and 5.9 ASST in Hungary while averaging 13.3 PPG 3.1 ASST on 55% from the field, 48% from 3 and 93% from FT in Finland. The year was a great learning experience and I look forward to whatever may be next in my life.

Highlight Tape

31 pts 9 assists @ Szolnok (Euro challenge team)-

29 points in Finland-

Watch Out for Hungarian Deer.

Just imagine you in this scenario with me;

I was driving down the road on a cold fall night and have my whole family with me. My 4 year old daughter, 9 month old son, wife and a teammate who I was giving a ride home. The sun just went down and I just exited the freeway heading down a country road in the middle of nowhere. Everything is quiet and my family is in the back asleep or dazing off. I stare off into the reach of my headlights as the lines pass one by one. Cruising along at exactly the speed limit, 110 km (68.35 mph), when out of nowhere this runs into the middle of the road;

One one-thousand, two one-thousand… BAM! The deer hit the front rolls up the hood and smashes straight into the windshield with a sudden burst of cold air. Broken glass, crunching medal and tire screeching are the only sounds I hear as I slowly open my eyes and see a deer the size of a horse flying off the car and onto the side of the road. It twitches for a few seconds and dies.

The result;

Looking down I see blood pouring onto my pants and then the thought comes… my family. Looking in the back seat I see if everyone is ok. Two kids are screaming but my wife assures me everyone is fine. With blood on my shirt and pants I had no idea if it was my blood, the deer’s blood, or someone else’s. Lucky for me it was mine, so I went into Rambo mode and took my shirt off and tied it around my head. Trying to assess the situation I could not figure out what the taste in my mouth was. As I’m spitting I realized it was deer hair.

I go around to the back to get my kids out of the car and glass was everywhere. My son is screaming with glass all over his hair and clothes, same for my daughter. As I am getting my son out of his car seat a notice a huge pile of deer feces, yes shit, right next to his car seat. It just missed him. Everyone gets out of the car and we do our best to dust off the glass.

Luckily two things happened. I had a brief instant of clarity and flashed back to my driver’s safety course… just hit it, don’t swerve. If I would have pulled the wheel we would have rolled into a deep ditch on either side. Second, there were cars that stopped and helped us out. They called an ambulance, directed traffic and even gave my daughter some candy. Needless to say we were all pretty shook up and tried collecting our things scattered everywhere when the ambulance arrived.

We took the ambulance to the hospital in Kaposvar. On the way we again noticed the glass all over us. My daughter had it in her underwear, I had it in my ears and my teammate Soma had it in his eyes. It was absolutely everywhere and we found it in apartment all over for the next few months. The worst part, for my wife, was after picking off the glass we begin to notice something else in our hair and on our clothes. Deer Ticks. They were all over us.

Now needless to say it was a traumatizing experience. Luckily we walked away from it because we could have very easily died. I had a big cut on my forehead from… the deer hitting my head? The glass hitting my head? The GPS flying? No idea but besides a few cuts on my wife and I, we were all safe. So phew right? We’re all safe, we can put that behind us.

Well not quite. I continued playing and our team was doing well. Moved up to as high as 6th in the standings and I managed to score a season high 31 points at Szolnok a few days after the accident. A few months passed then in January I get a letter in the mail. The police found me liable for the deer/accident even though I was going exactly the speed limit. Because they found me liable they are going to take my license away for three months. Not only that but I am responsible for paying for the deer that I just killed with my car ($150- $5,000).  That’s right pay for the deer. To top it all off the insurance company would not cover the costs of the car because there was a deer warning sign next 7 kilometers on the road. So because my contract stated that if I’m found negligent in an accident I would be liable for the damage I now owe the club a substantial amount of money. Awesome.

Now if this happened in your home town this would be a pretty big deal. But compounded on the facts of the accident, we were in a foreign country where the Police on the scene didn’t speak English, the paramedics that arrived didn’t speak English and I have NO clue what any letter that comes in the mail says when it’s in Hungarian. Thankfully my teammate Soma was there to not only make sure my wife was in the back seat safely (thanks Soma) but to speak to everyone at the scene. The crazy thing is we randomly ran into Soma at the mall in Budapest and I asked him if he wanted a ride home rather than taking the train (we lived 2 hours from Budapest and there are several major malls in the area). It was fate that Soma was there but I’m guessing he wished he would have taken the train.

So this incident has left me fearing every brown bush on the side or the road, cringing any time I see a car wreck on TV and I’m pretty much terrified of deer (don’t be surprised if I become an avid deer hunter… with something besides a car).  And I am not kidding you this deer was at least 12 points and was taller than the car. Look at the minimal damage to the front end in that picture compared to the top of the car. IT WAS HUGE! So here in Helsinki I don’t drive a car…. I take the tram.

Watch out for deer in Hungary!

If you want to know more about me visit my website www.joshwilsonbasketball.com, check out my highlights on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApGzS3h-csQ, or check out my basketball academy at www.rootsbasketball.com

Season update; Finished the last game with 29 points on 7/7 from 2 3/6 from 3 and 6/8 from the line. By far the best game of the year for me personally. We also won which is big because it’s the team we’ll most likely play in the playoffs. Highlights of the game- http://youtu.be/n_5eoHbabbo