The Coach's Notebook is proud to review

A Guide to Great Basketball Shooting

by Tom Nordland

To order the video click here.

Articles by Coach Nordland featured on this site:
The Trouble With Shooting!
What Can Be Done With Free Throws!
The ABC's of Great Shooting!
Taking the Lid Off the Basket?
Danger Signs of Poor Shooting
Simple Coaching for Improved Shooting


You may have noticed that there aren't many product reviews on this site. In fact, as I write this, there is only one other. Now that I have finally sat down and watched the Swish video and taken my new knowledge to practice with me, I feel both qualified and compelled to pass what I can to you as a review of his offering.

As a little background, the Coach's Notebook is dedicated to new basketball coaches. It was created because I wished I had a source to go to when I was just starting out. In building the site, I was forced to think through all the things I'd learned by experience to be able to explain them to our readers. I remember what it was like as a new coach trying to convey a point I inherently understood as a player to a child brand new to basketball. Because the child knows nothing of your history and experience, the only common ground you have is common sense. You must explain the game from its simplest precepts and build upon those one thin layer at a time.

This is where Tom Nordland's video comes into play. Perhaps you're an inexperienced volunteer coach or parent just hoping to help your kids learn to shoot. What can you show them that can make a difference? Or, perhaps you have played basketball in one form or another for twenty years and believe you know a thing or two about shooting. That's great, but have you really sat down and fully analyzed your shooting mechanics? In either case, how will you explain the proper methods for shooting a basketball? What kind of drills do you know that will reinforce the proper techniques?

Tom Nordland has spent much of life not just learning to shoot, but also learning to teach others to shoot. The Swish video isn't a first-time effort - it's a life's work. If you watch it, you'll find yourself nodding in agreement as he explains something you already knew about shooting. The real value is that you now know how to teach it as well. That's a big help.

There are many fundamental skills demonstrated in the video - basic, essential techniques like how to hold the ball, how to release the shot, how to use your legs to power the shot. New coaches often overlook such details when teaching shooting. It takes a lot of coaching experience to add the details to your teaching and to quickly recognize common flaws in shooting habits. The Swish video will make these details quite clear and save you years of learning only through your own experience.

In my first practice after watching the video, I had my 9th and 10th graders sit cross-legged on the floor. We each had a basketball. As I discussed grip and release techniques I saw on the video, the kids all copied them. By sitting on the floor we focused our attention on grip and release. Without the distractions of a basket or footwork, we made some real progress in a matter of minutes. Then, with players in two lines facing each other (still sitting), we "shot" the balls to each other. Release and arc problems were very obvious. Yet, we were having so much fun and laughing about it that no one felt very self-conscious. I'm not saying that the players were instantly cured of release problems, but they went home that day with a solid understanding of the proper technique. That's something they will have forever and can work on whenever they want.

We also used some of the shooting drills that day. The drill where three players make a line pointing to the basket and then shoot in turn over each other's shot (to improve the shooting arc) was really popular. We made a game of it to see which team of three would be the first to "swish" all three shots in a row. It was fun.

In closing, I encourage you to visit the Swish website and think about buying the video. It will give you a lot of material to bring to your future practices. The video is accompanied by a workbook that will minimize the need to take notes.

Steve Jordan

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