Tom Nordland

The Coach's Notebook is proud to review

Swish 2 DVD
Learning & Coaching
The Swish Method

by Tom Nordland

To order the video click here.

Tom Nordland's Swish 2 DVD is changing the face of basketball as you read this. Players out there are learning how to be great shooters. Don't let your kids miss out on this! - Steve Jordan

Tom Nordland
The Man, the Clinic and the Video

The Man

Tom Nordland is a man on a mission. I'm dead serious about that. I finally had chance to meet the highly respected shooting coach in person when he recently visited Alaska. We even had a chance to sit down, spend an afternoon together and just "talk shop". Or, if you'll pardon the pun, "talk shot". When Tom starts talking about the fundamental skills of shooting a basketball, his zeal is not only evident, its absolutely captivating. He had me spell-bound for nearly an hour as we talked before his clinic in Anchorage.

You see, Tom Nordland really is a man on a mission. He is out to change the world of basketball, and change it where it needs help the most - shooting. Now that I have had an opportunity to listen to Tom personally, attend his 4 hour clinic and view both of his outstanding videos, I am starting to see the basketball world as he sees it, and its not pretty. Poor shooting abounds. Its everywhere. It would be depressing, except for one thing. The word is getting out about Swish 2. Not just a little, but a lot. Not only is Tom in constant demand around the world to conduct shooting clinics, but tens of thousands of the Swish videos have been sold and interest is accelerating. The mission is gaining momentum.

However, Tom has a very demanding schedule. There's just not enough of him to go around. He actually held 6 clinics in the 4 days he was here in Alaska. I don't know where he gets the energy. He says he runs on adrenaline once each clinic starts, but I think its something else. He knows his message is important and he loves seeing it make a positive difference in the lives of other people. That's what drives him. The good news is that he is working on developing trainers to spread the word about the Swish method. That's exciting. The bad news is that you may not be fortunate enough to attend a Tom Nordland shooting clinic, so I'll try to describe it here.

The Swish Clinic

We started our clinic at 5:30PM. In attendance were 18 players, 5 coaches and a few parents who came to watch. Nobody knew quite what to expect.

I was immensely curious to see how Tom would convince high school players to change their way of shooting. Goodness knows, our kids need to learn better technique. But, in my experience, trying to get teenage boys to change their shooting form is like trying to get them to change their batting swing in baseball. There are some things that are so ingrained inside a person that they are impossible (almost) to alter. If you offer tips that don't get immediate results, the kids won't change a bit. Even if you force them. As soon as you turn your back, they switch back to their old habits.

We had four whole hours. Tom briefly introduced himself and then his shooting method. I see now why he had the kids just sit and listen instead of getting right into a shooting activity. Tom is soft-spoken, but the enthusiasm exudes as he talks. The kids listen. They immediately sense he has knowledge that will help them be better players.

Tom went over many of the common misconceptions about shooting, such as "squaring up" and "putting your hand in the cookie jar". These are phrases that basketball players have been hearing for so long they are simply accepted, unquestioned. In their place, Tom offers simplicity and consistency. When he finally demonstrated his technique, the kids stared wide-eyed as he drained swish after swish after swish.

Tom has a wonderful way of teaching. He is always positive. He gently encourages the players and builds their confidence. During the four hours he taught, he didn't say one single critical or demeaning word. As a result, the kids quickly got past the stage fright of shooting in front of the others. They were willing to try his method, especially after seeing how successfully their peers were shooting the basketball.

The Swish method is simple, smooth and relaxed. Its not hard to explain. And one of the beautiful "take-aways" of the clinic is that the kids were able to understand it well enough that they could give instant, meaningful feedback to their partners in the shooting drills. Not useless verbiage like, "nice shot", but important information about ball rotation, release and footwork.

Another huge benefit of the clinic was that every player went home with an understanding of shooting technique which was sufficient enough to allow them to self-correct when they practice on their own. Every player has a slump now and then, but a player who has the resources to analyze his own shot won't be in a slump very long.

As I said up front, our players really needed help. Our shooting percentages from the floor and the free throw line were dismal this season. So, you can imagine how delightfully shocked I was to see some of our kids who had struggled the most nailing shot after shot by the end of the clinic. It was amazing.

The Swish Videos - Swish and Swish 2

I did a review on the original Swish video a couple years ago. Its available in the Topic Menu, upper right-hand corner of this site. I highly recommend the first Swish video. It is loaded with ways to teach the Swish method.

Swish 2 brings the essence of great shooting to you in a 1 hour 56 minute package. Grab a latte and a notepad and watch it. If you don't have a notepad, don't worry. When the video is over, you will understand the method. I think any ordinary parent or player could view this DVD, view it, and understand exactly what Tom talks about - and feel motivated to go right out and try it.

Experienced coaches (with built in biases about how shooting should be taught) may feel like there should be more technical input, but then they would be missing the point. The Swish Method is supposed to be simple and easy to learn. I found it very well organized and explained.

I'll share four essential elements of shooting discussed in the video.

  • The first point covered in the Swish 2 video is a concept Tom calls "Upforce". It takes advantage of the natural power of the body as the player straightens up or jumps. Once the kids get the knack (its easy) of releasing the ball a little earlier than they are used to, they suddenly find they have much more range and consistency. You can practice this by shooting against a wall until it feels comfortable. I think one of the biggest problems our kids had was an established habit of shooting at the peak of their jump (another misguided coaching axiom). Once they understood the "Upforce", their shots clicked. The kids relaxed, became confident. Their shots went in.

  • The second crucial element is aligning the ball as long as possible as it is being set and released as a control to ensure accuracy. I was able to test this myself with a variety of shots, thinking about facing my palm to the basket as I brought the ball into position to shoot. This felt very comfortable, from free throws to runners in the key. It works!

  • The third important element is the relaxed release. Tom covers how to hold the ball comfortably, but the real performance gain is in the "wrist-flop", where the wrist is loose and even bounces as the ball is lofted. With power generated from the "Upforce", the wrist and hand don't need to power the ball, rather they gently guide the shot, keeping it on line. Very effective.

  • Fourth, as you go to shoot, the last adjustment is for distance. The angle (or height) of the shot is varied, as necessary, to accommodate different amounts of leg power and distance. The release speed stays the same, so something else has to vary, and that is the height or angle. You will know instinctively to raise or lower the angle of the release (and thus the trajectory) at the last instant. That way your release can go fully to the end of the arm every time, without worrying about being too strong or too weak.

Obviously I am very excited about what we have learned about shooting. I feel like I know exactly what I need to teach. The Swish 2 video gives you that kind of confidence. I know what it is like to see the expectant faces of my players, all wondering what I have to offer their basketball futures. You know that look, too. Invest just two hours with Tom Nordland and his Swish 2 DVD, and you will be able to look them in the eye, feel sure that you have a simple, explainable shooting methodology that will provide immediate results.

Steve Jordan

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The Swish 2 DVD price is only $29.95, plus S&H, tax in California


Package #1: Original Swish Video tape PLUS the new Swish 2 DVDPrice $39.90
($15 off new prices, including reduced-price Swish tape) Plus S&H, tax in California

Package #2: Original Swish DVD PLUS the new Swish 2 DVDPrice $44.90
($15 off the list price) plus S&H, tax in California

Coach's Notebook review of the original Swish video!

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