Basketball (special guest: Rick Torbett)
I have always been extremely insecure about basketball and I may be too nervous now, but I did make a few shots beforehand and watch the video trailer, I also make a shot in there. But the point being, I had a junior high PE coach at one point in time, he was like you dribble like a caveman he was like you should go back to wrestling, and I did, and I just quit, and I was like ah, I got no vertical, I can't shoot, air balls, embarrassing, I'm not gonna do it. And then a friend of mine, Nivi, who is one of the co-creators of Venture Hacks, also AngelList, told me about Better Basketball. And at the time I was like yeah, basketball, nah, thanks but no thanks, and I came back to it only for the four hour shop 'cause I asked this, what am I most afraid of? There's swimming which I was terrified of for so long. I tackled that. And then there's basketball. So for the first time in my life I was actually able to make some foul shots and even some three pointers. And we had no in person coachi...
ng at all, it was from a system that you've laid out. So I would love for you to talk about just a little bit and then we'll jump right into the how to bit, just the origin of the system and some of the results that you've had would be great.
Great, well, by the way, thanks, what an honor to be here, okay.
I'm excited to have you.
After that last session my next video is gonna be better baking, maybe better barbecue.
Better jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
That was actually, that, I'm gonna need two days just to download the ideas from this, it's great. What an honor to be here. This started when I was, when I was coaching in the off-season mainly. Parents came to me with their kids and asked me to train them. And the first mistake I made is you know, success can breed a myth, right?
So, I was a good shooter, I thought well I'll teach them to shoot the way I shoot, right? No, no, no, no.
It didn't work.
It doesn't, it doesn't work, you know, we're all made a little differently. So the system that I got is really a result of about, of about 15 years of a lot of private training, and just looking for common principles, what works, what doesn't, the science behind it.
And I mean you've worked with a lot of individuals, a lot of different teams to improve their scoring percentages.
You've also had some pros come in and demonstrate in your videos as well.
And what's wonderful to see is you can always still improve. I remember one thing you told me about, negative motion.
When even pros would do that, and we'll get to it. But using your legs to propel the ball, not your arm, using your arms to really refine the accuracy. So let's, let's, what I would suggest maybe is just focusing on a basic foul shot or free-throw, but what I would love to talk about is just how you, what's the progression, what do you start someone with? Because we'll get to it, but the eye dominance blew me away, so maybe you could just walk us through like the basic form position and the progression that you recommend.
Excellent, excellent. The secret there, progression is the word, and you're right, I wouldn't start at the free throw line, I wouldn't start at the three point line, I'd start right about here where I'm at, okay? So the, and I'm gonna hit on several component parts of a shot, and then I'll come back and we'll put 'em all together, I'll bounce around between 'em, okay? But the first thing what you've gotta do is get a grip, get a grip on the ball, okay, and the best way to start this is to set it in the waiter's position, like you're a waiter in a restaurant, and I like what you said, that 90 degree angles are your friends, right, I like that.
90 degree there, 90 degree there. So this is parallel to the ground, this is vertical to the ground, okay? I'm headed toward my stroke, because I don't care what you do with the rest of your body, great shooters, all great shooters, they may have a difference in timing and their feet and this, but they all have a great stroke from right here to the finish, they have a great stroke, and that's only gonna come with repetition and I'll get to it in just a moment. But the beginning of this is to set it here. Now what do you do with this hand? I don't like calling it the weak hand, 'cause it does a lot of things, okay? But it basically goes up on the side, sounds like it on the side, okay? So my fingers are pointing, if I didn't have a ball, these are pointing to the ceiling, okay, my thumb's pointing toward my eye, okay, when I'm sitting in the waiter position. But from right here all I wanna do is bring this down and don't violate the right angles that I've formed. So this is my set position, this is where the shot begins, in front of my numbers on my jersey, okay? Now, back to this weak hand, this guide hand.
The guide hand.
This is really a pick up and hold hand and in order for me to keep this wrist set, which is important when it comes to negative motion, I've gotta be able to pinch the ball a little bit and push the ball back against this hand to keep it set. So it's actually these two fingers or three fingers form a little bit of a pinch here, they push the ball this way, so it may look like my hand's on the side, and it is, okay, but these fingers are providing a force that keeps it, keeps the ball cocked and set, okay? So, so I wanna see your grip, just show me.
I'll explain, this is a really important point, and so I have broken and damaged both wrists really badly, so that is about as much range motion as I have.
I'm glad you said that.
But what really.
'Cause that's not that imp--
Yeah, but what really, what really struck me is that if your hand isn't back it can't go forward.
And so I was shooting very much like this and then I couldn't get the proper stroke.
And so just, taking it back even a few degrees was really helpful for me.
That's pretty good, that's.
That's as good as I can go.
That's really good, yeah.
Hey, if you can only go back so far just go back that far.
And, but I'll let you continue, but just the, yeah, the, I love it, it's like to take something that I feared for so long and actually feel like it's conquerable.
So I'll let you continue.
Those shots, those shots just before we started, all that's between you and a great shot is repetition now, 'cause you've got. And if you are gonna take a journey, it's important to plan ahead of time, okay? If you wanna go as far as you wanna go. So, this shot's not a shot for Horse or for target shooting, I'm trying to establish a base from which I can take any shot in a game which is usually on the move, okay, it's gotta be quick, it's gotta be instinctive, okay? So this foundation part is extremely important if you wanna go further into the game, all right? So, that's my grip, right? This is my grip. Now to work on the stroke we can actually take this hand off 'cause we're not moving, okay? And we can, we can get to the edge of a backboard or we can, I'll show you my two favorites, is to get to the edge of a backboard here and just work on this stroke, okay? Now, I'm gonna have a relaxed full extension with my arm, relaxed, not super flexed, but relaxed, full extension like this, I don't want a broken arm like this to finish. Okay? And the reason for this is if you're in the game a while we take this backspin for granted. When you're throwing a baseball you're not putting a backspin on it, when you're throwing a knife it's got topspin on it. But a basketball, think about this, I'm sending the basketball in this direction and yet the spin is backwards, that's, that's, when you're starting out with a kid that's, that's strange to them.
So we're gonna actually stroke the ball like this and when I stroke it these two fingers basically keep the ball from falling side to side, these three, these three that wind up stroking, giving forward motion and a little bit of backspin. My next favorite is just to get here, an arm's distance away, sit this in the waiter's position, and just go over the front of the rim, okay? And just get used to, just get used to that stroke. And in my mind what I'm saying right now is just over the front of the rim. I don't wanna get any rim, I just wanna go over the front of the rim, that's a miss for me, okay? For me to touch the rim should be a miss, okay? And I used to drive my mom and dad crazy because I'd lay on the floor on my back at home and practice this stroke, which if my back was on the floor I'd be pushing this way, right? So I'm pushing the ball up to the ceiling and just, I just wanna nick the ceiling, you know? And I did, you know? We got marks all over our ceiling.
Moms love that.
You know those little.
I used to box the, like the lamp.
And that's why I developed the shooter's stroke, you know, you can get a lot of reps that way. And I'm gonna come back to this, but we can't shoot with just one hand in the game, because you've gotta be able to pick this up and guide it while you're on the move, right? But there's something that most shooters do with this guide hand that if they make this simple correction they'd see their percentages go up, and it's this, I'm gonna shoot to you, okay? I'm gonna let it bounce once between us, okay. So you're the goal, right? So when I take this shot, both of my arms are extended, you see this? I don't drop it like this, I don't drop it like this, okay, I don't bend my elbow out or anything like this, both arms are extended, and the reason for that, there's two very good reasons for it. One of 'em is I wanna frame the goal on my finish, okay? So on my finish, just stay right here, if your head was the goal, I actually wanna, let me just move your head like this.
I already done this with ya.
I wanna frame his, frame, this is on the top of the window frame, this is on the side of the window frame now the goal's a little higher, but this is where I wanna frame the goal from wherever I'm shooting, I wanna catch just like I'm catching your face between the goal post here, I wanna catch the rim between my forearms here. This is gonna be on top, this is gonna be on the side, okay, and the ball is gonna go where your hands finish. If I was shooting to the studio audience here, and I do this kind of stuff, right? How can I expect the ball to go there, right? The ball will go where your hands finish. So, we use the goal to catch between our wrist and the top of our window frame should never be below that little white square, it's probably gonna be at the top of the backboard pointing down into the goal. Okay? So, I think the success of this progression I have is rooted in the fact that I'm not gonna judge success for a while on made shots, that takes too long, okay? A made shot is gonna be the result of shooting the ball correctly, so I actually stay away from the goal for a long time, all right?
Can I jump in.
Yes, please, please do.
This is something that really helped me a lot, and I wanna, I wanna just explain some of the parallels. You remember I was talking about knife skills and no stakes practice, where you're not racing to prepare something for a meal, you're actually just cutting celery with let's say a lettuce knife. That breakthrough for me was not going to a crowded gym where I'm shooting on a basket and feeling embarrassed every time I miss, but actually going to a wall and finding a line and just trying to hit that line.
This is excellent.
Or standing at a line, which is an exercise from you.
And shooting to have it hit the line, bounce off, and then come back to me.
And the concept of left, right deviations being a miss.
But forward or backward deviation is being a make as long as you're--
Aiming in the proper direction was a huge breakthrough for me, so that allowed me to practice and really add the repetitions. And not to interrupt, but that was a huge breakthrough for me, just psychologically.
And we're gonna come back and touch on that because what he's alluding to is this. Look, if I miss short or long the ball still has a chance to go in. That's just a function of repetition, okay? It just takes time, okay, and I'm gonna give you some good, good exercises there for distance, okay? But if you miss left and right, you've got no chance, and missing left and right is a function of bad mechanics, and the first, if I can just leave you with one of two big things the one thing would be frame the goal and keep this arm up while we're here with the frame. If I drop this arm, watch this, I'm square to you, correct? To the studio audience, right? So if I drop this arm, I have a tendency to torque because I'm shooting with this, this shoulder leads, and it turns my body. Actually my feet land pointing here, not at you. This throws the ball that way. So if I miss, and just if you're a geek like me and you record games and look for this stuff, you're gonna find that when people miss a right hander misses to the left of the goal, you can rewind and look and you'll see their body torquing and turning, and the way you can stop that is keep this arm up right up here with this hand. Now I can't torque, I can't, it takes some of that torque off, okay? A clue is if you see yourself following through like this, do you see how I'm waving over here? Not at the goal. The reason you're doing that is intuitively your body knows, wait a minute, I've got a vector that's sending the ball that way because of my torque, I've gotta, I've gotta correct it this way and hope the sum sends it down the middle, that's not a very consistent way to shoot. So that's a clue that you can just tell the person or tell yourself, hey, I gotta frame and hold, and keep both up and stop myself from twisting and torquing.
And one of, one of my favorite principles that you've introduced me to, shot line, never thought of it before, and so I want you to, to correct me where I mess this up.
But just envisioning a vertical line that the ball never deviates from when you're going to take the shot, okay? But a lot of coaches, this is where the deconstruction comes in, teach this incorrectly.
And so they peg it I guess to the inside of the right foot if you're a right hander on that shoulder.
Yes, that's right.
And the left hand the opposite. And what I noticed, I was always missing shots, and it's like whether you miss a shot by that far or that far, if it bounces off at least in my mind I'm like ugh, failure, failure, failure.
And so what I would love you to teach these guys is the eye dominance test.
'Cause this blew my mind. I'm right handed, I shoot right handed if I'm doing marksmanship.
I billiards right handed, okay fine, but I was able missing these shots until I made a, literally a one inch correction.
So what's the eye dominance test?
Sure, this comes from, and you already know this to be true, when you see people hitting the golf ball what do they say to do with your head at this point? Keep your head down, keep your head still, right? When you are shooting, there's a guy coming with archery, right, I promise you when he lets go here his head doesn't move, okay? When you shoot a gun you don't.
I hope it doesn't move when he's shooting an apple on my head. (laughing)
Well, if you wanna increase the accuracy you eliminate excess motion, but especially the head when you pull the trigger. Now for us pulling the trigger is at this point. So some players I found were shooting and, and you could see them move their head like this at the point of, moving their head. Here's why. They instinctively line up the goal, they triangulate, right, with their eyes. One of them is a little more dominant than the other, okay? So there's an imaginary line from this dominant eye to the goal and we wanna start the ball on that line, move the ball up that line, and finish and frame on that line. I mean this finger on that line, okay? Now that's all fine and good if you're right eyed and right handed. So the ball winds up being set, I'm facing the studio audience here, I'm, this is the traditional line, right? This is kind of coming up my right eye here, okay? Well, here's the problem. What if you are right handed but left eye dominant? Then you'll find yourself, if you're taught to bring the ball up this traditional right side you'll find yourself right here going like this. (laughing)
And you don't, I mean you don't even, what is amazing to me was like I didn't, I had no self-awareness of it.
Because I also didn't have any background in this, so I was terrible, but.
So tell me the solution, what's the solution? I'll show 'em how to find their dominant eye.
Well okay, so the solution.
This is a small solution.
So this was wild, so the solution was, so I'm here, and there a few things, you know, that were really critical. So realizing and just in the interest of time I'll mention a few things we can maybe come back to.
Getting into the habit of always doing a tiny little jump shot even if you're really close to the basket.
I'll get to that, I wanna cover that big time.
So using your legs to proper the ball and your hands to aim, right?
But I took my shot line literally from here, right, right eye, to here, like a half inch.
Yeah, this much.
With coming up here instead of here, 'cause I found out that I was left eye dominant and right handed, and it went from like bing, bing, dong, bing, to whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.
But why, 'cause your head doesn't move.
You know? Once this ball passes your eye, eye line, and gets here, Tim's head doesn't move, okay? He doesn't move it like that and that's why it was throwing it off. It would be like if I wanna shoot an arrow to you, a bow and arrow, you don't hold it out like this, right? You, you put it on your shot line and when you were shooting like this with a left eye dominant that's the equivalent to holding a gun out like this trying to shoot a ring.
And just but very almost imperceptible movement that you, that you are aware of. So let's, let's show 'em the test.
Oh okay, you can do this from there, all right. If you just form a circle like this, stick it out in front of you as far as you can. And sight my nose, sight, just with both eyes open, with both eyes open.
Get his nose right in the middle, that's it.
Or Tim, you can. By the way, I can look at each of you, for instance, your left eye, because your left eye is the only eye I can see through your hole. But how do you find out, all right? Now, close your right eye, did my head move? Okay, then you're right eye dominant, okay? Do it again, open both.
That was cool!
Do it again, open both eyes, close your left eye. Now if I didn't move again, you're right eye dominant, does that make sense? Now you can go the other way.
Isn't that nuts?
Sight with both eyes, okay? Close your left eye now, if I move, if I'd moved you are left eye dominant. Is that right? So I can see your left eye through there, all right?
But the correction is simply not here, but here, it's just a matter of inches, basically coming up at the center of your body. Now before we run out of time, how do you shoot a three? Here's the biggest myth, if I can dispel this. These aren't used for distance. These are used to guide the ball, okay? This is fine motor control limbs here, they don't get the ball there, it's not a matter of this, okay? What gets the ball to the goal is this power that's generated from the floor up through your feet and will come out of your hands, okay? So the way to do that for you, I wanna, I'm gonna just do it with Tim. Tim let's not even do it with a ball, okay? Pretend you got a ball and get set. Now for him getting set means, this is the easiest way to learn what get set is. Is bend your knees, bend your butt, keep your back straight and hold your hands straight down. Now if you can touch your knee caps like I'm doing, I'm set. Don't go deeper, I'm ready to go okay. So, there's his set. I want him, I hope he took his coordination pills because I'm gonna ask him to just leave the ground and I want him to time breaking this wrist with his feet leaving the ground, okay? Fire. Okay now, if he could do, all right, set, let's do it again. Let's just watch him, see if he can time these two.
This is something I've actually found challenging.
Set, fire. Good. So Tim is not jumping, hanging, testing the wind, and then shooting, right? Okay, no, what he's doing is, get set. On his way up there's a power wave that's coming up, going, go up slow motion, and as this power comes up through him, right here when he breaks his wrist that's what's gonna send the ball to the goal. That's all your distance, your distance is your legs and your core and your hips, okay? These need to be relaxed 'cause this is fine motor control, they simply guide the ball. As a quick example, Tim, look, I'll keep my body straight and I've done this a lot, so I'm a little stronger than most in my wrist and my arm, okay? But look, from right here, that's about as much distance as I can get, and I'm, I'm, I'm straining, okay? I shouldn't be, okay? If I'm gonna have any height to it. That's about it, what, three, four feet distance, okay? That's the most my hand can or should do? I don't need to ask it to do distance, okay? So, my legs are gonna get me the ball to the goal, all right, and I, the way we get this three point shot Tim is we start, I start in really close like this and I have the kid to get set just like this, and when I say fire, they're gonna frame the goal, try to go in front of the rim and we're just gonna start slowly working our way back to the three point shot.
One point I'll add, I wanna get his name right. It was JJ.
Yes, JJ Redick.
Redick, an amazing shooter, and correct me if I'm wrong but he'll start right here and do like 25, 50. Step back, 25, 50. And this is one of the best shooters in the game.
Okay? The other thing that really struck me and I was like, huh, I never really thought about that, is you see guys hit shots from way back here, they don't, they don't come three feet off the ground.
I mean a lot of these guys I mean just, just a bare clearance.
Yeah, they don't jump to shoot over people. The jump is to get the ball to the goal, okay? And so I've been able to with this method I've been able to with a little time and repetition move seventh grade girls out to the three point line and hit threes effortlessly, you don't see 'me straining, you don't see their head jerky 'cause they're trying to get the ball there, it's all matter of where you're getting your power. So if I could just leave you with two things, two big things, it would be break your wrist when your feet leave the ground, okay? And frame the goal and keep both arms extended. It will cover a multitude of sins if you can just do those two things.
It's really about, 30 seconds to go, I'll add one more.
30 seconds, okay.
Just in the interest of behavioral change, and if you're tackling something you really fear, no stakes practice. So I spent tons of time, I had actually not done that before the side of, off the backboard, which is great. But I actually did a wall, 'cause I was, I was nervous, a bunch of basketball players, I was like uh, like I'll be over here and I would just shoot, bounce, and I'd wanted to bounce and come back and hit the line that I was, that I was straddling. I did that over and over and over again, and then when everybody else left I'd go over and start practicing here and it started going in, and it started going in, and it started going in. And we do have a gift, I believe gifts for all of you. And I encourage everybody to check this out. We have, we have dedicated an entire section to Rick's approach to teaching this in a four hour shift, but we do have some gifts and if you'd like to tell them what they're getting.
We absolutely would. Everyone in the audience is getting copies of Rick Torbett's Better Shooting and Better Ball Handling DVD. (audience applauds)
And there are. That's great, I really appreciate it. It's full of little tips, I mean, I'm not, I'll add one more and then we gotta run, but just for instance, like if anyone passes you the ball again, this is from the standpoint of a novice, but like catching and then stepping into it to get a little bit of extra distance.
And I'll tell you this, I am actually not a basketball player, I actually don't have any desire to be a basketball player, but I find it relaxing to shoot hoops and the reason I actually took it seriously is because I have friends who are really big Lakers junkies and they force me to watch games and I wanted to enjoy watching the game. I didn't know what was going on, and I had no appreciation, and now I see this like kinesthetic ballet and I enjoy basketball. I don't ever have to play, it's just fun to watch.
Tim, Tim can I tell this one mental thought for a minute.
I mean a really quick mental thought. Three F's, and I stole this from a friend of mine named Spencer Wood, Icebox Athlete is his website. There's a mental aspect to shooting, okay, that if you're playing defense or rebounding you want a high emotional content 'cause that recruits your gross, your major muscle groups, but when it comes to shooting or anything on offense you need a lower emotional content, and that's why you hear people saying, wow, that he's just got ice water in his veins, or oh they're such a cool shooter. That's because they've learned that they perform best at a lower emotional content, okay, on offense. So, remember these three F's, when you miss, okay, when you miss, in about a half a second these three F's have gotta go through your mind. You've gotta flush the emotion, it's over with, it's done, gone. I can't, I can't beat myself up on this, I've missed, flush the emotion, 'cause emotion changes your next action, okay? Next step, fix it. How did I miss, I missed to the right, oh, I gotta frame the goal, right? Oh I missed short, I gotta get a little more legs into this, okay, in half a second. And flush, fix, and then forget it. Because the next action is coming and we've gotta be able to play. Flush, fix, and forget. And you'll wind up mentally becoming a little higher percentage shooter, thanks.
And that applies to basketball plus to screwing up and making a fool of yourself in Spanish applies to getting thrown on your head by Dave Camarillo and trying to not get thrown on your head. So anyway, thank you very much, this was great.
Great, thank you Tim. (audience applauds)