The National Basketball Association has witnessed many great long-distance shooters in its history, but Ray Allen stands alone as the all-time leader. With 3,209 three-pointers made going into the 2013 season, his textbook shooting technique has been honed by hours of practice and repetition. Allen understands that shooting mechanics can be the difference between a good basketball player and a great one, and the only way to ensure consistency is to shoot the basketball the right way every time.
Practice Makes Perfect
Allen shoots hundreds of shots every day to perfect his technique, including a routine before every game that requires him to make 150 shots. He shoots from five spots on the floor and must make five shots before moving to the next spot from five different distances. In between each set, he shoots five foul shots. This is an impressive feat when you consider that he then plays a regulation NBA game.
Things Stay the Same
Allen shoots with the same form every time. His right arm is in the shape of the letter "L" and his right elbow is locked in the same position each time he lets go of the ball. It means the ball will travel on the same trajectory toward the basket every time. He releases the ball at the peak of his jump, ensuring the basketball has the correct arc and giving it more of a chance to fall into the basket.
The Lower Body
In every situation, Allen squares his feet up to the basket before releasing his shot with his knees slightly bent so he can shoot his shot quickly. The toe of his shooting foot is pointed directly at the hoop, which causes his shoulders and head to be square to the basket. His weight is distributed equally so he jumps straight up and comes straight back down. There's no extra movement that might cause his shot to veer off course.
As Allen is jumping to shoot, his wrist is cocked back so his palm faces upward, and his fingertips face backward over his shooting shoulder. The ball rests on the fingertips of his shooting hand. His non-shooting hand only secures the ball. While jumping, he extends his arm upward and flicks his wrist to create backspin. He then holds his follow-through as if he is waving goodbye to the basketball. Even after executing each of these steps, Allen stays in one place and watches the flight of the ball before turning to run down the floor.