Brian McCormick's "Hard 2 Guard Player Development Newsletter":
I believe Steve Nash is the best shooter to play in the NBA, at least since the NBA incorporated the three-point line. While my belief is based primarily on observation, the numbers support the theory. John Hollinger, the creator of the player efficiency rankings, ranks Nash as the all-time #1 shooter based on a combined shooting range (CSR) which adds 2-point percentage, 3-pt % and FT%.
According to Hollinger’s rankings, four players are career 180 Shooters: Nash (184.9), Steve Kerr (181.2), Reggie Miller (180.7) and Mark Price(180.7). Also, Steve Nash and Larry Bird are the only players to finish multiple seasons in the even more difficult 90-50-40 club (90% FT, 50% 2-pt FG% and 40% 3-pt FG%). Bird accomplished the feat twice, while Nash has accomplished the feat four times ('06, '08, '09, and '10). Based on the numbers, I do not see much room to argue for anyone else.
If we agree that Nash is the best shooter of all time, why don’t more players emulate him?
Last season during the play-offs, several NBA bloggers tweeted that players who mimic a shot before shooting a free throw shot a higher percentage than those who did not. This was anecdotal and observational, and not a real study, but science supports the claim.
Nash, of course, motions to the official to hold the ball so that he can go through his routine and take a practice shot without the ball. Few other players have copied this routine even as Nash as evolved into this generation’s best shooter. One would think that hundreds of youth players would copy Nash in the same way that many in previous generations copied Pete Maravich drills in an attempt to handle the ball like the Pistol.
Robert Singer developed a five-step Performance Model for closed skill (self-paced) performance. His five steps were:
When we instruct youth players to use a pre-performance routine, we essentially use this model.
The Readying phase is used to create the proper attitude for performance and to control emotions. I instruct players to receive the ball away from the line and take in a deep breath through the nose and out through the mouth. This helps to slow the heart rate and eliminate tension.
A pre-performance routine accomplishes three main physical goals
1. Stabilizes the motor pattern
2. Adds consistency
3. Establishes a rhythm
When Nash attempts his practice shot, he uses the Imaging step. Rather than pure visualization, where a player may imagine a previous made shot, Nash adds the kinesthetic element. He imagines the ball going through the basket, but he also feels the shot.
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