Steph Curry: Master of the 3-Pointer
“The best shooters shoot the exact same way every single time they look at the basket.” – Stephen Curry, NBA player
This quote from Steph Curry largely explains why people consider him one of the best basketball shooters. Furthermore, his impressive stats bolster this claim. Whether it’s his jump shots or no-look 3-pointers, he has elevated his game to great heights, something that he achieved through dedication and passion for shooting. In this post, I’ve shared some of Steph Curry’s comments and quotes about basketball shooting. These insights not only reveal his mindset but also offer valuable tips for anyone looking to improve their own shooting skills
1. For Curry, the “chicken wing” elbow is a big no!
Steph Curry, on a famous YouTube channel called First We Feast, discussed the dynamics of shooting in detail and specifically mentioned the term “chicken wing,” which is commonly used in basketball when a player’s elbow appears to resemble the folded shape of a chicken wing during the motion of shooting a basketball.
A flawed elbow position can deter perfect shooting.
“The angle of your elbow, It’s really hard if you have the chicken wing. You rarely see this one, where people come up and bring it back out. The chicken wing is deadly because it’s hard to create the same arc with it, the same power.” – Curry’s comment on shooting shows how doing the small things right can have a bigger impact in the game.
He stated that to get the desired arc and power while shooting, if the elbow is not positioned correctly it would get difficult to shoot properly. It will result in inconsistency and lack of stability, both of which are required during shooting. When you are in motion, your elbow should be in line with the ball and the palm of your hand. This alignment helps the ball stay in front of you.
He said, “As long as your elbow is as close to 90 degrees as possible, I’m much more confident in somebody being able to repeat that.” Curry is ranked among all time greats when it comes to shooting in basketball. And he is known for his picture perfect shooting skills and the command he has gained over his technique.
2. It’s all about finesse and fundamentals.
In an old interview with Forbes, Curry touched upon the importance of having a strong base when shooting. He stated that although everyone has their own way or technique of shooting, the basic principle – the positioning of feet and hips – remains the same for all.
“I’m more like finesse, with a lot of touch. But if you go waist down, it’s all the same.” – he said in an interview with Forbes. Curry emphasizes that the player’s lower body should be parallel to the rim, ideally at a 90-degree angle. When the base is aligned in this way, the chances of missing the shot are significantly reduced.
“That means I’ve got 10 toes facing the basket.”, Curry makes it crystal clear.
3. Be process-oriented, not result-oriented.
Even though Curry has seen more success than failure in his career, there is always a time when even the greatest in the game have to go through a difficult phase. There have been quite a few seasons when Curry didn’t put up the shooting stats one expects from him. But that didn’t sway Curry away from his process, which enabled him to achieve all the success he achieved throughout his career.
“I’m never results-based, so the approach and what you do going into every game remains the same, and eventually it will turn around. You just can’t lose confidence.” Curry has had his share of struggles, but he stayed true to his process. (Source)
4. Read the defense.
“You have to be able to take what the defense gives you… The more you can create good shots throughout the course of a game, the more demoralized the defense gets, and their game plan kinda goes out the window.” – Steph Curry
One thing that stands out in Steph Curry’s game is his ability to adapt his game according to what the situation demands at any given time. Adjusting the attack without giving any advantage to the opponents is a must-have skill for any basketball shooter, and Curry himself is a prime example of that.
5. Balance and rhythm go hand in hand.
Staying present and maintaining the right mindset throughout the game are both equally important. This is something Steph Curry not only focuses on himself, but also emphasizes in his advice to others. All the different aspects of the game, whether footwork, agility, or positioning, require a well-oiled muscle memory, which can only be effectively put to work if we have the right physical and cognitive balance.
“It’s a thought and a feeling all at the same time. If I’m in balance, and that can mean a lot of different things. I can be moving right, left, forward, backward, one foot, two feet, whatever it is.” – Curry in an interview for a podcast.
6. Visualization is the key.
Visualizing and even simulating the actual game situations play an important role in the preparation for the game. Thinking through different match scenarios and then formulating your own counter-strategies can actually heighten your brain and body’s alertness when you face the real situation.
“There’s a feeling of balance that no matter how many times I’ve been in the gym shooting any type of shot or envisioning a game kind of unfolding with your mental process and all that.” – Curry on the importance of visualization.
Visualization for an athlete is more like a rehearsal for an artist. Artists rehearse rigorously before their actual performance, but the key difference is that they know how it will unfold as most things are choreographed. In sports, especially in a fast-paced sport like basketball, things unfold as the game progresses, and visualization becomes a great way to anticipate and prepare for the actual game.
7. Your form matters the most.
“I love everything about shooting, but mostly that perfect form, when your body is in rhythm from the time you plant your feet to the time you release the ball.” – said Curry in an interview with espn.
Above we touched upon the point of how a proper rhythm plays a crucial role in shooting. But the rhythm and overall composure required during the game, especially when shooting, come from having and maintaining proper form.
In Curry’s words, when you take care of your form while shooting, everything that follows after that becomes easier, as your form takes care of most of the things. “Everything moves through you like a wave, almost. It’s a beautiful thing.” said Curry.
8. Use 3-pointers as your weapon.
During his school days, Curry was the youngest player on his basketball team and also had a small physical stature compared to his teammates. However, he was picked for the team because of his consistent ability to shoot the three-point shot.
“I was undersized and playing with older kids. The reason I was on the team that young was because I could shoot 3-pointers and be a weapon.”, – Steph Curry. Shooting 3-pointers takes a lot of practice and patience. But once you master it, then it can become one of the best weapons in your arsenal.
9. Stay Consistent.
When it comes to shooting in general, Curry has one piece of advice for all: “You can never really stop working.” Curry is known for his intense shooting practice sessions, which he does consistently even after spending more than a decade in pro basketball. Consistency breeds accuracy, and Steph Curry has achieved a mastery over the art of hitting 3-pointers. His skill is such that he can score them in practice sessions consecutively for five minutes, without any lag or miss.
10. Focusing on the B.E.E.F
One of the great qualities of athletes who reach great heights in their careers is that they never deviate from the basics of the game. They keep things simple, both on the floor and in their head. Steph Curry always talks about the importance of sticking to the basics of the game and how it benefits individuals. In a past interview with Men’s Journal, Curry touched upon an acronym very famous in basketball coaching: B.E.E.F.
Maintaining the right balance when shooting a three-pointer is like building a strong foundation before releasing the ball. “Keep your feet shoulder-width apart with your dominant foot just slightly ahead of your other, maybe six inches. Bend your knees for a good foundation.” Steph Curry shared his own insights on finding balance when scoring 3-pointers.
In addition to balance, another important aspect to consider is elbow positioning and addressing the “chicken wing” issue. The remaining key elements are eye focus and follow-through. Regarding these, Curry suggests that a shooter’s eyes should be locked on the front of the rim. “There are three hooks holding the net up that are always facing you, and they’re about the width of a basketball, so I lock my eyes on that target,” Curry explains.
Talking about follow-through, Curry suggests always following through on your shot. This helps you get better rotation on the ball and achieve an optimal arc.
11. Balance should be the focus.
“A lot of people focus on your hands with your jump shot but it starts with your feet being squared to the basket and having good balance.” Said Curry, in an old interview with CBS Sports.
Above, we touched upon the aspect of balance and its importance in shooting. Curry’s footwork and body positioning while shooting three-pointers is a textbook-perfect example of it. The positioning of the hands and the release of the ball are important aspects, but they directly depend on the foundation. Therefore, balance plays a crucial role.
12. Deliberate Practice makes the shooting lethal.
“All of them that you see on the floor aren’t the first time I’ve taken them. I practice kind of unorthodox, one-footers, unbalanced shots, hand-in-your-face, all of that stuff, I’ve done it before.” – said Curry in an old podcast with Shaquille O’Neal.
In the above quote, Curry advises not only simulating game-like situations but also preparing for unexpected scenarios, so that when you face them, your muscle memory will take control, as if you were always ready for them. When he says “hand-in-your-face,” it means that he proactively works on pressure situations, which is expected from an NBA player as games often get tense due to the high intensity of the sport.
13. Trusting your ability.
In basketball, when your primary strength is shooting, sometimes more than technique, it’s your attitude and approach that count the most in leading your team through tough situations. Steph Curry is probably the best example of this, and from the comments above, one can certainly gain an insight into his mindset. As a shooter one has to take risks but it is the preparation and hours of practice that helps to take calculated risks without risking your team chances.
“The consistent thing is I’ll never lose confidence in myself when I’m out there on the floor. That’s why I shoot the shots that I do; that’s why I play the way that I play. Beyond that, it’s part of the game.” – In testing times, Curry focuses on his approach more than anything else. (Source)
14. Find the joy of shooting.
For Steph Curry, it’s more important to focus on execution than spending his energy on shot selection. Even if one finds a “sweet spot” when it comes to shot selection, it all boils down to execution and that is what matters the most for Curry. Curry’s shot selection is incredibly flexible, allowing him to adapt and adjust seamlessly to any situation.
“I’m not worried about the [shot] selection as much as figuring out what needs to change in terms of knocking them down and finding the joy of shooting the ball.” – Curry always keeps things simple, regardless of the situation. He also talks about loving what you do during the process rather than worrying about the outcome. Shooting the basketball is a joyous part of the game, and you should embrace it as much as you can.
To a basketball player, shooting is what writing is to a writer. A writer hits writer’s block when they fail to come up with an idea to write about. Sometimes, simply writing whatever comes to mind naturally can be the most pleasurable experience. In doing so, ideas and topics emerge organically as one “plays” with the words.
Steph Curry is a once in a lifetime basketball player and his approach and the way he perceives this game of basketball can be traced through his comments and quotes related to sport. Any basketball player looking to take their game to the next level will surely be benefitted by these helpful tips from Steph Curry.