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Dipping is an important part of basketball shooting!

by Tom Nordland, Coach/Author Swish22.com

I want to address the subject of Dipping during the act of shooting a basketball. What’s called dipping is the action to lower and raise the ball in line when setting it up to shoot. It generally happens when the ball is received via a pass in a “Catch-and-Shoot” motion. You could also do a dipping action when dribbling and you stop your dribble and have time to start the ball a little higher and then bring it down and back up to the Set Point for a Jump Shot.

As many coaches and players have heard, some coaching theory says you should not “dip” theball as you go to shoot because the defenders in these days of tough defenses will steal the ball. With this idea in mind, a lot of coaches make up a rule that one should never dip.


From my experience, most shooters instinctively want to dip the ball because of what I call the“Inertia effect” in shooting. The Law of Inertia (Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion) says, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion and in the same direction until affected by anoutside or unbalanced force!” Dipping is the body’s wisdom to create energy with the ballmoving on line that will help with direction and accuracy.


I feel this “rule” is a huge over-reaction. If you are so closely guarded that you can’t afford a second or even a half-or quarter-second to dip the ball (at least a little), then you should probably not even be taking the shot because you’re going to miss most of such shots.


I don’t mind being labeled with the moniker “Dr. Dip” because it’s such an importantdistinction! It’s what sets up Inertia, a critical factor in shooting. A better title for me, however, might be “Captain Inertia,”since that’s what this whole article is about.


This idea of catching the ball all ready to shoot seems to make sense and be helpful since defenses are so tight these days. But the idea actually interferes with great shooting! If yourknees are already bent, then the “down & up” energy available from leg action is largely sacrificed (at least 50 percent is lost – all you have is the “up” energy). If you don’t dip the ball(if caught high), you lose any Inertia energy you could generate and catch, and you have tocreate accurate direction from scratch. That’s hard to do, especially when pressure is applied. And miss one or a few shots shooting this way and your confidence is really challenged andyou might want to stop shooting to avoid embarrassment.


Go to a court and try these different ways of shooting. Don’t dip and see how it feels and works. Then Dip and notice if there’s more in-line energy. Isn’t the connection to the targetjust more real and powerful? Doesn’t the ball just want to fly into the basket? And do a Catch-and-Shoot motion receiving the ball in a crouched position with knees alread-and-Shoot motion receiving the ball in a crouched position with knees already bent and shoot, then do it catching the ball with legs straight and then bending the knees down & up to shoot. It takes a little more time and you have to know where your defender is, but the benefits are huge. Compare and contrast and I’ll bet you’ll choose to dip whenever possible and to catch the ball straight-legged and then do your down-up action to generate leg power.

Contact the author:

Tom Nordland, aka “Captain Inertia”
Swish International, Inc.
Boulder Creek, Calif.
Website: Swish22.com
For a Renaissance in Shooting!

About the author and coach:
Tom Nordland is a professional shooting coach from California by way of Minnesota. Considered one of Minnesota’s greatest high school shooters, he’s now spentover 22 years studying and teaching the skill since his high school shot came back to him. His three Swish videos are highly acclaimed, considered by many to be the best shooting videos ever produced. His passion is beginning to inspire a Renaissance around the world inhow shooting is understood and taught. His way of teaching (awareness and self-coaching within a map or framework of where you want to get) is profound and highly effective. Because of his background and unique training, he’s able to offer players at all levels boththe technique of great shooting and how to teach oneself (or others) how to learn and master it.

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