Shooting: Cuttino Mobley/L.A. Clippers
The Clipper guard raised his three point shooting from 34% two seasons ago to 42% in 2006— 07. Here's how to shore up your own longdistance stroke.
"Start in at the rim, almost like a layup with jump-shot form, and shoot about100 shots inside, then start moving farther out. It'll just become muscle memory from repetition."
"Tuck your elbow and line it up with your knee, and don't shoot at the rim, shoot up over it. Put some air under the ball so you give it a chance to go in. Pretend you're picking an apple out of the basket. Reach up, go inside the basket with your release, andfollow through with your index and middle fingers. That's what your form should be: up, pick the apple out of the basket, then back down. You don't want to be leaning back when you shoot, either; you just want to go straight up and come down on the same spot."
In the Gym
Do as many pushups pullups, and dips as you can. Your jump shot comes from your triceps and your wrist strength. You don't have to be lifting all those weights to shoot."
Speed: Leandro Barbosa/Phoenix Suns
Leandro Barbosa, "the Brazilian Blur," won last year's Sixth Man Award, partly because he's proven himself to be faster than just about anybody in the NBA. His experiences will help improve your speed.
Take Up Soccer
"When I was a kid, I used to play soccer without shoes on the street. I don't have a lot of ball-handling skills like Steve Nash, but my thing is just to get the ball down the court and score. Soccer really helped me develop my quick feet."
In the Gym
"I don't do a lot of upper-body stuff, but I do leg presses, Romanian deadlifts, and some other lower-body work every day. I also try to do exercises while I'm wearing a weighted shirt. People say it can be bad for your knees, but I do a lot of exercises with it on to keep my legs strong. Sometimes, I'll just walk around the locker room with it on. Then, when I take it off, I can really feel the difference."
Mental Toughness: Gilbert Arenas/ Washington Wizards
"Basketball is all mental," says eccentric guard Gilbert Arenas. "Everyone's talent is the same, but the mental aspect separates stars from superstars." Heed his advice and be as tough upstairs as one of the most clutch players in the league.
Redirect Your Energy
"My confidence got hurt coming into the league [Arenas was drafted 31st overall in the second round; he expected to go higher], but after seeing an old highlight tape, I realized that it's just basketball. I put all my frustration and energy into basketball for two weeks. I did it, and I got to play, and I just decided that [my intensity] is what got me on [the team], and this is what's going to keep me on it."
Find a Training Partner
"You need someone to challenge you, because it keeps you motivated. He's going to make you work hard for what you do. You need somebody like that."
The Psychology of Game Winners
"When we play pickup games, I won't shoot the ball until it's the last shot. I'm the only one who's going to take it all the way until we lose or we win. I've been doing that for the last three years. You have to have that mind-set: If you don't make it, you have to live with it. As many shots as Michael Jordan's made, he's missed three times as many."