Bad habits [like good habits] are formed through practice. Poor shooting form develops from repeatedly using the same incorrect motion over and over again. Usually, a coach will call you out and give you tips on how to shoot like Ray Allen. But if a coach is not around, your form will develop based on what you think works.
This often involves shooting with your elbow out, assisted by your off-hand. That’s how most people first shoot a basketball. But it’s bad form, and if it sticks with you, it can hurt your skill development.
Shawn Mowe has developed a tool to help basketball players improve their shooting form even when a coach is not available. The Electronic Basketball Shooting Coach is exactly what its name implies. You strap the small gadget—about the size of an mp3 player—to the outside of your forearm, just above the elbow. According to the instructions, “When you shoot the basketball and keep the arm straight, the switch is not triggered. When the arm isn’t straight while shooting, the alarm is triggered!”
After testing the product, we can report that the alarm does sound when your elbow sticks out—and it’s a welcome reminder, because it’s easy to forget about or sacrifice form when going through the motions of a shooting drill.
Mowe says, “Our thinking behind the product was to create a tool that gauges whether or not you are using close [or] near-perfect form when shooting a basketball.” The simplicity and comfort of the electronic coach allows you to focus on form without being distracted by cumbersome hardware. Of course, the voice coming out of the “coach” can be distracting, but keep your elbow tucked in and you won’t hear anything!