The world has never seen a shooter like Steph Curry.
The two-time NBA MVP can confidently pull the trigger anytime he crosses half court. While most players would earn an earful from their coach if they jacked up many of the shots Curry does, Steph has proved he can drain jumpers from spots that were once unfathomable.
His shooting ability is almost supernatural, and it’s taken him hundreds of thousands of shots and many years to hone it.
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 3: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors scores his 9th three point basket setting a NBA Finals record during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the 2018 NBA Finals on June 3, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
But kids love to emulate the superstars they see on TV, and for Curry, it’s no different. Inspired by his endless range, young players often fall into the habit of practicing the same heaves they see Steph hit on a near-nightly basis. But practicing shooting from Steph Curry range is just about one of the most counterproductive things a youth basketball player can do. In fact, most beginners shouldn’t even bother shooting 3-pointers until they’ve mastered their form and slowly developed their range. The issue is that it’s often physically impossible for many kids to get the ball to the hoop with proper form from that distance due to their lack of strength and size.
“I tell all the kids, Steph Curry is a phenomenal shooter. But what people don’t realize is that, what they didn’t see—I mean they see him warm-up before the game—but you haven’t seen all the hours, all the shots he put in before that,” says Jonathan White, Youth Basketball Coordinator for the Cavaliers Academy. “You’re a little kid. You’re trying your best to chuck it up from the 3-point line and you can’t even get the ball to the basket. Steph Curry couldn’t do that when he was your age. Steph Curry started in close. Steph Curry’s dad, Dell Curry, taught him the basic fundamentals of basketball, of shooting. Once you get comfortable shooting off the glass or just a couple feet away from the basket, you take a step back. Same thing. Same form. Hundreds of shots. Then another step back. As you get older, as you get more mature and you get stronger, you’ll be able to develop that strength to shoot the basketball from further out.”
Indeed, Dell, who played in the NBA himself, strictly restricted the distances Steph and his younger brother, Seth, could shoot from during their early childhood. “When we were younger, my dad wouldn’t let me and my brother shoot from outside the paint,” Seth told STACK in 2015. “We had to work on our form, then get better at longer distances.”
Long story short, youth basketball players have plenty of time to build up to Curry’s range. But if they skip the process Steph used to get there, they shouldn’t expect to be half the shooter he is. The BEEF method is one of the absolute best ways to learn the basic fundamentals of shooting. Only once you feel you can consistently shoot from a certain distance with proper form should you then take a step back.
Photo Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images