Aaron Miles' Shot

I think Miles' shooting woes are all in his head. He's a pretty good freethrow shooter and he's a tremendous precision passer. When the game's been on the line, he's hit as many big shots as anyone. And yet he shot 1-9 against Vermont.

In a Daily Kansan article today, Miles says the following:

"After my first shot, all the shots felt good, and I thought they were going in," Miles said. "I kept telling myself 'I'm going to make the next one. I'm going to make the next one.'"

To me, this quote illuminates both the problem and the solution for Miles.

He's thinking about every shot. And He's thinking about every shot in reference to the shot before. I'm not saying shooters shouldn't think about the optimum form when they are training, or that they shouldn't think about shot selection when analyzing game film, but I do say that shooters shouldn't *think* about each shot as they shoot it.

Thinking about shooting a basketball, and I mean really thinking about doing so, requires a lot of math and physics. First of all, one has to calculate the distance from one's hands, at release point, to the rim. Depending on the height of the release point, one may be required to use the pythagorean theorem. Let's assume one's release point is exactly 10 feet, the height of the rim, that makes it easier.

Even so, one still has to correctly determine the optimum launch angle given the defense (this is normally between 42 and 48 degrees), and from there, one has to calculate the optimum initial velocity. Adding spin should help the ball go in if it hits something other than net, but that's much harder to calculate.

People don't shoot like this. Not even math genii shoot like this. Robots shoot like this.

People shoot by effectively establishing muscle memory and by letting their body do the work. Aaron Miles would be a lot better in-game shooter if he didn't think at all, which is what he seems to do when the game is on the line.

I love Aaron Miles, but I wish he would stop thinking when he shoots.