Ray Allen and the science of shooting | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Ray Allen and the science of shooting

Ray allen shooting
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Take that picture… blow it up to FatHead size… and stick it on the wall of every basketball locker room in the world as the example of just a purely perfect shot.  Straight line from his head to his feet… elbow in at a 90 degree angle… fingertips on the ball…. 

Just… perfect. 

But here's the thing about that shot.  A lot of people can look like this.  Coaches everywhere teach kids this form all the time and thousands of them can duplicate it.  And thousands of them can stand alone in a gym and hit shot after shot.  But very few can do what Ray does:  run for miles every night, weaving in between giants, spinning one way or the other, and somehow ending up just like that time and time again. 

What makes Ray Allen "Ray Allen"… everything he told Paul Flannery:

Allen comes off those screens constantly and he has broken the play down to a science. For example, he discovered some years ago that he is right-eye dominant. A small thing perhaps, but once he came to that conclusion he also realized that when he comes off the screen on the right side he didn’t have to turn his body completely around because he can still see the target out of the corner of his eye.

“Coming the other way I have to turn more,” he said. “When I’m coming [on the left] side I have to turn so I have to be a little faster on [that] side and this side I don’t have to be as fast.”

That extra half-second comes in handy because there is a whole mental checklist he runs through whenever this play is called. Did his man go under, or over the screen? Did they switch off the big man setting the screen, which means a mismatch under the basket?

“Once I come from underneath the basket you kind of glance over your shoulder and see if your guy is trailing you or of he tried to shoot the pick, going over the top,” Allen said. “If both guys came with me, then I have a pass. It’s a split-second decision that you have to make.”

This is just part of it.  You gotta follow that link and read the whole thing.  

Just reading all the things that Ray thinks of, checks on, and decides in the course of a few seconds is so far out of my grasp that I wonder if he exists in a world where a second to you and me is actually two or three to him.  I can't fathom having thought of all the things Ray thinks of when I was on the court.  

You wonder what makes NBA stars what they are?  All that stuff right there.  A million guys out there have sweet jumpers… a handful can duplicate it in the chaos of an NBA play.  A million guys have the wind to run around and the build to handle the pounding… but a handful can think, reason, adjust, and make decisions while it's all happening.

It's an amazing combination of thought, strategy and science. And it's what makes Ray one of the best shooters in NBA history.


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  • paul

    Allen is a lot of the reason why the Celtics offense can be an amazingly powerful thing, WHEN they work on it as a team.

  • Science is as good a word you can use for Jesus, and they should have a course dedicated to him in Springfield. He has a complete commitment to making himself better at every opportunity. He finds what he can make routine and wills himself with endless effort and time to make it routine and automatic. That leaves his head free for split milli-second decisions.
    Similar to the post earlier about him smoking the college kids on the treadmill, Ray just demands more of himself. Dude has more in the bank than he’ll ever spend, a ring, plus a gorgeous family and he’s whupping college kids who are supposed to be hungry for the pros, working harder than they ever have?
    The best part of this team is there is so much to love about each guy, that is also a challenge because you feel like each one is better than he gets credit for. A lot of it has to do with being homers, sure. Though it’s also why we expect so much out of ’em!
    * Love this team

  • ** Sweet kicks he has on in that pic, too


    Reminds me of Colin Montgomery the golfer once saying he goes through 10 things before he hits a golf ball. Just a different level of excellence that most mere mortals can’t comprehend…

  • ilovechuck

    the science of shooting…from october to march
    ray allen

  • GranTur

    Ray Allen’s consistency is so insane.
    He’s got another year of this level. Then for two years after that he can play at this level but probably for only 20-25 minutes a night.
    Any time I get asked about Ray Allen it comes down to one thing: dude is one of the most athletic and in-shape athletes IN THE WORLD.
    Love it. Love him. He’s such a great teammate.