Most everyone, ever, is taught to focus on the rim when aiming for a jump shot (obviously). Most are also taught to keep focusing on the rim while the ball is in flight. But not everyone. Some watch the rim, but as soon as the ball leaves their hands, they observe the arcing sphere. Dirk Nowitzki famously looks at the ball.
It’s a question that’s intrigued me. I recall during the 2012 NBA All-Star game, Andre Iguodala, mic’d up, asked Luol Deng if he looked at the ball or the rim. Deng said rim. Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller later discussed the topic on Inside The NBA. Both said they look at the ball in flight once it leaves their fingers. Internet searches—with mostly message board discussions providing the results—confirm memory of this Miller-Kerr conversation. (Miller even went so far as to claim that answers amongst NBA players would be dispersed 50/50—rim vs. ball in flight; a very Miller-like, outlandish claim.) Other good shooters said to look at the ball in flight: Steve Nash and Kevin Love.
I personally keep my eye on the rim. Some coaches will tell you that switching focus to flight can add unnecessary motion, as you would tend to raise your chin to follow the path of the ball. My shot was never consistent enough to be affected by such nuance (or, rather, there can be dozen of other inconsistent ticks in motion for the average shooter). I just figured that it’s best to provide the highest amount of concentration possible on the ultimate destination. Plus, that’s how I was taught.
Tags: aj price, andre iguodala, Bradley Beal, cariter martin, damien wilkins, dirk nowitzki, emeka okafor, evan turner, iman shumpert, james white, jason kidd, John Wall, kevin love, kurt thomas, marcus camby, martell webster, reggie miller, royal ivey, steve kerr, steve nash, steve novak, trevor ariza