High achievers have something in common: they sweat the small stuff, are the hardest worker in the room, deliberately practice, are relentless, and have a compelling vision of what they are trying to create.
Stephen Curry was born in 1988 and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stephen’s father, former NBA player Dell Curry, imbued him with a love for basketball and inspired Stephen to pursue the game professionally. After a meteoric college career with the Davidson Wildcats, Stephen went to the Golden State Warriors as the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Stephen exceeded expectations for a player of his size, shattering numerous NBA records during his first five years in the league. He scored more three-point field goals during the 2012–13 season than any individual player in league history and broke this record again during the 2014–15 season, working to become one of the most accurate and consistent shooters in the league. He won his first NBA championship in 2015, his second in 2017, his third in 2018 and earned back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in the 2014–15 and 2015–16 seasons, the latter by unanimous vote—a first in NBA history.
Here are my favourite take-aways from viewing, Stephen Curry’s Masterclass Session on Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring:
“As a shooter, it’s all about doing your work early. That’s kind of my philosophy…It all starts from the ground up.” —Stephen Curry
- The only person you should compete against is yourself. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others, and instead, focus your mind and body on improving upon your previous training session. Set reasonable goals for yourself before each workout, and be sure to track your accuracy so you can watch your stats improve.
- Stephen encourages you to keep building up your endurance until you’re able to make 100 perfect shots over the course of a single practice session. Persist through fatigue, and do your best to prevent it from altering your shooting mechanics.
- Remember, when form shooting, if you’re not perfect directly in front of the basket, it’s going to be impossible to be perfect as you move away from the basket. Each time you miss, pause, and notice whether you missed short, long, or to one side. What can you do to correct your misses?
“You wanna be as detailed as possible on your mechanics right here in front of the basket because it takes 10 perfect makes to undo just one bad mechanic shot.”
Hand positioning is key to becoming a consistent shooter: it affects feel, proper spin, connection, and control through your release.
- Every shooter experiences bouts of disappointment in their career. The key is to not let a streak of misses damage your confidence as a player, and to remember that you’re only as good as the amount of training you put in to fine-tune your mechanics.
“Basketball is such a fast-paced game. But there’s a poetry about it and there’s a rhythm to it.”
- Basketball IQ is a measure of a player’s intelligence on the court. A well-nurtured one can help any player analyze and predict what their opponents will do and how they’ll do it, helping gain the upper hand on the court.
- To be a versatile and dominant scorer, you must have the ability to shoot with both your right and left hands. The rules for scoring are simple but require robust foundational skills and muscle memory that only come from dedicated and persistent practice:
• Rely on strong shooting mechanics. Be under control.
• Always be shot-ready.
• Protect the ball with your opposite shoulder.
• Check the game clock—the amount of time left on the countdown will determine the pace at which you should develop the play.
• Cultivate a proficient basketball IQ that helps you overcome the defense’s strategy
- To become a better ball-handler, Stephen relies on drills that not only increase his physical endurance but also overload his brain cognitively. Such overloading exercises, like practicing with two basketballs instead of one, or handling a tennis ball in one hand and a basketball in the other, make dribbling a single basketball during games seem easy by comparison. When overloading, Stephen never sacrifices his mechanics for speed.
- Making mistakes is natural and overcoming them is a sign that you’re pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and becoming a better player. If you’re never making mistakes or if you don’t feel challenged by your workouts, you’re probably not improving or extending your abilities as substantially as you can and should
- Whether it’s a preseason game or Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Stephen’s pregame preparation is the same. Off the court, he studies his opponents’ style by watching films of their games, and practices mindfulness exercises like visualization and deep breathing to anticipate every outcome and foster a positive outlook. On the court, Stephen starts with a two-ball dribble sequence to lay out his ball-handling foundation, knowing that he’ll be dribbling the ball far more than shooting it.
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.