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The Pivot & Go! Podcast w/ David Nurse

Sep 7, 2017


First and foremost, every player is different. There is no ‘cookie cutter’ mold to create a great shooter. Ideally I would want everyone looking like Klay Thompson, but everyone’s different (body types, mindset, personality, what motivates them, mental toughness, spirituality, everything) 

That being said, I have helped to develop many high level NBA shooters and through the process have learned what I deem as some staples to success.  There is much more in depth that I would love to talk about in person and share examples of players that I have worked with.



ALWAYS POSITIVE –  My coaching philosophy with players is always positive. Shooting is 90% mental and if a player has a negative mindset, they will never be a great shooter.  Instilling confidence into a player goes a long long ways on.  If they believe they can be a great shooter, then they can. If they don’t believe it and don’t have confidence in themselves, then the player will never become great.  No player is beyond the point of ‘fixing their shot.’


ALWAYS A SERVANT – I will go to great lengths to let the player that I am working with them that I am a servant to them. I will humble myself to them, be there for anything they need (on court or off court) show them that 100% of my time, effort, energy is going into them and they are the most important person on the face of the planet to me. I am a servant to them, that’s ALWAYS the mindset for me.


VICTORY GOES TO THE VULNERABLE-  My joy and success comes from their success. I never take any credit and let them know that it’s all them – no matter what type of leaner they are or their IQ to retain knowledge and muscle memory development – I ALWAYS let them know they are GREAT in these fields.  Here is an example of why: The Thomas Edison Story-

Thomas Edison’s mother lied about the contents of a letter from her son’s school informing her that the school had expelled him for “mental deficiencies.” Instead, she told the boy the letter said he was a genius who would be better off being homeschooled




P.A.C.E (The acronym I use)


P-  Personality -  This is the first stage where I get to know the player very well – both on court and off court. This is where I figure out what type of personality do they have. I have done in the past personality tests (are they motivated by goals and scores, are they motivated intellectually, are they motivated by the dependence of others on them, etc) I have worked with enough players that I am able to figure out what type of personality they have relatively soon in the relationship and what makes them tick.  This is also where I build the relationship. That's the key word RELATIONSHIP. If they don’t trust me then they won’t listen to me. The most important aspect of helping a player develop is trust which is built on the relationship. Once this is developed, which is a gift from the Lord which I am able to do with players at a high level and become a ‘mentor’ figure to them – now they will be able to develop on court.


A – Assess -  Assessment stage is where I break down their shot (both with them personally and of course in depth by myself) When I first come to them I would have already watched every situation of their shot on film – every movement, every different type of shot they could have attempted, know their analytical numbers (are they better catch and shoot vs. off the dribble, their favorite spots on the floor, where they get most of their game shots from, contested vs. uncontested percentages, their best shooting games of all time (in the zone games, very key to know) I would know everything going into the assessment stage and would know 95% before we step on court together of what needs to be done to implement for their development.  Letting them know I have done all of this ‘homework’ on them will also show how much I care for them and how much of a servant I am to them. This goes a long ways with players and right along with the mantra of 100% time, effort, energy given to them.

First and foremost when I am on court with the player for the first time ask them what they think they need to improve upon. I already know, but I want to see what is going their mind and I want to make them feel certain that it’s ‘our plan’ not just my plan for them but ‘our plan’ We are a team, so important for the player to have the comfort knowing that we are going through this together.

I will also in this stage ‘slow motion’ film their shot – this is very effective of course with being able to break down every aspect, every motion, everything in their shot. Then I will watch it with them and ask them what they are seeing.  If I just tell and tell and tell then they aren’t processing or able to see where their adjustments are needed to be made.  Now we are on the same page going forward and the player is excited about the process, trusts I am there for them 100% through it together, that I am their servant, and now the growth is able to happen.



C- Correct -  The correction stage is where we actually implement what needs to be adjusted in the player’s shot. I never throw the ‘entire kitchen sink’ at the player – that is overload and they will never be able digest all at the same time. Based on what I have learned through their personality and what type of learning capacity they have, I am able to craft a plan of how quickly and how much I give them at a certain time.  For example, let’s say player X has three adjustments that needs to be made to become the best shooting from a mechanical standpoint that they can be.  I would first let them know how good of shooter they are right now, let them know they are a ‘natural’ shooter (even if they aren’t) meaning that they have gifts, the capacity to be a GREAT shooter. This is the positive mindset and Thomas Edison belief story. I will also let them know they only need to make small adjustment to be great, even if it is a complete breakdown of their entire shot and a rebuild, I will never let them know that. That is too daunting for a player to process.  The key to tell them is ‘You are a very good shooter right now; you are at this level for a reason. You have a natural shooting stroke, and really it only comes down to a few small adjustments that I know you can make and you will not only be a good shooter but you will be one of the best in the League.  I have helped develop the shots of some of the best shooters in the NBA over the past 10 years (this is said to give myself credibility while being humble and breeding confidence into them and increasing their belief in the process we are going to go through together)

Now both the player and myself are on the same page and know exactly what needs to be corrected and are both 100% in to do so.



E- Execution-  Now that we have the plan in place, we are going to execute the plan. I will have drawn up a full long term plan with milestones throughout the process. I will put those milestones deeper in the process to where I believe they will actually hit them. (This done on purpose so that each milestone will be reached before the plan states – increasing confidence that the player is a great learner and has a high IQ capacity to learn) I will always keep the plan flexible of course depending on how they are doing in the process. No matter what the player will always always feel as if they are growing.

As discussed in the Correction phase we will take each stage in a step by step process. For example, if a player’s corrections that need to be made are ‘releasing earlier in their shot’ and ‘holding their follow through while sticking their landing on balance’ we will first address the releasing earlier in the shot issue.  What I have found to be very effective is have the players say out loud a one word ‘cue’ to remember what their adjustment is. In this case I would have the player say ‘early’ out loud, reminding themselves each time they are going to release the ball in their shooting motion earlier. I will also let them know what they are looking for to determine if the shot is a great shot. I let them know we aren’t determining success by makes and misses, we are determining success by the perfect repetitions.  Contrary to popular belief- practice does not make perfect, PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.  This is why I believe everyone can become a great shooter, no matter what stage of their career they are in. It all comes down to building up the myelin in the brain (the neuroreceptors responsible for building muscle memory) Also, I will of course let the player know why this adjustment is being made (earlier release= increased arc on the players shot and late game percentage improvement due to not depending on the level of their jump on their jump shot being the exact same as it was in the first quarter now with fatigued legs in the fourth quarter) 

We will work on only this adjustment until it becomes natural for them – both in their personal opinion and my assessment measurements. Now it’s time to move on to the next adjustment. As you can see the execution is all about a step by step process, going through the process as a team/partnership, and continually and constantly breeding confidence into the player.


There is much more that goes into each step in the acronym PACE. (also the underlying importance of this mindset is that playing with PACE you are always under control. That’s the belief and mindset I want ever player to have – playing with PACE. Learning and developing with PACE)


I could go on for hours on end and much more in depth on each point and other important factors that go into shooting development. As well as many many examples that I have done with players in the past, what has worked for some players and not for others, and much more. Overall I know that I’m always growing and learning and I never know it all. It’s all about continued growth and continued desire to learn.