Bricks or garbage? The secret is all in the legs

If I was at a basketball camp and didn’t know the players, I could tell you the pure shooters from the average or poor shooters by watching what their shot did after it hit the rim. I didn’t need to see them actually shoot the ball.
Is it a “brick,” which means the ball bounces far enough away from the rim with no chance of going in or for an offensive rebound and it bounces far enough away to start the opponents fast break.
Or is it a “garbage shot,” which means it stays near the rim with a chance to go in or stays close enough to the rim for an offensive rebound.
Pure soft-touch shooters shoot with their legs and brick layers shoot with their arms.
The only kinesthetic physical skill used to shoot a basketball is to snap release the ball from the wristband hand at the same time the legs have become straight.
If a shooter releases the ball before the legs are straight, he will end up pushing the ball and if he releases the ball after he has straightened his legs, he will still push the ball.
When I was a college player I really never used enough legs on my shot and never got much “garbage.” If I had used more legs and had a softer shot, I would have been able to increase my shooting percentages by five from the floor and 10 from the foul line..
I discovered the real secret to pure shooting when I began coaching and was trying to improve the foul shooting of some of my players.
When I watched my players shoot, those more successful from the foul line were the ones who got more legs into their shot and released the ball when their legs were straight.
This gave their shot a softer and slower projection and an increased height for the ball and if they did miss their ball stayed closer to the rim for garbage. The players who released the ball before their legs were straight or after their legs were straight pushed the ball and had a lower and faster projection to the basket — bricks when the ball hit the rim.
I soon learned that the old coaching adage “shooters are born not made” is false.
Once I understood this I changed my shot by getting more leg depth and this gave my shot a softer, higher and slower arch to the basket, thus resulting in the ball not bouncing away when it hit the rim.
How far should players bend their knees? As far down so as they cannot see their feet. Also, they should snap release the ball as soon as their legs are done, giving them the power to release the ball, to give it a higher, softer and slower speed to the rim.
I changed and worked with many players, including my own son, and my players. I gave individual shooting lessons and ran many shooting camps over the years, and the biggest things that I had to correct were:.
1. Being square to the basket with the feet
2. Shooting at the middle of the rim not just over the front or in front of the rim
3. Holding the ball in the complete palm, without any space between the hand and the ball
4. Getting enough legs into the shot and releasing the ball when the legs are straight.
The first three are just mechanics and require no actual physical skill. The leg depth is what requires physical ability and practice.
The first day of shooting camps when we would have more than 100 players in attendance, we worked bending the legs before shooting the ball.
The next day, most of the campers could hardly walk into the gym, because they were so lame from bending their legs down farther than they ever had. Those who were not too lame or were not lame at all were already on the right path.
I always told my players, campers or individual students that if they do not want to “assume the basketball position” of having your knees bent to jump for a rebound or to move laterally on defense and to shoot the ball correctly, then they should not play basketball, they should go become a swimmer, because they have to keep their legs straight in order to kick in the water.
A great drill to practice bending properly to shoot a basketball is to stand in front of a mirror and practice without a ball by bending your legs down to start the shot and then snap release your shooting wrist and hand when your legs are straight. Do this consistently and it will strengthen your legs and also give you the right technique for using your legs in shooting correctly to develop a soft touch.
I believed in this theory so much we always had our players tell our manager how many foul shots that they made that were “garbage” and our scorekeepers put a little “g” beside a field goal or foul shot that was garbage. That way we knew which players were getting enough legs into their shots.
Bill Bradley,a  former Princeton All-American, New York Knicks star and U.S. senator said it best, “You shoot with your legs”.