Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson knows that in order to successfully shoot the basketball well, you must have “unwavering confidence.” Properly performed mechanics never hurts and Thompson preaches constant practice, but without that confidence you’ll lose the mental battle.
To help keep Thompson on track with his overall approach, the Warriors sharpshooter tells SI.com he has partnered with Kansas-based ShotTracker for the last 18 months to monitor his continued focus on shooting technique.
What is ShotTracker?
The wearable device tracks shot attempts, makes and misses through a net sensor and wrist sensor that slides into a wristband or compression sleeve. An app works together to create personal shooting profiles for each user, Thompson included.
After meeting with one of the founders and the owners, Thompson liked what he saw and started exploring the product by using it. While he wasn’t involved with the early development, he has promoted shooting through various programs with the company, encouraging young athletes to practice, such as this preseason where he challenged players to get 3,000 shots up in three weeks, starting with an online video hangout featuring Thompson on Nov. 1.
Thompson’s view on tech in the NBA
“I only use my mind and ShotTracker,” he says. As a team, Thompson says, the Warriors don’t use any specific tech devices during practice, but he does say that others in the league have used ShotTracker like him.
“I wouldn’t say it’s widespread,” he says about technology across the NBA. “It’s not something we typically use, but I think it’s something that teams may be curious about—especially how it could affect performance.”
His approach to shooting
“Your shoulders have to be square, knees bent, explode through your toes, hold your follow through and have unwavering confidence,” he says. Using an app like ShotTracker, he says, can “reinforce what you are doing with your mechanics.”
Thompson pointed out that in order to be a top-flight shooter, you have to take lots of shots and be in great shape. But shooting with the wrong mechanics makes those repetitions worthless. Whether the off-season, during the season or the playoffs, Thompson says he never changes his approach to practicing.
And who does Thompson model his shot after? “Klay Thompson,” he says with a laugh. That’s unwavering confidence for you.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.