Will Gordon Hayward shooting from a chair adversely affect his form?
Justin Quinn recently wrote in Celtics Life about Gordon Hayward shooting a basketball from a chair on the court. The question was raised as to whether doing that would adversely affect his shooting form for the future. The quick answer is that the Celtics staff would not have him do that if it was harmful in any way. My answer as a 26-year Personal Trainer specializing in Sports Conditioning is the same. As a matter of fact, what he is doing helps retain the basketball-to-hoop muscle memory that he has, and it can even improve his form when he returns to the court.
Take a look at the above tweet. Gordon's legs have obviously been taken totally out of the equation. That means that the force propelling the ball needs to come solely from the muscles in the forearm to move the fingers and hands, and also from the rear (front when in shooting form - see tweet photo) of the upper arm. With no asssist from the legs, Gordon needs to shoot more forcefully with only his arms. If you look at the video below, you will see Steph Curry's chest and front shoulders get involved with the two-handed push shot:
This was obviously a trick shot from half court, and Hayward using any chest or front shoulder muscles to practice from a chair might be detrimental to his form later on. Working on building up the forearm and triceps muscles might be a good idea. The Celtics staff certainly has a better handle on it than I do.
The only remaining question pertains to shooting from a lesser height. I roughly estimate Gordon's height is lessened by 20" in a seated position, meaning that at a given distance from the hoop, he needs to shoot a higher arc than if he were standing. That would require a bit more force, which he has already been doing because he can't use his legs yet.
Once he is able to stand on the court, he won't gain much advantage. He can return to shooting a lower, normal arc, but his legs will still be mostly out of the equation. He won't be able to jump right away, but bending and straightening the knees will assist the motion a bit. So what he is doing is a good thing. It can only help, not hurt. The injury had to be devastating to Gordon. Any basketball player knows there is something special about being on a basketball court with the ball in your hands. He will lose a bit of muscle memory in this process and then relearn it quickly. It's all about neuromuscular coordination, the brain's neurons working with the muscle fibers to put the ball through the hoop. I love what he is doing. Be great to have him back.
Hayward photo via Charles Krupa/The Associated Press
Video via stephgonnasteph/Basketball&More