He was never the biggest, the strongest or the tallest. To say he had to work hard for his achievements doesn’t do his work ethic justice. To call him an underdog would be a vast understatement. Stephen Curry was able to learn from one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, but talent doesn’t equate to success. Dell Curry taught his son well, but Stephen doesn’t reach the superstar level of success he has without an incredible level of devotion, either.
It wasn’t until his performance in the 2008 NCAA tournament where people recognized this combination of supreme talent and dedication. An incredible shooter, Curry was also seen as undersized, frail and a basketball gimmick of sorts. Many marveled at his shooting form, but questioned his future within the game. A college player who can shoot is commonplace, but one with an NBA family and the faith of Steph was a rarity.
Early in his career, Curry suffered through numerous ankle injuries, coaching changes and an identity crisis. The doubters to Curry’s talents were eating well while the faithful were losing hope. Yet, with challenges come opportunity, and Curry took full advantage. Since playing 26 games in the 2011-12 season, Curry has played 78 games the last two regular seasons. If it wasn’t the troubles brought about from his perplexing franchise, it was the injuries.
But, as Curry became healthier – with some help from a new endorser – his game elevated to incredible heights. With a better roster came better results, as Curry’s assist numbers improved (5.3 to 6.8 to 8.5, respectively), his handles as deadly as ever and becoming the unquestioned leader of a playoff team. He’s now an All-Star (with many more to come), the face of a rising organization (with a new arena on the horizon) and the face of a franchise with hopes of sustaining their contender status for years to come.
We spoke to Brandon Payne who is the owner of Accelerate Basketball Training, on how they helped take Steph Curry from good to great.
On the first time working with Steph…
Brandon Payne: First summer, we really focused on developing him going right. Like most right handed shooters, Steph gets his shot off easier going to the left; so we wanted to make him more explosive and efficient on going to his right and learning how to create more space. He’s the type of guy when he learns something and figures it out, it’s embedded in his memory for good.
On the biggest improvement in Steph’s game
Brandon Payne: We’ve worked on his ball handling a ton… That’s probably where the most improvement has come. He has the ball on a string at all times.
We do a lot of handle drills with Tennis balls and heavy balls. With the Tennis balls, we do a lot of drills involving him using his eyes to watch the ball while going through movements. With the heavy balls, we use 3lb and 6lb balls to put him through drills and movements and then we immediately contrast that by going through drills with a game-ball to give him the immediate speed difference he can feel.
On getting Steph stronger…
Brandon Payne: We found out early on that Stephen operates really well between 193-195 lbs… He got up to 200lbs at one point but didn’t feel well on the court. Our goal is to make him the strongest we possibly can at 193lbs and by strong I mean “Basketball Strong”. Everything we do is designed for him to be strong on the court, it doesn’t matter how much you bench or squat because it’s all about getting basketball strong. All of our strength work is designed with how he moves and plays on the court.
On working on Steph’s Jumper…
Brandon Payne: He’s the best shooter in the world right now so you don’t really mess with that. But sometimes he has a tendency to over-rotate his hips to the left side, which causes him to miss his shots to the left. Matter of working on creating space to get his shot off cleaner.
What makes him a great shooter is his release and the consistency of his release. He shoots the ball from lots of angles but the release is always consistent. Steph has the best touch in the game.
The way we run his shooting drills is that everything is timed or competitive based meaning he can’t miss a certain amount in X-amount of time. Catching and shooting in my opinion is worthless because very rarely are you going to catch and shoot with a clean look. You have to do things against a clock and have to do things with consequences to ensure success at the NBA Level.
Very few of our drills our pattern drills, everything we do is reactionary… We do a lot of things to challenge the balance in our drills because we want him to maintain balance when getting his shot off especially at all the different angles he likes to take shots from.
On this off-season’s goal…
Brandon Payne: This off-season we wanted to maintain and get a bit stronger. We also discussed how to create a few new ways to finish around the rim and we also talked about getting better in certain ball/screen situations.
The one thing that still gives him trouble at times is when he’s defended by length. When teams jump the ball screens with long athletic guys is presents a challenge for him at times so that’s an aspect of the game where we want to get better at.
On what makes Steph special…
Brandon Payne: He processes information faster than any other player I’ve ever seen, it’s almost super-natural how quickly he can read and react to scenarios we put in front of him.
Check out ABOTraining.com to find out how you can train like Steph Curry.