**94fifty is having a sale of $149 for their ball for Xmas. I have a $25 off $169 coupon code bball25 if anyone wants to use it so you can get a Smart Net or shirt or socks for free **
Here is a link to part I:
6 weeks in with the 94fifty
I havent had a chance to write about my latest experiences with the 94Fifty until now. I have to admit that I have a love hate relationship with this ball. Sometimes I just want to leave it at home and just shoot around for fun. It is hard to put in the intensity that comes with trying to get through the workout at 7:45 am after I drop the kids off at school and put in a good thirty minutes to an hour with the ball and then another half hour or more to shooting and doing more dribbling drills. I decided to work more with the shooting workouts for awhile to mix it up and give me a little break from failing to pass some of the Pro workouts. The shooting workouts really are just shot release time measurements as you are in charge of counting your makes during the session unless you buy the Smartnet which is a cool product in itself since it counts your makes and misses . Unfortunately I don’t have my own goal to put it on so I didn’t buy one.
The Skill Training section of the app allows you to measure shot arc and backspin which I really enjoy playing with since I always like to compare myself to the ideal. It reminds me of golf’s Trackman but in basketball form.
I forgot to mention this ball carry bag that comes with the ball. It easily fits a pair of shoes and a ball.
Why shot speed matters
I did not really get into the shooing workouts because I didn’t feel it was necessary but then I realized that performing a shot speed work out does a few things.
If you need more incentive, read about Curry’s .4 second release.. .i tried to shoot in .4 and it basically felt like I would catch and tap it. Ridiculous
SHOOTING WORKOUT I, Playground
This is the easiest workout to pass and I could do it in my sleep if it wasn’t for that damn timer measuring my shot speed. I can make 20 straight easily from 15 ft standing still but put on that shot speed clock and I start to feel a tension I normally don’t feel during shoot arounds. When I first reviewed the shooting workout, I just fiddled around with it to get a sense of how it worked but this time i realized that having to make shots and get it off in xxx amount of time really adds pressure to the task which is fantastic since it makes shooting around more game like.
It only consists of 15 ft shot standing still and 15 ft shot moving. In order to activate the ball to measure how fast you release the ball you need to pass the ball to yourself by spinning a bounce pass back to yourself or have someone pass it to you. I’m not sure how it knows when someone is passing it to you but amazing technology nonetheless. Sometimes when I would try to get my release measured it won’t take for some reason which was frustrating because I would have to restart the drill which I guess actually gets me more reps . Maybe 94fifty designed it that way :). I will contact them to see if that is a bug though.
**note about customer service*
I did contact 94fifty and I can’t say enough about how fast they were to respond and replace the ball. They emailed me back within the day, sent me a FedEx label so they could check out the ball, and sent me a replacement even though they couldn’t replicate the issue. New ball works great . Total turn around took 8 days. I believe the warranty time on the ball is twelve months.
After you finish your ten shots you need to enter your makes (this is where a smart net would be helpful if you are prone to cheating the app)
I quickly obliterated the Playground level standing still and moving my first try since I only had to make 4/10 shots and I easily made 5/10 (I’m kidding that’s terrible) .On average my shots would release in .82 seconds. I actually shot the ball faster on the move but I figured I would since my body was already in a position to shoot as I caught the ball on the move, plus I love to catch and shoot.
Here are some screen shots of the app. It shows all of your attempts so you can see outliers and truly know if your shot is truly quick or an average of an aberration or two. The green screen means you shot the ball in under the time goal while red means you didn’t.
SHOOTING WORKOUT I, Prepstar
I moved onto Prepstar where you need to make 5/10 shots and release the shot in .85 seconds or less. I actually failed to pass this on the first try due to a few shots taking over .9 bc I was too lax about it. This is what I love about the 94fifty; you can’t just sleepwalk through the workout if you’re near the correct skill level because it is very easy to fail the workout and have to do it again. Anyways after I failed the first time, I decided to watch the video on what constitutes “stand still” and that 94Fifty’s definition meant I could walk or hop into the shot which definitely sped up release speed. I was putting up my shot from a dead standstill until I watched the video. Needless to say this improved my rhythm, speed and percentage makes to 7/10 and .83 average shot speed. In addition to having to be more accurate and shoot more quickly, Prepstar mode adds a 20ft standstill shot to the workout. I passed this as well the first try while I knocked down 6/10 with a .83 shot speed.
SHOOTING WORKOUT I,COLLEGE STAR
This is where it got pretty tough. I had to some how knock off almost a tenth of a second off my shot and make a higher percentage.
As you can see I failed here despite making 80%. I’m sure some of you are thinking I flubbed these numbers after seeing my Playground and Prepstar numbers but it’s amazing what a clock and a make percentage goal does for you. Think of the clock as a defender come at you and you’ll release your shot much quicker than a Sunday shoot around at the gym.
I did manage to pass it within three attempts as my body got into a nice rhythm. I think getting into this nice rhythm is the key to repeatability and muscle memory.
SHOOTING WORKOUT, PRO
I started the Pro workout today and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be but I still didn’t pass it . You need to make 95% which means you can miss ONE shot out of twenty and shoot the ball In under .7 seconds which is really a stretch for me. If I go at my usual speed I get the shot off in under .79 so I’m really going to have to work on this release speed.
I only had time to get in 15feet standing still as I’m trying to knock these out in order. I failed miserably so I’m not quite sure how long this will take me to pass but it will definitely be interesting.
One other note. As a pretty good golfer, I have learned that it is important to switch things up and to make yourself comfortable with your weaknesses and turn them into strength. Once you start grooving your shot, start mixing it up by a) moving to different parts of the court and doing 10 shots from there b) move to different spots on the court on EACH shot so no shot is from the same spot c) cutting and moving from different directions or running an actual route you would do on a play call
This gives you even more muscle memory, reps, and most of all confidence because you are simulating game movements.
ON COURT RESULTS:
Perfecting practice is one thing but shooting in game is another. I am not a high volume shooter by discipline but I have gotten off and made more shots per game than I have in my previous seasons. My open league team has an ex euro league player and four ex college players so why would I shoot anyways ? I have been hitting about 50% from three and 80% from the line so I’m very happy with my shooting progress.
SHOT ARC and BACKSPIN
I touched on this section in my first review and it is a nice tool use . It is not part of the “workout” per se but you can challenge yourself with your own goals i.e ten shots in a row with ideal spin and arc. I consistently had ideal arc and spin but when I didn’t my shots were almost always flat.
Above: I don’t know how this is even possible .
DRIBBLING PROGRESS, PRO LEVEL
In my last entry after 6 weeks of training with the ball, I passed the first three levels and had not passed any of the Pro Level workout drills. I am very pleased to say that I have completed almost all of the drills in the Pro Level after some extra effort and motivation. Nothing motivated me more than failure, it just so happened I was not happy with my play in some losses in my Open League and during some tournament play. I didn’t lose the ball due to turning poor dribbling but I didn’t feel like going to my weak hand (right) enough. I still haven’t come close to sniffing the Pro Level cross over speed, behind the back speed or power but I have passed everything else. I have been working constantly on cross over speed by dropping back to the College Star level bc it is more encouraging to pass the level on occasion than totally fail every time. As I said in my earlier entry, I think there should be one more level between Pro and College star since the jump is very significant.
I also incorporated more game time drills into my workout to give myself some different feels and looks with the ball. The drills the 94Fifty use aren’t revolutionary but they are definitely effective in building basketball muscles and fast twitch speed. I have also been using the skill section of the app to measure how I actually dribble in game with the drills I mentioned above to help me strengthen my weak spots.
I also noticed 94Fifty has added more drill videos on their YouTube Channel . I’ll have to check those out and see if I I can learn some new drills.
I absolutely love using the Skill training Dribble Power tool because that’s the main difference between what constitutes a weak hand and strong hand. I know I can pound a ball with similar power on both hands when the ball is close by my side but now I can see if I’m improving and getting stronger when I’m turning a corner or putting the ball further from body. Even when I think I’m evening out my hand strength, the app tells me that I’m not; it’s akin to thinking you’re flying like MJ for a rebound but then you see on film yo barely jumped past your socks. Feedback is critical to improving and if you don’t have eyes watching you, how will you improve ? That’s exactly what the 94fifty gives you, a set of eyes and benchmarks to improve your game.
ON COURT RESULTS
Since no stats exist for dribbling prowess, I can only say I have better control of the ball in game and under pressure thanks to more time with the 94fifty. Turnovers are down, assists are up, and I’m penetrating better than before. Sure, part of it is mental but knowing I put in the work and seeing improvement gives me the confidence to put the ball on floor.
12 weeks is not a long time to train but I am pleased with the ball and my results thus far. My shot feels a little quicker thanks to the workouts and my handles have really come along since buying the ball. With all workouts, complacency and boredom is where progress stalls but the 94Fifty really helps push me by showing me where I can improve. I’ll keep working on the shooting and dribbling workouts specifically the cross overs and behind the backs. I hope to get another update out in the next 6 weeks as well.