How Is the Value of the Stock Index Calculated?

Recap – What is a stock index?

A stock index is a statistical indicator that measures the combined value of a number of underlying stock prices. As stock indices are usually formed by a group of leading stocks in a market, they represent the overall health of an economy as well as the value of the stocks.

Although a stock index is not a tradeable product, but the rise and fall of its value can be traded on.

Methods for determining stock index prices

The price of each stock represented in a stock index affects the overall value of the index. However, there are different methods for determining how much weight each stock should be allocated. These include:

• Price-weighting
• Capitalisation weighting/ market-value weighting
• Market-share weighting
• Fundamental weighting
• Float-adjusted weighting
• Equal weighting

Price-weighted stock indices

A price-weighted stock index is an index where the fraction that a stock makes up of an index is proportionate to the price of that stock. This means that a stock trading at $500 will make up 10 times more of the total index when compared to a stock trading at $50.

Price-weighted stock indices do not accurately reflect underlying market values, as the stock trading at $500 could be that of a small company, whereas the stock trading at $50 could be that of a large company. As the stock of the smaller company makes up 10 times more of the total value of the index than the larger company, a change in its price will have a larger impact on the value of the stock index than a change in the price of the larger company. Meanwhile, the combined market values will not change to the same degree as the price of the larger company has not changed.

Also, price-weighted indices need to be constantly adjusted, as the changing prices of stocks will affect their appropriate weight in the index.

Examples of price-weighted indices include the Amex Major Market Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NYSE ARCA Tech 100 Index.

Capitalisation-weighted stock indices

In contrast to price-weighted stock indices, a capitalisation-weighted/market-value weighted index factors in the size of the company as well as the share price. This means the impact of a company’s price change is proportional to its overall market value, or the share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding.

Consequently, small changes in large companies will have a greater influence on the value of the stock index than larger changes in small companies.

Some examples of capitalisation-weighted indices include the Hang Seng Index, Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, NASDAQ Composite, NASDAQ-100, NYSE Composite and the Taiwan Capitalization Weighted Stock Index.

Market-share weighted indices

A stock index that is market-share weighted is similar to a capitalisation-weighted index, but a market-share weighted index measures the price of shares relative to the number of shares, as opposed to their total value.

Fundamentally-weighted stock indices

Fundamentally-weighted stock indices weight stock indices by one of many economic fundamental factors, or by a composite of several fundamental factors.

This method of weighting argues that fundamental factors, such as sales, earnings, book value, cash flow and dividends, are a more accurate measure of its value than the share price, which can fluctuate with investor sentiment. One of the benefits of trading on these indices is that they might average out sector-specific biases.

Fundamentally-weighted stock indices are often contrasted to capitalisation-weighted indices. As the method of capitalisation-weighted stock indices focuses on company size and share prices, capitalisation-weighted indices could overweight overvalued stocks while underweighting undervalued stocks, meaning investors can’t see the true value of a company, and that the index doesn’t provide a true representation of an economy. As fundamental weighting weights industries by fundamental factors, an over- or undervalued share value will not have as large an impact.

That being said, although there isn’t a perfect correlation between fundamentals and share prices, there is some correlation, as large changes in fundamentals can result in large share-price movements. This was evidenced in the global financial crisis, when both fundamentally-weighted and capitalisation-weighted indices plummeted.

Float-adjusted weighted stock indices

Traditionally, capitalisation-weighted stock indices have had full-weighting. Full-weighting means that all shares outstanding for each company are included. Recently, many capitalisation-weighted indices have shifted to float-adjusted weighting, which takes into account the proportion of shares a company has free floated.

Both the S&P 500 and S&P 100 indices are now float-weighted.

Equal-weighted stock indices

Equal-weighted stock indices assign each stock in an index the same weight, so a movement in the share price of all companies have the same impact on the index, regardless on the size or market-share of that company.

Get Search Engines – Index Your Website

If you want free search engine traffic from the search engines then the first step is to get your website indexed by the search engines. As long as your site is not indexed by Google, Yahoo and MSN, these search engines won’t even know that your site exists.

You will find many SEO Services on the internet that claim to getting your site indexed by hundreds of search engines on payment of $50-$100. Most of these SEO Services are just taking the webmaster for a ride; avoid them. Many SEO services online will charge you something like $50-$100 for getting your site indexed by hundreds of search engines. The truth is most of these services are not good. Don’t waste your money. You can get your site indexed for free by the three important search engines.

In my opinion, there are only three search engines on the internet; Google, Yahoo and MSN. The other so called search engines have so little traffic that you can ignore them. Focus on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Google is the most important search engine. In fact, it is the search engine. If your website is not indexed by Google than forget about getting search engine traffic. Google gets more than 60% of the search engine traffic and its share of the global internet searches is on the rise. Ignore it at your peril!

Yahoo gets around 30% of the search traffic online. This is the second largest search engine. Getting indexed on Yahoo is also important for you. Yahoo can give you a lot of traffic for free.

MSN is the youngest search engine among the top three and is also called the Baby Search Engine. MSN share of the search engine traffic is less than 10%. Somehow MSN could not compete with Google and Yahoo in the online world and has been left behind. Most of the people who go on MSN, are not internet savvy, so you should expect very good conversions on it. Studies show that MSN converts 3 times better as compared to Google.

For getting your site indexed on Google. Open a Google Webmaster Tools account. Submit your site as well as its sitemap. Wait for a few days. Googlebot will come and crawl your site and get is indexed. It is as simple as that. People try to portray as if getting indexed by Google is difficult. But with Google Webmasters Tools, rest assured, Googlebot will index your site in a week.

Yahoo has its own Yahoo Explorer service. Open an account. Submit your site and its RSS feed. Yahoo takes a bit long in indexing a site. But once you have submitted your site, dont worry much. Your site will be in the Yahoo index in around a month’s time.

You can also get your site indexed on MSN by clicking on the Webmaster link on the bottom of each MSN search page. Submit your site. MSNbot will index your site in a few days. Just focus on these three major search engines. Rest of the search engines are not worth wasting your time.

Website Indexed in Days – How to Get Your Site Indexed in Just Days by All the Search Engines

Some people have trouble getting their site indexed quickly by the search engines. There are a number of easy ways to make sure that your website does get indexed and quickly.

What is indexing?

It is the adding of a website or web page to the index of a search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo! or Ask. The index of these is the collection of web pages that they have crawled and can return in a search result.

Obviously if you want to show up in search results to get free traffic it is crucial that you get as much of your site indexed.

Hypothetically search engines are happy to index a website within seconds if they see it as very important. So the key to getting indexed is making your site seem more important. There are a number of ways to do this.

Build high Page Rank backlinks

Backlinks are links from one website to another. They are seen as a vote for a website. The more votes a web page has the more important it is. Unfortunately backlinks are not made equal the more Page Rank they carry the more important the vote is to the search engines. Here are a couple of easy link build techniques:

Article marketing

Writing and submitting articles to article directories is a great way to build inbound links. This is because all article distribution sites allow you to place links at the bottom of your article to your website.

Write an eBook

Writing an eBook and giving it away for free is a fantastic way to build a profile for yourself as an expert in your field as well as build high quality backlinks. You can place as many backlinks as you want within the text of the eBook and then all you have to do is to get other sites to host it and make it available to their users. There are a number of eBook directories for free eBooks.

Video marketing

Much like article marketing, video marketing is creating videos and submitting them to the numerous video directories like YouTube. You can place a hyperlink at the start of the description of the video.

There are a couple of other ways you can make your website so that it will be indexed in days

Site architecture is very important. In general a three tier system is preferred in particular for small to medium sized websites. This entails only having any of your pages within two clicks of a button i.e. you could go from your homepage, to a second category, to any page on your website. This is ideal for a search engine robot who wants to be able to navigate a site easily. Another important part of site architecture is internal linking which is linking from one page of your site to another. The search engine robot wants to find its way around your site by following links so oblige it by placing links within the text, as well as in images and navigational bars. The use of breadcrumbs is another great way to break your site into easily accessible categories.

Create an XML sitemap, this a sitemap that is only available to the search engine. You can create one on any number of free tools. It is basically a list of all the pages you want indexed on your site and their importance. You submit the sitemap to the search engine from their webmaster section and they will prioritise their robot’s visits to your site. It will go to the high priority pages first making them the most likely to be indexed.

Don’t worry too much about indexing if you have high quality content and a website that complies with the search engine’s guidelines you will have most of your site’s pages indexed and showing up in the natural search results.

Risk Free Real Estate Investing

There is no such thing as a risk free investment. But there are ways of investing that can reduce the risk well below what any investor would consider to be acceptable. Investing in National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) Real Estate is arguably the lowest risk real estate strategy available in Australia today.

Reduced Risk Profile

 

  • With rents at 20% below market value and a large pool of eligible tenants, investors can expect reduced vacancy risk.
  • With rents at 20% below market value and tenants qualifying income levels at up to $100,000 investors can be more selective in their choice of tenant.
  • Certainty of contributions from the Australian and State governments for a period of 10 years. Improved Rental Yields
  • The $9,140 annual National Rental Incentive for each rental dwelling, combined with the actual rent will improve rental yields over conventional residential investment properties.
  • The national Rental Incentive is income tax free, indexed to the rental component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and is additional to existing taxation arrangements including depreciation.

Further Benefits

 

  • NRAS is a Government Subsidised Property Investment
  • Secured Income Stream (10 Years)
  • Potentially Cash Flow Positive Investment
  • $90,000 Plus Tax Credits Over 10 Years. These are tax credits, not to be confused with tax deductions. Tax credits are effectively cash in your pocket. If your tax liability is lees than the credit, the difference is paid to you tax free.

 

NRAS property investment can counterbalance the risk and volatility of equity markets and helps to provide a balanced portfolio. The location of the properties and the attractive rents mean a stable and reliable income stream regardless of economic fluctuations.

With more than 1.5 million households eligible to rent NRAS properties, the vacancy risk is negligible. Properties must meet strict criteria for location, available facilities including public transport, schools, shopping centres etc as well as a healthy balance of rentals to owner occupied residences. All of which means high demand from tenants and potentially strong capital growth.

Investors can pick any tenants for NRAS properties, as long as these tenants do not exceed a certain income threshold. Income levels for eligible NRAS tenants are generous and allow for tenant salary increases of 25 per cent above the entry income limit.

For example, a couple with three children, earning a gross income of $100,768 per annum, is eligible to rent an NRAS dwelling. With the income increase allowance of 25 per cent, this family could earn up to $125,960 for two years before they become ineligible to remain in an NRAS property.

So investing in a National Rental Affordability Scheme property means:

 

  • Better rental yields
  • High demand from tenants meaning more choice for owners
  • Negligible vacancy rates
  • Strong potential for capital gains

 

That may not be risk free, but it is possibly the closest thing to it.

Discover the Risks of Trading Index CFDs Before Jumping on Board

Trading success can often be the result of minimizing your losses and this very point is emphasized when trading a highly leveraged product like Index CFDs. In fact the golden rule of trading success can be found in the old trading maxim: Cut your losses off short and let your profits run and if you are able to follow this formula for success you should be on the right side of the ledger more often than not.

What is an Index CFD?

Index CFDs are highly leveraged CFD products that enable you to gain access to the main indices around the world. You can begin trading the SPI 200 (sometimes referred to as the Aussie 200), FTSE, Nasdaq, S&P 500, Dow Jones and CAC 40 to name a few. You get an amazing amount of leverage as most CFD brokers allow you to trade at 1% margin or 100 times leverage.

The greatest risk to your trading account

Trading Index Contracts for Difference at 100 times leverage or 1% margin allows you to make extremely large gains or losses on your trading account. It is for this very reason that the number 1 risk to you when trading index CFDs is the way you control your leverage. When trading it is important to understand that you control the leverage on your account. This means that with $10,000 cash in your trading account, you can access as little or as much leverage as you desire. In effect this means you control how much risk you take on board by either trading a very low levels of leverage or trading risky at very high levels of leverage. Clearly the smartest option is to keep your leverage very small.

The hidden costs of trading Commission free index CFDs

Incredible amounts of marketing dollars are spent attracting new market participants to trading index CFDs and the main emphasis is on ‘commission free trading’. Now whilst they are not lying it is important to read the fine print and get a feel for what the real costs to trading this product are. All CFD brokers charge an overnight financing rate which means for every day you hold the position long, you get charged a certain rate. For index CFDs that rate is normally plus or minus 4% as opposed to plus or minus 3% for share CFDs so bear this in mind when trading the indices.

Glycemic Index Rice

Low glycemic index rice refers to product that has low amounts of simple carbohydrates. The white variety contains the highest amount of carbohydrate compare to other types. Therefore, diabetic people cannot eat white rice. White rice can increase the sugar level of the blood system at a rapid rate. When the sugar level is increased at a rapid rate, the person will feel that their appetite is not satisfied and will hunger for more food. A low glycemic index rice such, as the brown variety, is the perfect alternative to white. Besides brown, there are also other types such as short, medium and long grain. Each type of rice has a different effect on the body. Long grain rice has the lowest index ranking.

In order to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, you also need to add a variety of vegetables to your meals. There are low and high GI vegetables. Examples of vegetables with a low index value include bean sprouts, onion, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower and etc. On the internet, you can find some great websites that offer low glycemic rice recipes. You can use the recipes to cook delicious and heart healthy food for you and your family, although it is not necessary to follow recipes to cook a low glycemic meal. You can add any food such as brown rice, vegetables and fruits into your meal. To find a list of food with low carbohydrate, you can visit several helpful websites on the internet. Many websites offer free information on serving GI items and recommended serving size of the foods.

Rice, in general, has an index score of 64 – 93. Amylose rice has a lower index value compared to waxy rice. Basmati rice has low index rating and does not have a high carbohydrate content. There are two types of Basmati rice including white and brown rice. White Basmati rice has an index value of 60 while brown glycemic rice has a GI of 45. It is best to eat brown Basmati rice because it is a low glycemic index rice. The types of rice that are rich in carbohydrate and have high GI include risotto rice and other types of short grain rice. Sticky rice is high in cholesterol and carbohydrate. If you suffer from diabetes, make sure you stay away from high index rated rice. High ranked glycemic index rice can raise the sugar level in the blood and increase your appetite. You can become fat in a short time.

Using Glycemic Index Charts

Do you find it hard to take off that extra weight? Do you find yourself in constant confusion on which foods you should or should not eat? Does it feel like no matter what you do you just keep getting bigger? Or are there times when you do lose weight but gain it again as it were never gone? Don’t worry, you and millions out there suffer the same fate when it come to getting that gorgeous body and staying healthy and fit. But keep in mind that whatever you are doing maybe counter productive to your goals – that’s why it’s not working for you.

Eating is a past time for many. But having a great body does not mean letting go of this fabulous hobby. It’s a matter of eating the right kinds of food! So which ones to eat you might ask? Low glycemic food.

Glycemic index weight loss programs are suitable for almost any person wanting to get a better body. Through glycemic index research, scientists and fitness professionals have narrowed down the best foods to consume. You can get a free glycemic index chart and simply choose the foods that you want to eat. This helps you plan your meals properly and stay healthier in an easy and a hassle-free manner.

To use this free index chart, you simply refer to the list food and their glycemic value (it ranges from 0 to 100). The higher the number means it gets absorbed by the body faster. Furthermore, when glucose is rapidly absorbed by the body it raises the blood sugar level and that is what you want to avoid. The glycemic index research showed that foods with values lower than 55 is best for you. Those between 55 and 70 are relatively good while those that are 70 and above are somewhat risky choices.

Here a food trivia: a Snickers bar has lower index than a bagel! The peanuts (actually the proteins in it) in the bar lower the index number making it better to eat. So it’s not all suffering when you go on a glycemic index weight loss program. The trick is to lower the index of food by combining it with high protein ingredients. This way, it will be slowly absorbed by the body.

Going on a diet fad or some other health quick fixes will not do the trick for you – and it may even be dangerous to your health. Choose a simple and effective way of getting your desired body – use glycemic index as a guide.

5 Reasons to Purchase an Indexed Universal Life Insurance Policy

As a financial planner, I feel like Indexed Universal Life insurance is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized tools and asset classes in the market today. I believe that this is because of the newness of the product itself. Indexed Universal Life(IUL from here on out) has only been around for a little over 15 years. Because of this, most financial advisors don’t fully understand it. IUL’s came around after they received their education and set their practices. Thus, individuals aren’t learning from experts, but rather, they rely on media pundits for any information on these programs. In an effort to further educate you, and promote a wonderful product, I give 5 reasons to buy an IUL.

The first great reason to have an IUL in your retirement portfolio is the fact that these products provide minimum guarantees. Unlike placing your funds directly into the market, these funds are protected from the market. They earn interest in a unique way. Interest is credited based on the performance of a chosen index. Rather than being invested in the actual market, you merely receive a portion of the index return. Again, the worst-case scenario is that you earn 0% in a given year. You can never lose money due to market fluctuations. Each year that you do earn interest, that interest is locked in and becomes part of the principal amount guaranteed to not be at risk to the market. What a great way to plan for retirement. This system of guarantees also removes the risk of retiring at the wrong time, when your account value is low due to market losses. It also prevents catastrophic damage to your retirement due to losses in the early years of your retirement.

In addition to the downside protection, these products can perform very well; often times outperforming the market returns seen in a typical investment portfolio. So you don’t have to give up a good return to find a safe haven for your retirement nest egg.

The second great reason for purchasing an IUL is the tax-free death benefit.

Life insurance is often used as a tool in estate planning. It is treated favorably by the IRS tax codes. Often, the funds coming from a death benefit from a life insurance policy are passed on to beneficiaries income tax free. Indexed Universal Life is no different. It becomes a wonderful tool to pass on assets tax free. Unlike other retirement options, such as a 401k, the assets held in an IUL pass on without taxes and give you immediate access to the funds, unlike assets held in real estate. It is also very typical, due to the death benefit common in all life insurance policies, that the death benefit will exceed the accumulation value of the account, meaning you not only leave more to your beneficiaries by paying less in taxes, but also because of the higher death benefit.

The third great reason for looking at an IUL is for the incredible supplemental retirement income that can be generated from it. What if you could put an unlimited amount of money into a Roth IRA, pay taxes on the principal now and have an income generated, tax free, for your retirement, and you could even access it early if you wanted? That would be an incredible deal, right? Well, it exists. It’s called an IUL. You can create a tax-free income through these IUL’s without having to worry about the timing of the market. Rather than rolling the dice of where the tax brackets fall out over your lifetime, why not draw at least part of your income through a program that allows you to fund it limitlessly, and not have to worry about paying taxes on the gains?

This is achieved through policy loans. It’s a new concept, but hear me out. Through a policy loan, you are able to draw out an income from your IUL tax free. Everyone always asks me “what if tax laws change?” Valid question. In theory, it is possible that the laws change and these funds do become taxable, but that would be odd. The government doesn’t tax our loans, only the asset by which the loan is guaranteed. Think for example of your car loan… you pay a property tax on that auto, but you don’t have to treat the loan from the bank that you used as income because it wasn’t income, you have to pay it back. These policy loans function the same way.

Diversification is the fourth reason to purchase an IUL. Since the bulk of your retirement funds are probably in taxed deferred savings accounts, like traditional IRA’s and 401k’s, IUL’s can provide a diversification, not only in asset class, but also in the tax treatment of the account. We typically believe in diversification and have been taught that since our high school years, yet we all have our retirement in the same types of vehicles. All are tax-deferred time bombs with minimum distribution ages and minimum distribution requirements or maximum contribution amounts controlled by the government and current economics in the USA. We are all typically in a blend of stocks and bonds, crossing our fingers that when that day comes to retire, we are up, not down. Hopefully we’ve picked well, though we be uneducated as can be, and yet we bank on this as our retirement program and a whole industry has built itself around it. Amazing that we’ve heard this same concept preached for over 2 decades and we’re still drinking the kool-aide. I’m not going to tell you to not drink, just try a different flavor for a minute. It should be noted that when taxes go up, and they inevitably will, you will pay taxes on those funds that are in taxed deferred accounts. This can hurt the value of the dollars you have saved in those accounts. There is also a little thing called an RMD. Required Minimum Distributions are what the federal government requires us to withdraw from our retirement accounts, based on our age, as a percentage of our account balance. There is always the possibility of these percentages increasing so the taxes can be collected on these funds. This could also cause you to withdraw funds you don’t need. An IUL gives you a great hedge against these potential tax issues.

Finally, the fifth reason to purchase an IUL is because they allow you to work towards becoming your own banker. Have you ever found it odd that you borrow money from a bank even though you have money in the bank? I have. Most IUL’s have loan provisions allowing you to borrow from and pay back your life insurance. The nice thing is, by doing this, you pay yourself the interest rather than the bank. You continue to have a retirement fund that is growing and you aren’t losing years’ worth of interest to the bank. Think of all the interest you have paid for credit cards, auto loans, your mortgage, etc. You can borrow yourself the money instead and you don’t have to worry about the approval process at the bank. Many business owners feel that term insurance is the only type of life insurance for them because they don’t want to tie up their money. This is a false assumption. The funds “tied up” in life insurance are not locked up, but rather, provide more access to funds than most investment opportunities. The funds can be borrowed and replaced with relative ease, making it a wonderful program for creating your own personal banking system.

One final little bonus is that your IUL is permanent insurance, as long as it is built correctly and you fund it properly. You’ll likely have lifetime coverage, even after stopping your premium payments and taking withdrawals. Long after your term insurance is gone, you’ll still have a death benefit to leave those you love.

For these reasons, along with many others, indexed universal life insurance is a great way to help fund your retirement. It is not perfect for all situations, and it is always wise to consult your advisor before purchasing any retirement funding program. That being said, there are five reasons you should give your advisor a call and find out if an IUL is right for you.

Free Glycemic Index Information – Learn How the Glycemic Index Can Help Improve Your Health

When it comes for free, grab it and make the most out of it. Just like your free glycemic index – a free everyday guide to healthy eating and fabulous body.

How does it do this? Well, the GI is defined as the numerical computation of how much reaction the blood sugar level produce when a certain food is ingested by the body. Guarding the insulin level is very important to people with diseases such as diabetes and certain heart problems. So, having knowledge of what a food may cause them will be very essential.

Low GI foods contribute less in the rise of the blood sugar level as compared to the high GI foods. Therefore, it is safe to assume that foods having low GI are healthy foods. Furthermore, eating low GI foods can keep you stay in shape. The slow rate of digestion of low GI foods makes that possible because for as long as the foods are still being digested by the body, you wouldn’t be craving for anything yet. Thus, minimizing food intake and reducing risks of acquiring unnecessary fats.

The free glycemic index will guide you in your everyday meal plan. You don’t have to be doing a lot of exercise or do fasting anymore, just get a copy of free glycemic index lists or charts and depend on these for your shopping needs to know which food you should maximize. If you would like low GI meals, there are also online low GI recipes that you may follow. With the popularity of the this index diet nowadays, just a click on the mouse and you are off to a healthy and sexy body.

So go on and grab your free glycemic index. Nothing as good as this has ever come at no cost before, so better make use of it as much as you can.

Basketball Free Throw Shooting – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

No matter which clinic I ever hold for shooting improvement classes I always get a boat load of questions and concerns about shooting mechanics. Here is a list that covers some of those concerns.

Question 1. How important are the feet when shooting free throws?

Answer 1. There are many answers to this because it really does not matter how the feet line up as long as the feet are not too close together or too far apart. Shoulder width is perfect. Also don’t get hung up on being square to the basket on a free throw specifically. You can shoot just as well if you are facing a left wall. As long as your shooting shoulder and arm can be square to the basket that is the most important factor. The feet have little to do with the shot. You should spend most of your mental energy on the follow through, the finger spread, wrist movement and index finger touching the ball last.

Question 2. What part of the rim should I focus on?

Answer 2. No specific part. Focus on the whole rim. It is too hard to watch a spot on the front or back of the rim. Focus on the rim as a whole specifically for distance and then your mind dictates to your index finger to shoot the ball straight and it is also a big part of the sensitivity and touch that helps make the shot go straight. Crooked shots rarely go in. Judging the distance is a lot easier than shooting the ball straight since about 78% of shots are crooked.

Question 3. Does any specific finger dominate in the shot release process?

Answer 3. Again there are various ideas floating around. But through scientific logic and the makeup of the bone structure of the hand it is best to place the index finger on the center of the ball at 90 degrees to the seams. Not 75 or 80 degrees.. 90 degrees. Look at the back of your hand with your fingers spread as wide as possible. You will notice that the tip of the index finger and the tips of the thumb and pinky form an imaginary triangle. since this forms an almost perfect triangle it stands to reason that the index finger should be on the center of the ball and doing the most damage. The index finger should also line up with the elbow joint, the center of the ball and the center of the rim. These should be in alignment just before you pull the trigger, even though they may not be aligned prior to the shot.

Question 4. How do you get perfect ball rotation?

Answer 4. Perfect rotation happens naturally with correct mechanics. It is hard to believe something so simple is really butchered by thousands of players due mostly to their anatomical structure, ball hand alignment and poor follow through. Simply place your index finger in the center of the ball spread your fingers as wide as possible without tensing up, and shoot the ball in the air with the index finger touching the ball last and voila, perfect rotation. If the middle and /or ring finger add any contact to the ball you will notice the angle of the ball is slightly tilted. Another killer of correct rotation is the guide hand thumb which adds some side spin to the ball. Millions use their thumb and did so ever since they were little. The culprit here is lack of strength then over the years it became a habit, (a bad one at that)

Question 5. Should you watch the rim or the ball in flight after the shot has been released?

Answer 5. The great shooters watch the ball in flight. Examples, Jordan, Stojakovic, Nash, Nowitzki, Bird, Palubinskas, etc. Your eyes start the shot by watching and measuring the distance of the rim. You release the ball and the moment the ball leaves your index finger on the follow through your eyes move from the rim to the flight of the ball. It is much better control and you can study the shot and tell better if the ball is going in or not. You can also tell if your rotation is bad and this will reveal to you that you have a mechanical problem that needs attention.

Question 6. How important is a pre-shot routine.

Answer 6. It has no relevance at all to the life cycle of the shot. If you have the strength the ball needs then you will always pause the shot in the shooting pocket before it is released. So if you do pause, then no matter what pre shot mumbo jumbo one does, the pause will kill any pre-shot routine. (remember K.I.S.S.) The less movement the better. But it is a personal preference to do some cool things, I guess. Jason Kidd blows kisses to the wind, Karl Malone used to pray before a shot. Go figure.

Question 7. During any shot, what ‘mental picture’ should I have in my mind ,if any?

Answer 7. It should definitely not be an image of you making or missing the basket. This is a useless thought. If this is the case then this proves that there is no thought process on any shooting mechanics, exactly where the mind should be focused on. You should absolutely be thinking about the one or two worst mechanical flaws you are aware of that causes your most missed shots. Do you shoot short? Are you always left? Do you tend to shoot long? Every miss has a reason behind it. Recognize and rectify. Do you have a flying elbow? Is your hand scrunched up and in the cookie jar? Is your hand closed on the release? Does your wrist look floppy and loose after the release? etc etc. You get the idea.

Question 8. How important is it to shoot with the ball seams ?

Answer 8. No significance at all. Another personal preference. You can do it during free throws but during a game you don’t have time to line up the seams for a shot. You can shoot just as well with a seamless ball as long as the weight is official.

Question 9. Is there an optimal angle for a follow through?

Answer 9. Yes, absolutely. They say it is between 42 and 48 degrees, which will bring an average down to 45 degrees which is right in the middle. Understand that the higher the arc the more longer shots will hit the front of the rim. The flatter the arc the more perfect the shot should be because the rim flattens out reducing the area of entry.

Question 10. Does the hand as a whole shoot the ball or do the fingers play a big role?

Answer 10. Great question. Understanding this is the biggest and most important part of the whole shooting science. Mastering the hand placement, touch and feel control and release mechanism is more important than the rest of the factors involved in shooting. Too many players have the ball resting on the whole hand including all the pads and the palm. The way to get the palm off the ball is to widen your grip as wide as possible without too much tension. The wider the hand the easier it is for you and your mind to feel what fingers are applying the correct amount of energy to the shot. For example I number each finger to allow for accountability. The thumb is zero, the index finger is #1, the mid finger is #2, the ring finger is #3 and the pinky finger is #4. The thumb and pinky maintain support and width and are responsible for about 5% eac on the ball while the index finger is responsible for the other 90%. It does the lion’s share of the work. Notice I have left out #’s 2 and 3, since I believe they do more damage than good since they tend to go across the grain or in a lateral movement thus detracting from the perfect straight direction the ball needs.

Question 11. Why is it that the ring finger and the mid finger should have little effect on the shot?

Answer 11. Scientifically speaking, you will notice that there are no appendages (fingers) between the thumb and the forefinger. But obviously there are 2 fingers between the index finger and the Pinky. This creates a natural imbalance that does not benefit consistent accuracy. Due to this imbalance and the extra weight of these 2 fingers the tendency is for the hand to always move inwards towards the body causing lateral movement which is responsible for crooked shots. All the fingers must move forward to the basket without any lateral sway. Watch a bear, tiger, or bulldog walk and you will notice that their front paws always move back and inwards when they walk. Same principle. BUT, I will add this. For those weak individuals who have thin arms, hands and fingers I think it may be a good idea if they join the index and mid finger together on the ball which basically makes the index finger stronger. But there can be no more than a quarter inch extra length on the mid finger otherwise it will dominate the release point.

Question 12. Why is there somewhat of a difference between boys and girls shooting mechanics?

Answer 12. One main reason that separates the boys from the girls is the ‘strength factor’. Generally speaking until the age of puberty boys and girls are about the same in upper body strength. This ranges around 12-14 years old. I could be wrong here. Anyhow it takes longer for girls to develop a true jump shot because they really don’t jump very high and if your jump is only a few inches there is not much time within which to develop a ‘pause’ just before you release the ball. Plus the ‘shot pockets’ are usually much lower when strength is lacking. The ideal ‘shot pocket’ is just above the forehead but it takes strength in the upper body, arms and hands to be able to shoot from this position. Anytime you shoot from the chest, chin, or face area this means the ball is being thrust at the basket without any ‘pause time’ thus giving less time to aim.

Question 13. How important is ‘timing’ on a jump shot or a free throw shot in general?

Answer 13. It does affect some players who get their shot out of ‘sync’ due to leverage and improper mechanics. Anytime a player brings the ball past the top of their head or way to the side of their head and go into what I call a ‘negative’ phase, then this creates more of a launching mode where the first move is ‘at’ the rim. The initial movement of the ball should always be ‘up’ first then ‘at’ the rim. This changes leverage on a shot by bringing it way behind the head.
Also during a jump shot you do not want to have the ball in your hand on the way down. If you must it is better to shoot on the way up than on the way down. Shooting on the way down is a real strength drain.

Question 14. How important is it to be ‘squared up” before you shoot?

Answer 14. It depends. Around the basket it is not so important because you can twist and turn your body in relation to other bodies and use the wrist and fingers to maneuver the ball to the hoop. But when you are further out you want to have as much body control as possible and having your feet squared also squares your shoulders and you are basically shooting a free throw from all over the court. If you have the upper body strength you can afford to be less ‘squared up’ because you can make up for lower body irregularities with upper body strength. Not recommended but it happens all the time. As long as the upper body or shoulders are squared your chances are improved. What about one legged shots, or fadeaways? In these cases the lower body is irregular but the upper body is usually squared. Another important point here is that the key body part that needs to be squared to the basket is the shoulder elbow and wrist joints.

Question 15. You hear so much about the follow through yet there are thousands of different ones. Is there such a thing as a perfect follow through?

Answer 15. Now we are getting serious. This is where coaches and players should spend more time, on the perfect follow through. I can only answer from experience and how my follow through helps me shoot at 99% from the line. You can still be a great shooter with variations but the key is to follow natural laws or scientific.