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Why UNC’s Nate Britt switched shooting hands

By Andrew Carter
acarter@newsobserver.com
SPORTS BKC-DUKE-UNC 5 RA
Robert Willett - MCT
North Carolina’s Nate Britt, left, is a natural lefty, but does many things right-handed.

CHAPEL HILL North Carolina sophomore guard Nate Britt answered more than six minutes’ worth of questions on Thursday about his decision to change his shooting hand from left to right. The questions went something like this:

Why did you decide to make the change?

Do you have statistics that show how it’s working out so far?

Why did you shoot left-handed until now?

Do the mechanics feel better right-handed as opposed to left?

Did anyone tell you you’re crazy for doing this?

And on they went. Britt made the decision to change shooting hands after he shot 36.7 percent from the field during his freshman season. He made 25 percent of his 3-pointers. Shooting right-handed, which he has been doing during summer workouts, isn’t new to him.

Growing up, Britt shot with both hands. He’s a natural lefty, but does a bunch of things right-handed – like throwing a baseball, for instance. In tennis and ping-pong, though, he primarily uses his left hand. Britt said he and his father used to have conversations often about which hand to shoot a basketball with.

“So it’s always been like an idea or thought for me to switch back to my right hand,” Britt said.

So why did he shoot left-handed to begin with? Well, he is left-handed. And, early on, he said, his coaches wanted him to focus on just shooting with one hand. So the left won out.

Until it didn’t anymore. Britt’s shooting motion – with his left hand, at least – has always featured a slight hitch. It’s not a fluid motion. And he didn’t shoot particularly well during his freshman season.

Shooting right-handed feels more natural, he said. He has a smoother release. Britt said he has noticed improvement, though it’s difficult to quantify that during summer workouts.

“Mechanically, it does feel a whole lot more natural,” Britt said. “The mechanics, I’ve been told, look a whole lot better. … I think I’ve always kind of felt like the right hand felt a little more natural, because even from when I first picked up the basketball, my natural instinct was to shoot with my right hand. Even though I was left-handed.”

Britt shoots a lot with UNC assistant coach Hubert Davis, and said he tries to make “at least a couple hundred” shots per day.

Britt played an average of about 20 minutes per game last season, and he’s likely to play a prominent role again in UNC’s suddenly crowded backcourt. Marcus Paige, an All-American candidate, can play either point guard or shooting guard. Joel Berry, a heralded point guard from outside of Orlando, Fla., will be in the mix, too.

Did anyone tell him he was crazy to change shooting hands after his freshman year of college? Yes, Britt said. That happened.

“Those are all people who didn’t watch me growing up, though,” Britt said. “Everyone who’s seen me play with both kind of felt like that wasn’t a big deal.”

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