Three-Finger Zen (3fz) Techniques


One-Hand Universal Ball-Handling Mechanism

3fz Mechanism in Hand


Full Name: Three-Finger Zen

Technical Name: Universal Ball-Handling Mechanism

Meanings: Three Fingers (MAP): Middle finger, Annular (ring) finger, and Pinky (little finger)

Zen: The way of understanding and manipulating basketball

Technical Description:

  • A one-hand ball-handling skill by actively controlling the ball with the three fingertips, while thumb and index fingers are passively involved to support the ball
  • In a ball-handling process (dribble, pass, or shoot), it comprises MAP catch, Finger-Spring Cup (FSC) control, and MAP release of the basketball.
  • In ball-handling processes, Universal Alignment (4u1) of hand is maintained for precise ball control.


Technical Name: Universal Shooting Mechanism

Technical Descriptions:

  • 3fz application in shooting the basketball with the non-shooting hand’s assistance
  • Reverse-Finger Twist (RFT) is a key technique added to 3fz for setting a UniShot.

Low-Hand UniShot: An underhanded shot, it takes the form of a regular layup by shooting the ball with hand supination—palming up.

Please view Amazing Shot on YouTube:

Up-Hand UniShot: It takes a mixed form of the conventional shooting in hand and arm posture and hook shots’ high release positions by shooting the ball with hand pronation—palming down.


Technical Name: Universal Alignment

Technical Descriptions:

  • The neural connections and biomechanical associations (via palm) in the hand between the first (thumb) and fourth (ring) fingers, in a form of fully opposed thumb and abducted fingers of an open hand, to transfer power and control to the basketball in ball-handling processes
  • A precise relative positioning of five fingers on the surface of basketball, adjustable through ball manipulations of thumb and ring finger for different ball handlings
  • A geometric curve of the hand, along the inner sideline (to middle finger) of the ring finger to the thumb tip, focusing the center of basketball and aligning the ball to a target
  • An adjustable tip-to-tip alignment, by twisting fingers with a pivot at the ring finger, for shooting, passing, or dribbling basketball

Shooting 4u1: Inner tips alignment of thumb and ring finger for up-hand UniShot

Passing 4u1: Alignment of the inner tip of ring finger to the middle tip of thumb for passing or low-hand UniShot

Dribbling 4u1: The outer tip of thumb and the inner/middle tip of ring finger alignment for dribbling


Full Name: Finger-Spring Cup

Technical Descriptions:

  • A 3fz component
  • A flexible, imaginary cup of the hand formed with five fingertips as brim, dynamically sucking or holding the ball in changing directions dictated by 4u1
  • Variable in sizes by adducting/abducting the thumb


Full Name: Reverse-Finger Twist

Technical Descriptions:

  • A UniShot component
  • A shot-setting technique with two hands holding and twisting the ball on its opposite sides in reversed directions

Universal Alignment (4u1) of Three-Finger Zen

3fz's 4u1

Technical Name:           Universal Alignment (4u1)

Technical Description

The neural connections and biomechanical associations (via palm) in the hand between the first (thumb) and fourth (ring) fingers, in a form of fully opposed thumb and abducted fingers of an open hand, to transfer power and control to the basketball in ball-handling processes

A precise relative positioning of five fingers on the surface of basketball, adjustable through ball manipulations of thumb and ring finger for different ball handlings

A geometric curve of the hand, along the inner sideline (to middle finger) of the ring finger to the thumb tip, focusing the center of basketball and aligning the ball to a target

An adjustable tip-to-tip alignment, by twisting fingers with a pivot at the ring finger, for shooting, passing, or dribbling basketball

Shooting 4u1

Shooting 4u1: Inner tips alignment of thumb and ring finger for up-hand UniShot

Passing/Layup 4u1

Passing 4u1: Alignment of the inner tip of ring finger to the middle tip of thumb for passing or low-hand UniShot

Dribbling/Passing 4u1

Dribbling 4u1: The outer tip of thumb and the inner/middle tip of ring finger alignment for dribbling

Universal Alignment is the unique ball-control mechanism of the hand, aligned between the tips of the thumb and ring finger via the palm. In the process of controlling the basketball, it works in the following ways:

  • On catching or holding the ball, the ring finger and thumb form a curve, focusing the center point of the ball, with the open fingertips pressing on the ball at each end of the curve.
  • In changing ball-moving directions, the ring finger and thumb curve (4u1) keeps its focus at the ball center and applies the middle finger, little finger, and wrist to control the ball’s movements.
  • On the release, the tip of the ring finger, the ball center, and the target are aligned in the same straight line.

The law of 3fz one-hand ball control is 4u1. In handling the basketball, it is universally applicable to all ball skills, adjustable to players’ body movements and postures, and independent of ball-moving directions and court positions. The 4u1 principle apples in every hand-ball contact, regardless of whether catching, dribbling, passing, or shooting.

The 4u1 alignment is an innate neural and biomechanical unity of the hand, from the tip of the ring finger through the palm to the distal thumb. Once acquired, 4u1 is static and natural in the hand, never lost. It can be flexibly adjusted in dribbling, passing and shooting. Your dynamic body—elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, and foot—aligns automatically with the hand’s 4u1 in shooting processes. It enables 3fz to generate the most accurate basketball-shooting mechanism, UniShot.

The technical standard of the 3fz mechanism is 4u1. Whether you dribble, pass, or shoot the basketball, the key is maintaining 4u1 in your hand from ball catch to final release. Biomechanically, the 4u1-aligned hand can generate exceptional power and control to direct the ball to intended dribbling spot and bounce, optimal passing speed and curve, and desired shooting arc and spin. With 4u1 in hand, a player can securely and smoothly control the ball with one hand, while the other hand can protect the ball or fend off the defense.



Three-Finger Zen: A Revolutionary Basketball Skill

In my newly published book Three-Finger Zen: A Basketball Revolution. I revealed all the technical secrets of the Three-Finger Zen (3fz) techniques and also provided training methods for any individual to achieve basketball excellence that 3fz enables.

Here is the summary of 3fz techniques:

Three-Finger Zen (3fz), Universal Ball-Handling Mechanism, is a natural mechanism of human hand and arm for handling a big round ball like a basketball. It applies primarily the last three fingers (middle, ring and little fingers) of hand to control the basketball in dribbling, passing and shooting. The 3fz techniques include Universal Shooting Mechanism (UniShot), Universal Alignment (4u1), Finger-Spring Cup (FSC), and Reverse Finger-Twist (RFT).

Three-Finger Zen has following unique technical attributes:

  • Integrates basketball-handling skills (dribble, pass and shoot) to one 3fz mechanism.
  • Produces unchallengeable shooting with excellent accuracy and precision.
  • Enables one-hand ball control with great dynamics and security.
  • Gives offense technical dominance over single-coverage defense.
  • Protects offensive players and prevent passive injures.
  • Significantly improves athletic abilities and lowers physical requirements of players.
  • Enhances physical, mental and intellectual development of children.
  • Sparks logic and artistic intelligence in youths and adults.
  • Facilitates physical and academic education of students.
  • Promotes physical and mental health of the general public.

A 3fz revolution will bring to the basketball world, school students and the general public:

  • An integrated individual basketball skill with overall technical advantages over the conventional skills for a full technical take-over in a few years.
  • Much changed basketball offense: more accurate long shots, dynamic team games, fast transitions, and spectacular moves and plays that all have never been seen before.
  • Total different defense strategy: double team every player with the ball in the perimeter to avoid unchallengeable, accurate three-point UniShot.
  • Five players are not enough to defend a 3fz team, and the three-point range is too short for UniShot. Eventually the game rules will be changed and the court redesigned.
  • The conventional basketball players have to learn 3fz techniques; otherwise they can’t play any competitive games in a few years.
  • The conventional basketball teachers, trainers and coaches need to understand 3fz techniques in order to upgrade their careers.
  • There will be more intelligent and athletic basketball players, and only the smartest can be the best players.
  • School children will have much better physical and academic educations with 3fz training and conditioning.
  • There will be more creative, self-coached sport stars with high academic degrees such as master’s and PhD.
  • There will be more people practicing 3fz for health living, eventually basketball will the most participated sport in the world.



Fatal Shooting Problems and Technical Obstacles of NBA Basketball (1)

Different from other popular sports such as soccer and volleyball, basketball gives its participants an overall workout of their upper bodies as well as lower bodies, and it allows them to play with similar skill sets for all five positions.

With the moves, passes, tricks, and so many ways of scoring, basketball is a game full of spectacular plays. People enjoy playing or watching the game because they want to have the physical dynamics, mental excitement, and creativity of basketball.

However, the basketball shooting is a rigid part of the game. It lacks variety, dynamics, and creativity. The sole incentive of players for spending most of their training time in shooting practice is that the conventional shooting method is the most effective way of scoring three-pointers. That is the reason that the modern basketball produces so many dedicated, strong-willed shooters—because they can dramatically change the game results with their three-point shots.


A jump (or standing) shot is the prime scoring method in modern basketball games; therefore, it is the most practiced skill of the sport. In preparation of competitions, great shooters might make over 90 percent of jump shots in practice just a few hours before the game. But facing challenging defense, they can only score about 40 percent of their attempts during the game. That is the reality of professional basketball games. Clearly, the defensive pressure makes the huge drop (about 50 percent in the NBA games) in the shooting percentages.

The conventional two-hand over-the-head shooting, whether jumping or not jumping, is a hard and explosive shot. Long-range shots require great physical strengths. The shooting skill utilizes limited resources of the body, mainly the upper body. Ergonomically, the conventional shooting mechanics are rigid, unnatural, or too mechanical—not related to any common, traditional human civil or military activities such as lifting, throwing, pushing, swinging, turning, running, and even jumping (one-footed).

Learning the shooting techniques is a long, hard process, and it takes players years to practice. The training process is tedious and boring, and there is a lot of wear and tear and overuse in their body tissues. Professional players tend to gradually loss their shooting sharpness and range when they reach a certain age, around thirty-five years of age.

Biomechanically, the unnatural shooting mechanics are the main cause of declined shooting accuracies and early retirements of many professionals. It is disadvantageous to the majority of people (not big or strong) to play basketball by shooting that way. This method is not suitable for small children, women, and older players.

The following sections are the detailed technical analyses of the conventional shooting problems.


Alignment Problems

Ball Release between Index Finger and Middle Finger

In the conventional shooting method, the ring finger and little finger of the hand are not very useful. As a de facto shooting standard, the basketball is released between the middle and index fingers, though some experts recommend that the ball finally be tipped off the index finger. That way, the shooting power and control are concentrated on the first three fingers, the thumb, index finger, and middle finger, in the form of a “chuck” or tripod grip. The shot is set on a relatively small and unstable control area of the radian tripod on the ball, and the non-shooting hand support is needed. Therefore, for the conventional shooting method, one-handed shooting is technically feasible for practices and practically impossible in real games.

The ring finger and little finger of the shooting hand can support the ball in the shooting process, but they cannot, and should not, produce any power or control in the shooting push, since the two fingers are shorter than the middle finger and hold on the outside curvy surface of the basketball.

Because the ring finger and little finger are directly associated with ulna mobility, a turn (supination or pronation) of the palm will change the shooting direction or cause a sidespin on the ball. This is the reason that the two lower fingers should not be applied to generate any shooting power or control in the shooting process, except for temporarily supporting the ball for stability. In fact, even their support is unnecessary since there is the non-shooting hand support.

Elbow In, a False Shooting Alignment

Elbow in, to keep the shooting arm a straight line, is a desired alignment of the conventional shooting method. It requires good flexibility, which many players lack. Physiologically, it is unreasonable to form such an awkward arm position. Also, the elbow-in posture disobeys the basic principles of ergonomics for natural body movements and low impact of joints and muscles. It makes many players ignore the alignment; they just shoot the ball with the forms they are comfortable with.

Today’s basketball players are used to shooting the ball with both hands, along the midsection of the body toward the basket. This shooting stance is commonly accepted for its game-situation practicality and effectiveness. You aim at the rim with your eyes, with the ball and the basket in the same line. In this stance, you can even shoot a double clutch or fadeaway without losing orientation to the target, and it is good to balance your body by jumping with squared feet.

The problem is that it forms an isosceles triangle, with your shoulder as the baseline and two arms as sidelines. When a player’s flexibility does not permit a good elbow-in alignment, her shooting arm will be pushing the ball in the wrong direction, along one sideline of the triangle. Many shooters can adjust their shooting with their hands without good elbow-in alignment.

There are players who do possess the elbow-in flexibility that many young kids have. They have to align their arms to the shooting side of body in an odd stance, with their elbows sticking in the ribs for a skewed spine. This might yield a good shooting percentage with hard training, but that is extremely vulnerable to defense by shooting-side overplay. It is not useful in congested game situations, and there is rarely great outside shooters in that shooting stance, since it is contradictory to the inside shootings.

Therefore, elbow-in alignment is just a desired or proximate shooting posture for certain players. It should not be a standard for shooting alignment.

Squared Feet for Balance

Shooters must square their feet to balance their bodies, and it is the only correct footwork to keep good shooting posture. No matter what kind of move you are making—whether running, jumping, or turning—you must step or jump to square your feet in order to launch a makeable shot. That is the best way, and the only way, to keep the body balanced for good shooting posture; otherwise, the shooting accuracy would be extremely compromised. That also makes the conventional shots predictable for their uniformed foot-square shooting stance, and it gives defenders the opportunity and time to interfere with the shots.

Shooting Push

In the conventional shooting mechanics, the ball is pushed by the thumb, index finger, and middle finger, with limited power and control. The shooting hand sets the ball on the thumb and the radial palm, the portion near the MP joints of index and middle fingers. These three fingers are directly associated with radian stability. The shooting power is transferred through the radian to the wrist and then to the thumb and inner palm in a relatively small control area. With the pads of the index and middle finger touching the ball, it is hard to apply the fingertips to push and control the ball. It is difficult for players with bigger hands to shoot this way since the ball is relatively too small in their hands, and more palms and less fingertips are involved in the shooting push.

Shooting Alignment Summary

The conventional shooting alignment can be summarized as squared feet, elbow in, the first three-finger control, and index finger and middle finger release. This alignment is mechanically designed and trained, not a naturally possessed mechanism of players. Many players do not have the flexibility required for the alignment.

Because of the infeasibility of applying the alignment, players are shooting the ball in different nonstandard postures. Good shooters with smooth strokes and coordinated body posture usually have good flexibility in better elbow-in alignments. Their shots might be accurate, but the arms’ position is odd and vulnerable to defensive interference. Other players without such good flexibility have different styles of shooting. Their postures, especially the hand and arm position, vary quite extensively. Many players do not care about the alignment; they are just shooting the ball with feelings and hard training. With great shooting mentality, many players with bad elbow-in alignment become good shooters through assiduous shooting training.

Shooting training with elbow-in alignment is tedious and boring. You have to correct or compensate for every detail since the alignment is physiologically not coordinated with your shooting posture. Players are not playing with their natural abilities or talents, but training hard for unnatural shooting mechanics. That could lead to occupational hazards of overuse injuries.

This alignment is extremely hard for players with broad shoulders. A number of NBA centers are having the same problem in the shooting alignment, and they have to give up the shooting technique, only scoring by hook, layup, and dunk.

(to be continued)



UniShot: Basketball Shooting Revolution: UNIVERSAL SHOOTING MECHANISM (1)

Low-Hand UniShot–Universal Shooting Mechanism

A 3fz Layup

Three-Finger Zen (3fz), Universal Ball-Handling Mechanism, is a.natural, functional mechanism of human hand. It also a simple, integrated one-hand basketball-handling technique. Three-Finger Zen is a powerful offensive weapon, however, it is fairly easy to learn. No matter you are weak, small, slow or old, it is good for everyone, as long as you practice by following the instructions of the book Three-Finger Zen: A Basketball Revolution.

In this short video, we have technical demonstration of 3fz layup, or Low-hand UniShot. It is only one of many unique things Three-Finger Zen can do, for all the ball skills of dribble, pass, shoot, catch and so on.

3fz Layup Video

3fz layup is exceptionally accurate with great shooting dynamics. It has smooth combinations with dribble’n pass, offensive rebound and other team plays. This shot is quick timing; you can shoot the layup in a distance, and release the ball before the defender is coming to you like a floater. Since the shooting is far away from the basket, you have plenty of time to decide to pass, fake or shoot. This technique is particularly good for smaller guards, when they beat the defender just one step and then they can instantly do one-foot quick jump layup. The defense would have no time to react or to interfere with the shot.

Or you can do a 3-point layup, something nobody has done before. It is far more accurate than average 3-point jump shot. In 3fz dynamic underhanded shooting process, your bodies can generate significant more power and control than regular layups. After the release, you just continue to run towards the basket for possible rebound. You have greater chance to catch your own rebound when you naturally follow your shot towards the basket and you instantly know the bouncing directions of the ball of your own shot. It is excellent for fast-breaks, or when the shot-clock is winding down.

You can also protect the ball with the non-shooting hand through traffic, or make decisions to pass or fake in the process. You can hold the ball low, high or at rear while driving, and you can do all the tricks of the regular driving layups.

By understanding and practicing Three-Finger Zen, the Universal Ball-Handling Mechanism, in a short three to four weeks, you can dramatically increase your layup ranges and shooting percentages. This layup shot is just one of Three-Finger Zen’s underhanded shots. There are still a lot more up-handed 3fz shots. Up-handed shots have greater shooting varieties, and they are much more potent in basketball offense.