Last week I showed you 3 of the 6 keys to a great shooting workout. As promised, here are the remaining 3. Each key comes with a drill that you can use in practice TODAY to make your team better shooters. In case you missed out on the earlier article, check it out here.
4. Focus on Perfect Form during Shooting Drills
To quote Michael Jordan: “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” Common shooting mistakes such as having a low release point, not following through and putting side spin on the ball need to be corrected BEFORE you start shooting en masse. Otherwise, you will not be able to make shots in a game situation.
This shooting drill helps players align their feet correctly off the hop, making it a useful warmup drill. Players stand 10 feet away from the hoop with a ball and their back to the basket. Players toss the ball out and catch it. They then hop and spin 180 degrees to face the hoop and shoot. Make sure that players are completely squared up to the rim when they spin back around to the hoop.
5. Practice Contested Shots (get a hand in the face of the shooter)
Even most “open” shots by a shooter will be taken against a defender running at them with a hand up. Shooting versus a defensive closeout separates a player that’s good in practice with a player that can make shots in games. Getting some reps in with a defender closing out aggressively in practice will pay off in the long run.
Although aggressive closeout drills are common, what makes this drill unique is that the shooter waits for the pass by standing on one leg. The reasoning behind this is that lowering the leg after catching the ball mimics a catch and shoot opportunity and forces the shooter to “find their feet” under pressure. Shooters receive a pass from a player standing under the hoop, and they must make the jumpshot as the defender runs by them. Make sure to alternate legs.
6. Take game shots from game spots at game speed
If your players aren’t being challenged, they’re not getting better. Even simple shooting drills, such as catching and shooting off a cut, need to be executed at full speed. This will mimic a scenario your players will face in a game. Any shot that isn’t practised is a bad shot, no matter how open it is.
Learning to catch and shoot from “the slot”, a position in between the top and the 45 degree angle at the wing is a more realistic shot for a guard than the traditional “top” straight line shot. After all, guards should never be passing to the wing from directly up top- that’s a flat pass that’s easily read and stolen by the defence. In this drill, players start at the slot, catch and shoot, then run to the opposite slot until they make 4. Repeat at the corners and wings. Make sure your players don’t “cheat” by running from the slot to the closest wing after completing 4 shots, after all, conditioning is also one of the objectives of this drill.
One last tip: did you know that all the drills I’ve described to you today are found in the Practice Planner? Get it now to get an easy to understand clipboard animation that’ll breakdown each drill for you within seconds AND videos made by our coaching partners that have further tips. It’s free so definitely go and check it out.
Until next time, see you on the courts!
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