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Coach's Corner

Shooting: Attention to Details


Having an attention to detail when shooting the basketball can transform average players and teams, and turn them into good or even great shooting teams. The more a player or team is able to focus on the details of a movement like shooting, the more skilled and efficient they will become. Shooting percentages will increase, which will lead to a better offense, and ultimately more wins.

The great thing about mastering the details of different skills, is that it is something that every player or team can do, it just comes down to putting in the effort and time to do so. The reason that this is true, is because these details are minor adjustments to a players movements or actions, and all the player must do is put in the time to re-learn these movements. This article is going to cover the details of becoming a great individual shooter, and also the keys to improving a team's overall shooting percentage.

Individual Shooting Details

There is a big difference between shooting 20%, 30%, or 40% from the field as a player, and every little shooting detail can either add to improve your shooting percentage, or it can take away from it. From shot preparation to follow through, you need to make sure that you are maximizing your form and technique. Here are the details and tips that you should be focusing on as a shooter, every time you go to shoot the ball.

Shot Preparation

Did you know that your shooting percentage can be effected before you even touch the ball? Well it can, and by a lot! You should already be working towards a great shot before the basketball ever even touches your hands. Your shot preparation has a huge impact on whether the ball goes in the basket, or not.

There are 3 big keys in shot preparation that you need to focus on. These keys need to be done before every shot that you take, they are the non negotiable's. The only time that you might not use all of these keys is if a game situation requires you to fade away to get your shot off, or if it is an end of clock situation. Other than that, you should be using these 3 keys every time you shoot the basketball>

•   Drop your Butt: This key will help make your catch and shoot motion quicker, because you are already down and ready when the ball gets to you. Rather than catching, loading, and then shooting. It will also allow you to get better lift on your shot, which will help to improve your range.

•   Show your Hands: Showing your hands gives the passer a good target to hit, and also makes the catch easier.

•   Momentum Towards the Basket: As a shooter you want to always try to get your momentum moving slightly towards the basket. This will help to make sure that you are getting squared up on the shot, and will also improve your range. A great analogy for this is throwing a ball. If you are falling backwards and throw a ball, you wont be able to get very much distance or speed on it. However, if you are able to step into the same throw, you can get a lot more distance and speed on the ball. The same principle applies for shooting a basketball.

The Shot

If you look at good shooters in the NBA you will quickly realize that there are a lot of different ways to shoot a basketball. Not every shooter is going to have the exact same form and look. However, there are some key fundamentals that every great shooter has, and that is what you need to be focusing on. Here are a few keys to lock in on while shooting the ball.

•   Get your Shooting Hand Under the Ball: It is important that you get your hand and arm under the ball on the catch. This will allow you to get the power on your shot that you need.

•   Shoot the Ball on the Way Up: Shooting the basketball on the way up will allow you to improve your range and give you a more fluent shot. If you hold the basketball too long, you will loose all of your momentum, and you will struggle to shoot the basketball from long range.

•   Let the Ball do the Work: The best angle for the basketball to go in the basket, is straight down. However, this straight down angle is not realistic when shooting. So you need to find the best angle that you can to shoot the basketball in. Your job as a shooter is to shoot the basketball with the correct fundamentals, arc, release, etc. and then let the basketball do the work. Don't try to aim so hard that your shot becomes flat, or you lose your feel on the shot. Trust your shot, and then let the basketball do the work.

Follow Through

The follow through can impact a player's shot just as much as the shot preparation can. So it is important that you really lock in on the following points.

•   Hold your Follow Through: After you release the basketball keep your hand in the center of the basket. Don't let your arm drift out the side or pull it down early.

•   Land Balanced: Unless you are shooting a game situation fade away, you should be landing under control and with great balance. Don't kick your leg out, or back pedal after you land.

•   Stay in your Shot: A lot of players will shoot the basketball, land, and then take off somewhere. Instead of doing that, you need to land and stay in your shot for a brief second. This doesn't mean that you become a statue and don't run back on defense or follow a missed shot, but it does mean that you should stay in your shot until you have made or missed.

Teaching Proper Basketball Shot Preparation - http://youtu.be/RHJd0gMBjuw

Team Shooting

All of these basketball shooting details are something that every player should apply to their game, but there are also some great details that apply to the team as a whole. By observing these details and applying them to your team's offense, you will be able to improve your teams overall shooting percentage. If you need any motivation for applying these tips to your team, simply go re-watch the San Antonio Spurs shooting display against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals (2014).

Ball Movement

The type of ball movement that your team has will determine the type of shots that you are getting. If players are constantly catching and holding the basketball, or always looking to score off of the dribble, your team is going to end up shooting low percentage shots. If a player catches the ball and is not open for a shot, they should immediately do one of the following, unless it is a set isolation play.

•   Swing the Ball: One of the hardest things for a defense to guard is quick ball reversals. The reason why is because it makes the defense shift, which causes bad closeouts, communication breakdowns, and poor rotations. So when a player catches the ball and they are not open for a shot, they need to quickly keep the ball moving to another teammate, don't catch and hold. Sometimes even if a player is open for a shot, they need to make the next pass because their is a better shot available.

•   Attacking on the Catch: Ball reversals also open up the opportunity to take advantage of bad closeouts. There are two great moves that a shooter can use in this situation to take advantage of the defense, and end up with a great shot. The two moves are the rip through, and the shot fake. Both are great for getting past a defender's poor closeout, and then right into a one dribble pull up shot.

Recommended Drills

Sweep 1 Dribble Pull Up Partner Shooting Drill 

Shot Fake 1 Dribble Pull Up Partner Shooting Drill

Penetrate and Kick

Another great way to get quality shots, is having the ability to drive and kick. A great penetration move to the paint will cause the defense to collapse on the ball, which will allow open shots on the kick out. Here are some teaching points for maximizing the drive and kick.

•   Shoulders to the Basket: The player driving the basketball needs to make sure that they keep their shoulders to the basket when they attack. You must make yourself a threat to score in order to get the defense to collapse. If you attack the paint with your body facing the player you are going to kick the basketball out to, it will alert the defense, and they wont help off of the shooter.

•   Stay on the Floor: It is important that you don't leave your feet on the kick out pass. Leaving the floor to make a pass opens up the opportunity for a potential charge situation, and also getting stuck up in the air with the basketball.

•   Slide to Open Passing Lanes: The shooter must do a great job of helping the passer out by sliding up or down to an open passing lane. This not only gives the shooter a passing lane, but it also creates space from the defender that just helped off of the shooter.

•   Don't Catch and Hold: If the player receiving the pass doesn't have an open shot, they need to swing the ball, or immediately re-drive the basketball. Catching and holding the basketball allows the defense to recover. This also means that the player who originally drove the basketball, needs to quickly relocate and get ready to shoot after they make the kick out pass, because they may end up shooting the ball in the end

Recommended Drills

Combo Move Penetrate & Relocate Shooting Drill

Inside Out

Having the basketball go inside to the post, and then come out for a shot, has a lot of the same benefits as the drive and kick. The goal is to get the ball into the post, have the defense collapse to help, and then get an open kick out shot. Here are a few keys to making this work well for your offense.

•   Don't Stand: Once the basketball goes into the post it is important that there is player movement off of the ball. After the post feed, the passer should do one of the following; slide up or down, cut through, or screen for a teammate. These actions will create space for both the shooter, and the post player. If there is no offensive spacing, a defensive player can double, and then get back in time on the kick out pass.

•   Weak Side Action: The players opposite of the post up action need to be moving as well. The weak side players can use one of the same actions; slide up or down, cut through, or set a screen for a teammate. If a shooter is going to slide up or down though, they need to try to locate to a spot where they can see the post players eyes. Doing this shows the post player that there is an open passing lane to the shooter.

Recommended Drills

 Game Situation Post Entry Relocate Shooting Drill 

Game Situation Post Skip Pass Shooting Drill

As a player or coach this may seem like a lot to take in, and even more to implement. These details though are what separate the great players and teams from the rest. It is not something that happens over night, but it is something that needs to be reinforced daily when doing basketball drills and in practice, until one day it becomes second nature.

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