Shooting Drills and Decision Making

Make no mistake about it, teams that can shoot the ball well are very dangerous (Golden State). That being said, being able to develop and improve the shooters on your team is an essential part of good coaching. Being able to teach the skill of shooting, as well as provide opportunities for repetition is a vital aspect of coaching basketball. There are no magic drills to developing better shooters, although some drills are better than others, but I wanted to share with you some of what I do with players and teams to emphasize, teach, and develop shooting.

Shooting is a complex technical skill (see the 20 points of Kyle Korver’s jumper), and each player has their own variation of “proper shooting technique” (see picture below).

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Here are some constants that I believe must be present in one’s technique in order to be an effective shooter:

  1. Shooting hand under the ball spread wide (see above picture)
  2. High release point
  3. Middle and pointer fingers pointed at target after release
  4. Eyes focused on a target (I prefer the back loops of the net) as ball is released
  5. Smooth rhythm (hop or 1-2 is dependent upon the situation and personal preference)
  6. Body control (some call this balance)

I do not want this article to turn into an argument regarding shooting form, but I do want to share my thoughts on what is essential and what I emphasize. Let’s take a look now at some drills that I use to get players shots.

Decision Shooting Warmup:

This is a drill that I use at the beginning of partner or small group workouts. I like this drill because it gets the players moving, gets the reps shooting, as well as reps making decisions. As mentioned in the video, use the “decisions plus 1” rule when selecting how many reps the players take before switching spots. This will help break the guessing machine and create decision-making on every shot.

Dribble Reaction Shooting:

In this drill, we build from making a decision with the ball and also make one now without the ball in regard to where to move. Additionally, this gets the passer practicing multiple skills in conjunction with one another.

Baseline Drift and Pin Shooting: 

Here is a drill that I use with my team as part of our warmup series in practice. This is not a game-like shooting drill because it is all scripted, but it does feature and enforce some of our offensive principles while also getting shots on the move.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts, comments, and concerns below. Also, if there are drills that you love to use, please let me know what they are!

John