I like the Shooting GUN and I believe it can get a player or team more shots in a shorter time. A feature of the newer versions of the GUN is that it can keep your total shots attempted, how many you make and your percentage.


To determine a player’s shooting percentage in a game, take the percentage that they make on the GUN and cut it in half. I have discovered that this is pretty accurate (within 5% points). In other words, if a player makes 62% on the GUN from the three point line, he or she is a 31% shooter in a game.


So the question must be addressed: Why do players have such a big drop off when shooting by themselves and then in a game?


Most coaches will look at fatigue and say, “Game situations will tire you out more.” Possibly. It may have some merit, but not 50% worth. Maybe 5%.


Others will look at nerves. I’ve heard coaches say, “Players are relaxed in practice. Easy to shoot them. In game players become more anxious.” Once again this does happen, but probably 5% worth.


So what is the largest reason why players have a 50% decrease from game competition to shooting on their own? I truly believe it is due to the shooter not being used to having a defender closing out on them as they are shooting. We teach our players to shoot open shots, but at some point even the most open shots will have a defender closing out on the shooter.


I highly recommend that 50% of all shooting drills at the high school, collegiate and professional levels should be done with a defender closing out on the shooter. After a while your players will become more comfortable and your shooting makes will rise.


Lastly, when I grew up we played one on one constantly. We were bored and we were competitive. It seems that a high percentage of players today will only play 5 on 5 or nothing. I do believe a player gets a high percentage of their basketball decision making through one on one competition.


While I lived for 1 on 1 as a child and teen, I forgot about this critical component when I started coaching. I was then all about the team game and often frowned upon individual skills. As I got more into skill development, I realized the importance of 1 on 1 basketball. The last five years of my high school coaching career we focused in practice more on one on one drills (I would get very creative) and saw my team’s scoring rise an additional five points per game.


I believe practice drills with defenders are crucial for continual improvement in each of your players. Whether it is a player closing out on a shooter OR one on one drills to improve decision making, using a defender will greatly help your offensive players in the long run.