If you are a high school or middle school coach, you have either started practicing with your team or will sometime later this month. You probably will be doing shooting drills in your practices because shooting is important and the majority of coaches understand this. You may even have one or two quality shooters and you will probably have some terrible shooters (we call them brick layers).


So the real question is: how do you get your average and poor shooters to become quality shooters? We get this question all the time.


We believe it starts with the player fully understanding how he or she is missing. If a player doesn’t understand how he or she is missing, that athlete will keep missing the same way.


We like to call this “shooting awareness.” Two years ago, I was working with a D-1 player who was a terrible shooter (he was on scholarship because he’s 6-8 and plays like Rodman). He proceeded to miss 14 straight shots to the right. I asked him, “How did you just miss your shots?” He had no idea. He paused and said, “Short.” And there was his problem.


Shooting is really no different than a science experiment. Identify the direction that you miss, then fix it. Try this in your next practice. When a player misses go ask him or her, “What direction did you just miss?” I guarantee most will not know.


Most players are all about making shots. That’s all they care about and have no idea where or why they miss. We believe that is why most players are not quality shooters. If you lack awareness, you will generally not improve.


One drill we do in our training is that we have players call out the direction that they miss (left, right,, short and long). If the gym is quiet then we better see a lot of shots going in the basket. This really works because when a player has to verbally say the missed direction, the brain must actually work.


Self improvement in regards to shooting a basketball must start with self awareness. We also believe it is the job of the coach to constantly stay on his or her players about how they are missing. While shooting accurately must be important to the player, it is the coaches responsibility to remind each athlete about shooting awareness.  Shooting greatness really starts with self awareness. Once again, if you don’t know how you are missing, you will continue missing. It’s just that simple.