Recently we completed a video called “Mental Part of Shooting: Overthinking and Underthinking” Many players fail in the art of shooting simply because they overthink while others underthink.
We are often told by coaches, “Don’t think when shooting.” This might work for Ray Allen or Diana Taurasi, but chances are your players will fail if they don’t think. Why? Because they don’t possess quality muscle memory.
When great shooters shoot, they will have put in tens of thousands of hours of practice and training. They have honed their shooting skills which will result in a high percentage of makes.
If young or poor shooters think of nothing when shooting then chances are they will struggle. The #1 aspect that players think of when shooting is “Making the shot” which we believe is the worst thing to think about. “Making the shot” gives the brain zero thought process regarding form or technique.
Go ask a poor shooter, “What do you think about when shooting?” and we guarantee he/she will say, “Making it.”
Coaches and players are consumed by drills. Lets face it, basketball has become the sport for drills. We get this question everyday, “Coach, what drills can I do to become a better shooter?”
Please understand this: Drills are to get you reps and reps do help BUT it’s what you do inside the drill that really matters. In other words, a player can shoot rep after rep but if his/her shooting mechanics are flawed, then there will be little improvement.
Coaches need to not worry about “Do I have the best shooting drill?” but instead ask, “Do my players have the best shooting mechanics?”
I have told this story before, but it needs to be repeated. Ten years ago I ran a basketball academy in Calgary, Canada and had a coach in my program who was in love with shooting drills. Every night he would find 3-4 shooting drills on the internet. After a month, he had over 100 shooting drills. He was proud of his drills. And guess what–His teams couldn’t shoot a lick. All bricklayers!!!
He didn’t understand that it’s not about the drill. Mechanics must be a priority. Most middle school, high school and college coaches use the same drill the first day of practice as the last day, but their teams show little if no improvement over the season. Why? No focus on shooting mechanics.
Lastly, the best advice we can ever give a player or coach in shooting is to analyze the shot. In other words, figure out the direction you are missing (left, right, short or long), understand why you are missing and then FIX IT.
The problem will not go away. If you don’t fix the problem, it will continue to fester. In life things generally don’t get better unless you fix the problem that is making you struggle. The same thing applies to shooting.