Do Shooting Drills Make You a Better Shooting Team?

We have noticed many coaches are about drills. They love drills and many are consumed by drills. And coaches really like shooting drills. We have met many coaches that believe the more shooting drills they know, the better their teams will be at shooting.

At the beginning of each shooting camp, I ask players, “How many of you think I am going to show you a ton of shooting drills today?” The majority of players raise their hands. I add, “We are not about shooting drills. I’m here to teach you how to shoot. The mechanics of shooting.”

We have actually witnessed shooting camps and clinics that put players through shooting drills and never mentioned one breath about technique and form. How is this possible?

Three years ago, one of my assistant coaches went to work a 7 hour shooting camp at a major D-1 University in the South. He called me after and said, “They just did seven hours of shooting and it was all drills. Not one mention of shooting form.”

I asked him, “How many players improved?” He responded, “Not one player.”

Shooting drills generally give you reps and reps are a good thing. But the key to shooting is technique and form. Imagine a house without a foundation. Imagine a human being who lacks a skeleton. That is what shooting technique is all about. Without it, it is nearly impossible to shoot accurately.

Most teams don’t improve in shooting over the course of the year. Quite often we see teams actually get worse. How is this possible? We believe the answer can be found in the flawed concept that drills alone make you a better shooter. Is there any other sport that believes in this concept?

If you’re a baseball manager and your pitcher is struggling to find his control, would you say, “Keep throwing the ball. You will improve.” If you’re a golf coach, would you ever say to one of your athletes, “Keep swinging. You will sooner or later get it.” If you’re a swimming coach and your swimmers have flawed technique would you say, “Form doesn’t matter. Give me 50 more laps.” Of course not.

So why does this happen so much in shooting a basketball? Why are we so consumed by the drill and not about the shooting form inside that drill?

The reason teams struggle in shooting is that there is little if any correction in the drills. For many coaches, the shooting drill becomes the time to get a drink, make a phone call or talk to their coaches. We have also sat in on high school and college practices and have heard coaches yell, “Come on, make your shots!” Is this correcting the problem? Of course not.

What would happen if you didn’t focus in on the drill so much and really took time to correct your player’s shooting mechanics? Could your shooting percentages get worse? Probably not. We firmly believe coaches that focus on shooting form and technique shoot 10-20% better from the field, the free throw line and or 3 point line. Will that help you win more games? YES!!!

Why not try the shooting form concept this upcoming spring or summer? Why not try something different? To quote the great Bob Dylan from Like a Rolling Stone, “When you aint got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Good words to live by.