Thoughts About Shooting Drills

With practicing starting throughout college basketball and it will soon start in high school gyms, it is time to focus on shooting drills.  Coaches love drills and at times we all can be overly infatuated with drills.

Here’s what we see often–coaches generally do the same shooting drill the first day of practice as they do the last day of practice.  We are all creatures of habit.  The question is: Do your players improve in their shooting over this time?  They should–right?  But do they?

At Pro Shot we believe most teams do not improve that much because coaches often are about result shooting drills.  In other words, everything is based on making the shot.  “First one up to 10 wins.”  My least favorite drill of all-time is knock out (you might call it gotcha, bump or lightning) which is based on result shooting.

Result shooting drills are about “making it.”  The player is focused on the outcome and not about how they shoot.

There is a time to use Result Shooting drills, but just don’t be completely dependent on them.

Process Shooting Drills are based on form and technique.  They give the brain feedback.  How am I missing?  Why am I missing?

Why should shooting be any different than the classroom?  Imagine if you are taking a test and on every question you think to yourself, “I have to get this right!”  How well will you do?  You will probably fail the test.  Why?  Because you are all about the results and not the process.

We get coaches that say, “Pro Shot focuses on the negativity in a shot.”  The key is for players to eliminate the directions that they are missing.  We are about improvement.  This can be done with process shooting.  One of our favorite drills is to have players partner up with one as a passer and one a shooter.  The shooter will keep shooting as long as he/she is straight.  The rebounder will count the straight shots.  Once the shooter misses to the side, they rotate.  You can record the numbers and the shooter is always trying to break his or her numbers.

Isn’t this result shooting?  After all, you are keeping score.  No, because it’s not about making the shot, but about keeping the shot straight.

Coaches, don’t focuses on makes, but instead focus on turning the misses into makes.  We are always amazed at how many college and high school programs focus on recording makes. Why?  Don’t you know who your best shooters are?  Focus on misses instead.  Once again, turn the misses into makes.

Don Meyer, one of the greatest coaches this game has ever known, was about recording the direction how the players missed.  Left, right, short or long.  He wanted to identify the problem and fix the problem.  Doesn’t it make more sense to figure out how you are missing than being fixated on the makes?  We believe this is a no brainer.  To improve in anything you need to focus on correcting your mistakes.

Lastly, remember that drills get you reps and drills can be good for conditioning.  But the key to shooting is not the drill, but what a player does inside the drill.  In other words it’s about form and technique.