This is a breakdown of how I try to work with ballplayers on their shot. It will be broken into three separate blog posts. Please read Part 1 before this post, and be sure to come back next week for the last part!
Once we are done with warm-ups, it's time to get into actual shooting drills. Here are a few of my favorites.
Tray Shooting (2-3 Minutes): An old school shooting drill where you put one hand on the ball, and then it’s the old fashioned Balance-Elbow-Eye-Follow Through. Even though it's old, it's still a great drill.
To start, get the player a few feet from the basket with good balance and in a good stance.
At this point, I’ll allow the player to find their own comfort zone. I’ll get them standing shoulder width apart, but for instance if they turn their feet and that’s normal for them, as long as they are balanced, then that’s fine. If they don’t turn their feet, then I might turn them a little bit just to see if they’re more comfortable that way. But I’m basically letting the player find where they’re comfortable.
One of the other things with shooting is that we focus so much on the elbow, but the reality is that it’s not so much where the elbow starts but where the elbow is on the finish. In a perfect world, I would like them to have that perfect triple threat position with the elbow, but even Larry Bird’s elbow poked out on the start but on the finish it was in. So we want to emphasize that with the follow through.
photo courtesy: www.halloffamemorabilia.com
Form Shooting (2-3 Minutes): This is very similar to Tray Shooting, but now the shooter is allowed to use their off-hand on the ball. Now it’s very simple: we want the upper and lower body working together and stroking the ball. We are starting in close with the Tray, and that ball is once again going through the basket over and over and over again. The player has slowed down, they’re working on their form and confidence and they see that ball going through the basket a lot.
Now that we've worked on the basics, we're ready to step it up a notch.
Rapid Fire Quick Feet Drill: In this drill, I want the player's feet popping up and down real quickly, and I’ll just pass them the ball. I might not even say to them whether I want them to use a 1-2 step or a hop into the shot, I’m just going to say “Machine Gun Your Feet,” and when I throw them the ball, it’s catch and shoot.
The goal is to take away the thinking from the shooter and just let them get a quick shot off, whether they pop their feet or 1-2. The big thing here is to avoid the ‘false step,’ which means that they cannot step backwards on the catch.
We'll go into the last part of this shooting workout next week, so be sure to check back in!