This article was written by the University of Southern California men’s basketball coach Chris Capko.
The off-season is now upon us, and many players will say that becoming a better shooter is their primary goal in the off-season. How does this happen? Do you have a plan, or are you just going to show up to the gym and take a hundred shots?
There are several different factors to take into consideration and breakdown as you attack this skill.
Evaluating Your Shot
One of the first things you have to do is breakdown statistically how you shot the ball. Whether that is from the field, from the three, or the free-throw line, your field goal percentage can take several different shots into consideration.
Shots such as floaters and finishing at the rim, which might not determine how you actually shoot the ball, can determine your field goal percentage. However, your three-point percentage and free-throw percentage directly equates to what level of shooter you are.
Bad Shots or Shooting Mechanics
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is, why are your percentages what they are? Is your percentage from the three low because you take bad shots, or is it a mechanical reason? Watching film from the season can help you realize how many of your shots were good or bad shots.
Within the offense, do you know what a good shot and a bad shot are? Good shots and bad shots are different for every player on the team. Get with a coach, watch the film and get on the same page. Take coaching and improve. Knowing what a good shot is will help any player’s shooting statistics immensely.
Sometimes the issue may actually be the mechanics. Now it is time to get in the gym and break it down. Shooting the basketball has a lot to do with muscle memory. Becoming a better shooter does not happen overnight or in a couple of weeks. It is a lengthy process that takes plenty of repetitions with different basketball shooting drills, determination, and commitment.
Again, get with a coach and figure out which mechanics you can improve on and what the plan will be to improve them.
Basketball Shooting Workout
Here is a sample workout to help with the breakdown. You must have a feel for what you need to fix, but the workout below is usually a good breakdown start and some ideas to think about as you move forward.
- One-hand shooting- 5 spots right at the rim, making 10 shots from all 5 spots. (Make sure that your elbow is directly underneath the ball and that your follow-through finishes in the rim).
- Take a step back, but still shooting with one hand – Shoot at the same 5 spots, but now make sure the lower body becomes involved in the shot. (Same technique applies).
- Start to move out and shoot short shots. (Starting point and finishing point. Make sure you are down ready and start the same way with each shot, whether that be a 1,2 step or hopping into your shot. Just be consistent. Make sure your finishing point is consistent as well. Follow-through is consistent; you are jumping forward on your shot and staying in it.)
This is very basic but can give you a start. For a more in-depth breakdown of shooting a basketball, check out this article from our experts: How to Shoot a Basketball. It includes a video breaking down the different parts of your shot.
Whatever you feel the issue may be, just work at it. Shooting is an essential skill and will take your game to another level. This is the time to become better at it. Put in the time, and enjoy the rewards!