Too many kids grow up working on their shot by going down to the stadium and putting up 3’s for an hour. This is not the way to become a great shooter. In order to be a great shooter you must concentrate on your shooting technique tirelessly. Even though guys like Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and JJ Reddick are great 3 point shooters, they spend most of their time working on developing and maintaining their shooting technique from around the basket.
This article will explain how to develop a shooting technique that suits you and how to structure an individual shooting workout to make the most out of the time you spend working on your shot and get the most results.
Building great technique starts from the ground up. The legs are a major part of good shooting technique and provide the momentum that will enable the ball to flow smoothly out of your hands and through the net. For this reason balance and leg strength are an integral part of a great shot. Ray Allen is the perfect example of a technique that makes optimal use of the legs, he explodes off the ground using his legs and the rest just happens. Below he talks about how important the legs are to his shot.
Well… the rest doesn’t just happen you need to work on that too. The best way to start working on the upper body part of your shot is to stand a couple steps away from the rim around the charge circle and using one hand only aim to get nothing but net using a good arc on the shot. Once you are getting swooshes consistently then take a step back and introduce the aid of your guide hand. It is called a guide hand for a reason – because that’s what it does. All it does! A lot of juniors make the fatal mistake of using their guide hand or thumb to try and get some extra power out of their shot but this makes the shot too inconsistent and your shot will suffer.
Another mistake people often make is by making their shot too jerky. Your shot needs to be a smooth action with no stops or jerks. This often happens when a player is wide open and has too much time to think about it so they slow down their shot and try to aim too much. You are a much better shot when in rhythm
Next you need to determine your shot line. Everyone has one dominant eye and this will determine where you should position the ball horizontally. To find this out make a circle using both hands and look at a small point in the distance. Now close one eye and if you still see the point with your left eye open you are left eye dominant. If you still see the point with your right eye open you are right eye dominant. You should try and bring the ball up past your dominant eye, or as close to it as possible when shooting. This will help you aim better.
There are many other aspects to building a great shooting technique but this will get you on the right track, the rest you will work out with practice. Now lets talk about how to structure a shooting workout properly.
The beginning of each workout should begin with drills that reinforce your shooting technique. These drills will help you develop your style and most importantly reinforce it so that you don’t lose your technique. Some people may develop good shooting technique but then stop working on their form so they slowly lose their technique over time when skipping the “boring” form drills and get straight into getting shots up.
Here are some form drills that should be done before getting into normal game paced shooting drills:
One handed shooting
Standing a couple steps from the rim and using only one hand, lock and snap your elbows and wrists aiming for a good arc and getting nothing but net.
3 sets of 5 (left side, middle, right side)
remember to only count swooshes.
Now take a step out and introduce your guide hand. Remember your guide hand should have no responsibility other than helping to balance the ball on your shooting hand.
3 sets of 5 swooshes (left side, middle, right side)
Make 3 in a row
In this drill you start right at the basket and shoot, when you make 3 shots in a row you get to take 1 step back. If you miss 2 shots in a row you have to take 1 step forward. See how far back you can get.
5 Point free throw
Standing at the free throw line shoot the ball.
- If you make the shot it’s worth 1 point
- If you swoosh the shot it’s worth 2 points
- If you make the shot and it bounces back to you without moving 1 foot it’s worth 3 points
- If you make the shot and it bounces back to you without moving either foot it’s worth 4 points
- If you swoosh the shot and it bounces back to you it’s worth 5 points
See how many shots it takes you to get to 21, or if playing with a friend play first to 21. Or any number really…
Many players (especially juniors) underestimate the importance of continuously working on their shooting technique, instead of just getting shots up. Getting “game like” shots up at a game pace is still the most important part of a shooting workout, there are many players with terrible styles that are still decent shooters who are a great example of that. However, if you look at all the truly great shooters, they have great form. That is how they are able to keep their shot consistent, because their form allows them to. Guys with not so great form might shoot the lights out one day but they can’t keep the consistency like the players who have great technique.
These drills provided and any others that make you focus on your shooting technique are great to do before you start a full shooting workout. This will help you remember your correct form before practicing it further out. If you still don’t believe me here is JJ Reddick, arguably the best shooter to ever play college ball talking about exactly that ( at 3.20).
Next time you go to the stadium to get some shots up, work on your shooting technique in close before you progress to shooting further out to make the most of your sessions and get the best results.
Remember to check back for more shooting tips and drills in the Player Development section of Aussie Hoopla!