I was a player once myself and so I know how frustrating it can be to spend hours and hours practicing game shots at game speed before practice, after practice, at lunch time and on the weekends and then only get a couple looks once the game rolls around.
Sometimes we can't do anything about it; maybe someone else has the hot hand or the favorable mismatch in a particular game. However, there are other times when we miss out on extra shot opportunities as a result of our own actions or inactions.
Here are 7 things you can do if you are looking to get more shots up in a game:
1. Be in great shape
Can you physically wear out your opponent? If so you can get several extra shots in the fourth quarter simply because your defender is now a step slower than he was at the beginning of the game. What's even better is that if you can prove to your coach that you are strong and fresh and can still make shots when everyone else is tired then he is going to put the ball in your hands more as the game winds down. Of course that means not only more shots but more free throws as well!
2. Keep moving
No matter how many times coaches preach against it, a great majority of players have a tendency to "rest" on defense in hopes of saving their energy for offense. As a result many defenders will play tough for the first few seconds of a possession but their intensity will quickly decrease especially if they are forced to constantly chase you all over the floor. A shooter who is always standing still is easy to guard while one is always moving is not. If you need a visual example check out some YouTube footage of Ray Allen or Richard Hamilton - you'll get tired just watching it.
3. Change speeds, change directions
With or without the ball start slow one way, plant your foot and cut hard in the other direction. Sprint, stop, sprint again. No matter how you do it, changing speeds and direction is going to accomplish two things. First of all it's going to create separation which often times is all you need to catch a pass and get your shot off. Secondly, it's going to force your defender to come up out of his stance which is going to slow him down and once again help create separation.
4. Become an expert at using screens
Whether they are on the ball or off the ball. The basics are the same - set the defender up, get as low as possible, and come off the screen as close to the screener as possible. Throw in some flares, curls, and post splits and you can have your defender begging to switch assignments. Combine this step with constantly moving and changing speeds and you'll find yourself getting more open shots than ever before!
5. Know your teammates
Who on your team has a tendency to miss layups? Then make sure you sprint and follow him and grab the offensive rebound which you can then shoot yourself. Who on your team always gets "stuck" in transition? Then loop behind him so when he is stopped he'll have no choice but to pitch the ball back to you. Which of your post players needs to kick the ball out when forced in a certain direction? Be there when he has to pass the ball out. These and other similar situations can easily get you another four or five shots a game!
6. Do your work early
You should be doing this already but always have your feet set, hands ready and knees slightly flexed while you anticipate the pass. The extra second this preparation creates can often be the difference between getting an extra shot off and being disrupted by a defender closing out or chasing you around a screen.
7. Be multidimensional
If you can only shoot "catch and shoot" 3's you are going to limit the number of shots you'll get. However, if you can shoot off the dribble in transition, driving off of a ball screen, using an effective post move, and have a few effective finishing moves including a floater then you can easily double the amount of shots you get. Instead of moping around because you're not getting enough shots, do something about it. These 7 steps are a great place to start!