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How to be Productive and Improve Your Basketball Shooting Without a Partner

September 8, 2017

When it comes to shooting a basketball repetition is very important for improvement and consistency. So when you're looking to strictly work on your jumper and get up shots, the best way to maximize your time and get the most repetitions is to shoot with a partner or a shooting machine like "The Gun," both of which can rebound and pass you the ball.


This would be the ideal situation and enable you to get the most shots, but it is not always a possible situation as there are most likely times when you will have to shoot by yourself.

Shooting alone can be frustrating because so much of your time is spent chasing after rebounds and getting back to your spot. At times it can seem like too much time and energy are put into one shot.


Often when you go to the gym looking to just put shots up you'll start by picking your first spot, shooting, jogging or walking to retrieve a rebound, and then picking your next spot based on the location of the rebound over and over. This can result in aimless, lackadaisical shooting and reps that are often inconsistent in quality.


No matter what types of shots you are looking to work on when you are by yourself, the quality of your workout will be determined by how you go about getting your repetitions not what types of repetitions you are getting.


These guidelines will help you get more out of your time when you are shooting without a partner.





First, you must have a plan going into your workout. This is the first and most important factor in making your time productive. Going into the gym to get shots up without a specific plan for what your workout will look like will lead to the lazy "shooting around." Your plan should outline whether you will be shooting for a designated time or until you've made a certain number of shots, and then break down exactly what types of shots you will be shooting.




It is important to remember that while shooting by itself may not be the most physically demanding activity in basketball, you want your workouts to reflect the speed and intensity of the game. When you are shooting alone, constantly remind yourself to move at game speed. This means taking your shot with proper lift and quick release, running to grab the rebound, then running the ball to your next spot and getting into the shot. Avoid walking and jogging while you are shooting by yourself to add an element of conditioning to your workout and to make your shots resemble game situations.




Set a goal for yourself going into the workout. If you only have a certain amount of time, set a goal number of shots that you need to make in that time (e.g., make 100 shots in one hour.) Or just set a total number of shots that you will make during the workout. You should keep track of the number of shots you make instead of the number of shots you take because it is usually more indicative of a quality shot repetition.





Make your shooting drill specific to your goal for the workout or to the shots you need to work on and add to your game. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and then designate an amount of time or number of makes for each type of shot. These can be types of finishes at the rim, floaters, post moves, dribble pull-ups, or spot-up jump shots. A very simple example would be the following:


  • Goal: Make 100, 3-point jump shots

  • Pick anywhere from 5-10 spots on the floor as your designated shooting spots.

  • Start in the corner and shoot your first shot. If you make it, grab your rebound and run to the opposite corner for the next shot.

  • When you are running to the spot, spin the ball out to yourself and either curl into your shot using the 1-2 step or do a 180-degree hop into the shot.

  • Do not move on until you have made the shot at your current spot.

  • Start in either baseline corner and then advance from shooting in the corners, to the wings, to the top. For example if you are using 5 spots, run from corner to corner, then wing to wing, then to the top spot. If you are using more than 5 spots, start in the corner and work your way up to the top, continuing to alternate sides after each made shot.

  • After you have made each of the 5-10 shots and have completed that round, make two free throws. Do this between each round of shooting (this will serve as a quick break and a challenge to make free throws while you're tired) until you have made 100 shots.




When you are shooting by yourself, keep track of how many shots you are able to make in your designated time or how many shots it takes you to reach your goal number of makes. Compare your results against your other workouts and compete against yourself. Making your workouts a small competition and trying to improve upon your results each time is a great way to stay engaged and focused.



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