When you go to the park or to the gym to "shoot" baskets and to work on your game, how do you go about it?
Well, if you are like many players, you find an available hoop and then walk immediately to the three point line and fire up a shot. Then make or miss you walk after the ball and then walk back to the three point line to shoot again.
If you made that first shot then you probably walk back to the same spot. If you missed and the ball bounced right then you go get it and take your next shot from the right side of the court.
Of course, if the ball had bounced off to the left then you would do the same thing on the other side. The whole process is repeated over and over again until it's time to go home. Sound familiar?
Now while I admit that's a fun way to spend an hour or so, it's NOT the best way to improve your ability to shoot the basketball! If you want to have fun and improve your shooting you should incorporate the following seven keys to a productive shooting workout:
Only shoot game shots from game spots at game speed!
This is the cardinal rule of all shooting workouts. Game shots from game spots means no heaves from half court; no trick shots from behind the back board; no underhand "granny" shots, etc. Game speed means no walking, sharp cuts, quick moves and trying to make the work out as game like as possible.
Warm up with finishing moves.
Mikans, Reverse Mikans, and driving layups from the high post are good ways to warm up before you actually start shooting. If you are a little more experienced then drop step power moves to the baseline and jump hooks to the middle could be added here as well.
Basketball has become a game of drive and kick out and so players are shooting more spot up three pointers now than ever before. Make at least five shots from five different spots. (Both corners, both wings, and the top of the key.) If you have someone to pass the ball to you that would make this drill even better. Whatever you do, don't walk after your rebounds - run! And no matter what - do NOT take a one bounce dribble before you shoot it!
Move, move, move.
A passer here would be great but it's not absolutely necessary. Just flip the ball out in front of you with some back spin on it and step into your shot with your inside foot. Alternate starting at either wing and from the top. You can also start underneath the basket and break out to the wing area where you catch the ball, pivot on your inside foot, and shoot it!
Shoot off the dribble. Use the same drill mentioned above but instead of shooting it immediately after receiving the pass or catching the back spin, square up and take two hard dribbles either right or left before shooting a pull up jump shot. Then move out to half court and dribble towards the basket just like you would if you were the middle man on the fast break. Vary your pull up points but get some shots off the dribble from the top of the key, the elbows, and the free throw line.
Get a hand in your face!
If you want to improve even quicker or make your shooting work outs a little tougher then bring along someone who can play "dummy" defense and put a hand up on your shots. This can range from just standing there and raising a hand to full speed "fly bys" where you can practice shooting with a defender running at you full speed. Eventually you can utilize a ball fake and let the defender run by you before shooting.
Don't forget the free throws!
You can wait until the end of your work out when you are tired to shoot your free throws or you can shoot them between each segment. Either way, don't stop until you reach a predetermined number of "makes" regardless of how many attempts it takes.
Follow these seven keys to a productive shooting workout and you'll soon discover that you are improving much quicker than you ever thought possible. Where you used to go to the gym or park to "shoot" baskets, it won't be long before you'll be going to "make" baskets!