In a previous article we discussed the fact that there are really only four functional positions on a basketball team: ball-handler, post, athlete, and shooter. If you are a player then understanding this is extremely important. Why? Because if you want to be an impact player on your team and be the type of player who moves on to play at the next level, (Whatever that next level may be) then you need to successfully fill one of these four positions.
Granted, there are some coaches who fill the fifth "spot" with a "glue guy" or a player with decent all around skills but that is usually out of necessity and not by choice. If coaches have their choice they will typically fill the fifth spot with "another." (Another ball-handler, another shooter, etc.) That means players who can't fill one of the four functional positions are probably going to do a lot of cheering and towel waving come game time.
Now let's be realistic - being a great athlete and/or post player is often as much about genetics and body type as it is skill set and work ethic. In other words, if you are not already the most athletic player on your team then you probably never will be. If you are not already the tallest player on your team (and if your parents aren't taller than your teammates' parents) then you probably never will be.
This means that for a great many players two of the four positions are eliminated right from the very beginning. So to be an impact player of any kind, that leaves becoming either an outstanding point guard/ball handler or a great "lights out" shooter.
Now while you can't go wrong either way, it's fairly important to note that it is easier to become a great shooter. (Not necessarily quicker but easier.) Why? Because to become an outstanding ball handler you need to eventually practice your skills against a defender. On the other hand all you need to develop into a big time shooter is a ball, a basket, a little coaching, and LOTS of repetition, all of which can be done completely by yourself.
Of course, the things that are easy to do are also easy not to do which is why shooters like Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird, and Kyle Korver don't come along very often. The average player just isn't willing to put in the time necessary to be great!
So to sum things up, if you're not a point guard, not a legitimate post player, and not a super athlete you MUST be a shooter if you want to keep playing at the next level.
Since it is so important to work on your shooting during the off season we are going to have several more articles this summer with shooting tips, drills, and games that can be used to accelerate your improvement.