Basketball shooting drills need to focus on one thing – turn your players into scoring machines! But let’s face it – shooting drills are usually the most popular drills in practice – every player wants to shoot. Give a kid the ball and let him loose in the gym by himself, and that kid will shoot – he could practice dribbling, or passing, or defense, or all the other little things that make a struggling ballplayer a great ballplayer. But kids always want to shoot that basketball. So why aren’t our teams filled with sharp-shooters, if all they do is practice this one basketball skill?
Even the best shooting drills will not improve performance if players are out there shooting with poor fundamentals; in fact, they’ll just make their shot worse. And ingrained.
Which is too often the case – players tell you they are out shooting every night, but they don’t see any improvement because they aren’t doing it right. If they are going to practice shooting constantly, they need to shoot properly.
Which means you need to teach good shooting fundamentals and reinforce them with good drills in every practice.
To be effective, good shooting drills will teach several things:
- to shoot with decent basketball shooting form – ball on the fingertips, shooting arm cocked at about a ninety degree angle, free hand as a guide, eyes on the rim, good follow through and snap of the wrist for backspin
- to shoot quickly – i.e., to shoot the ball with a quick release – before the defense can attack
- to shoot under pressure – i.e., always work to simulate a game situation, because that’s what we are preparing these kids for
But we can’t do all this at once. The shooting form needs to come first, then the quick release, and then the game situation drills.
Basketball Shooting Drills
Drills to Teach Shooting Form
Players need to be taught proper shooting form (see Tips and Drills for Teaching Shooting) and well-run basketball shooting drills will enforce good form and technique throughout.
But the first drills to run will be simple drills that allow you to watch their form and adjust it as necessary, such as stationary shooting or shooting to a partner. Use these to take note of how players are following your instructions on using good shooting form, and make changes as you walk around. Have them practice these at the beginning of practice, before you really get going. Especially important early in the pre-season when you are really focused on the basics.
Basketball Shooting Drills
Quick Release Drills
But players also need to be able to shoot under pressure – the chances to take an uncontested, relaxed shot during a game are relatively few. So once they have learned and practiced basic form, players need to practice shooting under pressure.
So your next level of shooting drills need to add in the element of quick release. The Toss-Back Shooting Drill is perhaps the least complicated of these drills, but is excellent practice for players to receive the pass, square to the hoop, and take the shot all in one motion. It is also a good drill for introducing and improving a quick release. The Four Point Shooting Drill is another good drill to focus on quick release, and a good pre-game warm up drill as well.
Drills like the Speed Shooting Drill, 1-minute Shooting Drill, and the Split Shooting Drill will give players practice with pull-up jump shots and a quick release, so they can shoot the ball before the defense can attack them. More pressure is added in these drills simply by enforcing a time constraint.
Basketball Shooting Drills
Game Situation Drills
Now that players have some experience and have gained some skill not only with fundamental shooting form, but with quick release as well, it is time to put it into practice within a game situation. Everything needs to lead up to this – form first, then quick release, then game situation.
A couple of simple drills that serve as a good transition between skills instruction and game play are the Baseline Jumper & Rebound drill and the Spin Dribble to a Power Drive. These drills is multi-skill drills with a focus on a particular shot (the baseline jumper and a power drive), but also involve other skills – passing and rebounding, ball handling – along with some game-style movement.
The Pressure Shooting Drill is a little more demanding in that it adds in defense to create more game-like pressure. This is a great drill for developing all kinds of offensive skills, and a drill that you can use on a regular basis throughout the season to keep shooting skills sharp.
And let’s not forget the foul shot. The humble foul shot has won many games. Use these Free Throw Drills to help your players sharpen their free throw shooting skills and become consistent from the line.
Remember to keep your players focused on the basic skill throughout these drills – i.e., they must always use proper form and movement every time they run the drills. The better their form is in practice, the more likely they will carry that into their own shooting practice, and the better it will transfer to the game.
But also remember to apply the pressure – make the defense play honest, tough defense according to the basketball shooting drill’s set up. If everyone involved in the drill focuses and works hard, then everyone improves.