Monday, December 19, 2011

The 3 Parts to Becoming a Great Shooter

Posted by Lee Miller | Monday, December 19, 2011 | Category: |

As a shooting instructor, I get asked the same question weekly, if not daily. How do I shoot the basketball better?  The answer may shock you.   There are three significant parts to becoming a great shooter.  The number one part and most importantly, is you have to shoot the basketball the correct way.  Shooting is an art, just like the stroke of a paintbrush; there IS a right way to shoot the basketball.  Players (and coaches) struggle with making changes to a player’s shot.  Until you prepare and shoot the ball the correct way, you will always get the same results.  Does this mean everyone has the exact same shot, absolutely not! The great shooters all posses’ four (4) things:  great footwork, great hand placement, the correct body posture, and a great follow-thru.  Simply, they are PREPARED to shoot the basketball before they even receive it.   As you go through the levels of competition from elementary school to high school, your preparation to shoot the basketball will determine your ability to get good shots off in the games. 

Once you are shooting the basketball the correct way, the second part of becoming a great shooter is to simply shoot more shots than any other player.  Muscle memory and repetition are very important elements in shooting the basketball. The main question is:  How hard are you willing to work to become a great shooter?  How much time are you willing to devote?    Shooting is the most practiced part of the game, yet players struggle with putting the ball in the basket.  When practicing, start off shooting the ball the correct way, at close range.  Build the comfort level and build your confidence while seeing the ball in the basket over and over.   Once you are committed to shooting the ball the right way, and committed to working hard, you will “graduate” to the next level of practicing or working out.

The third, and last part of becoming a great shooter, is to practice at game speed.   Game speed cutting, game speed footwork, game speed shots in rhythm.   Have you ever been to a game and seen a player in warm-ups that couldn’t miss?  Once the game starts, that player either doesn’t play or he/she can’t make shots.  The main reason is the pace of the game.  If you do not practice at game speed, how to do expect to make shots at game speed?   Players tend to “rush” their footwork and their shot, and they are never in rhythm.    As I stated above, preparation is key to getting game shots off.  As an offensive player, you will have the ball in your hands no more than 25% of the time in the game.  However, you will use your footwork 100% of the time to get open, and to square up to the basket with proper footwork and pivoting skills to shoot the basketball.  It only makes sense to practice your footwork daily if you use it the ENTIRE GAME, right?

If you want different results than what you are getting now, you must be open to change and correction.  Second, there is no substitute for hard work and shooting the basketball hundreds of times daily.  None, I promise I would have found them already.  Last, but not least, challenge yourself to get better daily.  Challenge (push yourself) to work-out at game speed.  If you’re not seeing mistakes in your work-outs, you probably aren’t challenging yourself enough.  As I tell the players I train, “I don’t want to see what you can do; I want to see you get better”. 

James Lee
South Carolina Director
Elite Hoops/NIKE Basketball Camps
"Release Your Potential"

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