Basketball Shooting Practice – Emphasize Quality Over Quantity

Basketball Shooting Practice – Emphasize QUALITY Over QUANTITY

Here is an excerpt from an article in Our Daily Bread by David McCasland that has a great message for the best way to practice.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Midori believes that focused, diligent practice is the key to performance. Even while playing a schedule of 90 concerts a year, she still practices an average of 5 or 6 hours a day. Midori explained why in an interview with NWA WorldTravelor magazine:

“I have to practice for my job and I practice every day … it’s not really the hours, but the quality of the work that needs to be done. I see with students that they play and they call it practice – but they are not watching. If you have your textbook open, it doesn’t mean you are studying.”

As the basketball season begins, QUALITY practice will produce better results


How To Jump-Start Shooting Accuracy

Early in the season it is an absolute must for teams to get their scoring up to speed as fast as possible. Many players are coming off a Fall season and have not touched a ball – sad but true. Here are three points of emphasis in “practice design” that will create excellent results in the shortest amount of time. 

ONE: Design All Shooting Drills Around  4 Key Points

  • Make 5 in A ROW
  • From the SAME Spot

Making shots in a ROW from the SAME spot DEMANDS focus and consistent power, mechanics, and arc. It also creates more game like pressure the closer you get to 5 because you can’t move to the next spot.

NOTE: When partner shooting, each player should be given a minimum of 5 attempts in a row before switching. They should report how many out of 5 they MADE in a ROW. Also, DEMAND Pre-shot Preparation when receiving a pass – READY HANDS with index finger on the shooting hand pointing up, and body in the ATTACK position (triple threat).

GAME POSITION of the body from the “post” area and “perimeter” are different. Post position requires the ball higher – palm above the eyes. Perimeter requires the ball out in front of the shoulder. In either case, DO NOT DIP the ball below the shoulders. Dipping makes for a slower release and causes more blocked shots.

Shooting at GAME SPEED is absolutely critical. John Wooden placed a strong emphasis on this practice technique. His players commented that they became so familiar with moving and shooting at game speed in practice that the games seemed like they were played in slow motion.

GAME SPEED Technique:  For the first two weeks, each player should say, “Game Speed” out loud and FAST as soon at the ball starts moving upward in the shooting motion. The ball should be released BEFORE the “D” of SPEED is heard.  The words should be said loud enough for coaches to hear. If not – the team runs the lines.  When shooting on the move – flashing, coming off screens – the last two steps must be at GAME SPEED.

TWO: Direct All FORCE Toward The Basket

The odds of making the shot drastically improve when all the “force” involved in the shot is directed precisely toward the basket. An easy way for the athlete to get feedback as to whether it is happening is to check both the hands and feet after the shot. Here’s how.

Check the hands by simply glancing at them while FREEZING the follow-through. They should be 1) directly above the basket, 2) high enough so the Elbows are Above the Eyes for proper arc, and 3) not so high as to be out of peripheral vision thus causing too much arc.

Check the feet by using blue painters tape.  Lay 1” blue painters tape on the floor and make it line up with the middle of the basket. It should stretch from 3 feet past the 3pt line to about 5 feet inside the arc.  The shooting foot – for a right hand shooter it is the right foot – should start and land on the line without turning left or right.  Check the foot after each attempt to make sure the lower body did not 1) rotate and/or 2) fade to the side. 

Shooting in this manner DEMANDS that all the force involved in the shot are moving directly toward the middle of the basket. Both the upper and lower body must work together.

Three: Use the SHOOTING STRAP Because EVERYONE Improves

Research has proved that EVERYONE improves when they use the SHOOTING STRAP – even those who don’t have an off-hand interference problem.  Restricting the non-shooting hand improves kinesthetic or sensory feedback thus creating better control and balance from the shooting hand.

NOTE from Jay: Even if I didn’t invent the STRAP I’d still recommend it because facts prove IT WORKS! ! !

EXCEPTION: If a player who shoots with two hands already has excellent accuracy, see if they get worse when using the STRAP. But, they should at least try it for one practice.


Always A GOOD Reminder


“We don’t coach basketball. 

                        We coach young people through the game of basketball.”