Become Your Child’s Shooting Coach

What the heck are you supposed to focus on?  At what age?  What theory do you listen to?  

THERE IS SO MUCH CONFLICTING INFORMATION.

Being a parent that wants to help their child improve in basketball has a lot of challenges.  Even if you had a playing background yourself, being on the other side and being a coach is WAY different than being a player.

But if you can keep a couple simple ideas in mind, then you’ll be able to sort through what you need to work on.

I’ve been a Shooting Coach in the NBA since 2009.  I’ve worked with 3 different NBA teams, dozens of players, and have helped players improve by 20-30% in one season.

I’ve also got a 10 year old daughter that I’m starting to coach.  So I know some of the challenges you are facing now, plus where you want to get to, and I’m going to help.

The first thing we need to understand is that shooting should be simple.  It isn’t EASY, but it should be SIMPLE.  Here is what I mean…

The act of shooting is really just making your body stable, then getting your shooting hand under the center of the ball, slightly towards the back of the ball, and lifting straight up.  In the most simple terms, those are shooting mechanics.

Unfortunately, there are 5 other players trying to stop you.  THIS is where things get complicated.  

We need to remember the GOAL of the defender – to make each shot as difficult  or complex for the shooter as possible.  The defenders will never really be able to STOP a shooter from shooting.  Even if a defender plays perfect defence, the shooter can still just THROW the ball towards the rim.  It may not have much of a chance to go in, but they were able to shoot.  

So if the goal of the defender is to make the shot as complex as possible, the shooter needs to be making the shot as SIMPLE as possible.  The more simple the motion, the more often they are going to be able to repeat it.

When I say it in those simple terms I’m sure it makes perfect sense.  In fact, I bet you are thinking “well, duh….” as you read this.

But young players don’t think this way.  They see all the NBA and WNBA Superstars shooting and making tough shots and think that is what you need to do to be great.  In reality, these players aren’t great because they can do complex things…

THEY ARE GREAT BECAUSE THEY CAN DO SIMPLE THINGS IN COMPLEX SITUATIONS.

Their habits are so good, and so efficient, that even when someone plays great defence the shooter is still able to get on decent balance, get their shooting hand under the middle of the ball but slightly towards the back, and lift.

I had a parent that asked a great question at a camp I ran for youth players.  

“How do you make these habits more complex for your NBA players?”

My answer was simple.  “We aren’t trying to make anything more complex.  We are always trying to do more simple things.  We may not be able to, but we are always fighting for SIMPLE.”

Let me give you a practical example of what I mean.  Here is what young players do…

They start working on separation moves like step-backs.  Their main goal is to look really cool like SuperStar X looks when they shot that one step-back at the end of the game last night.  So the young player barely creates any separation, but then fades away a lot, finishing off balance, and rarely makes the shot.

If you look at most NBA or WNBA players shooting a step-back (especially those that aren’t at the end of shot clocks), you’ll see them creating a lot of separation with the dribble move or fake, then actually shooting a fairly balanced shot.  

What is the difference?  The pro player fights early to keep the shot as simple as possible.

If you can keep that idea in mind, you are going to avoid a lot of bad habits down the road.  FIGHT TO KEEP YOUR SHOT SIMPLE.

Still not sure what exactly this means?  

Think of the shooting motion this way….

The shooter’s body moves in order to create energy.  We give that energy to the ball to get it moving.  But there are only two directions of energy that HELP us make shots – straight at the hoop, or straight up in the air.

So our goal as shooters is to create as much POSITIVE ENERGY (at the target or straight up in the air) as possible, with as many parts of our body.  

We will never do that perfectly, but the better we can do, the more accurate we can become.

As you watch your player shoot, think about energy.  What parts of their body are creating energy, what directions is it flowing, and how can we get more flowing in POSITIVE directions?

IF YOU’D LIKE MORE HELP FROM NBA SHOOTING COACH DAVE LOVE, Subscribe to his FREE shooting newsletter on www.coachdavelove.com, or get his feedback on video of your shot at www.coachdavelove.com/store/#vsa

Dave Love
Shooting Coach
dave.love@theloveofthegame.com

Any Thoughts, Coach?