The Lost Art of Shooting the Basketball and How to Fix It

I’m still always amazed when I see someone who isn’t even a decent shooter. After all, it’s one of the most fun things to do in the game and successful shooting is arguably the most rewardable basketball skill at all levels. I’m especially amazed at poor shooting as the level of play gets higher.

I was graphically reminded of this recently-again at my friend’s travel team practices and games. There is a big, who hasn’t been playing very long; so everything is fairly new to him-even shooting. He shoots the ball like he wants to hurt the rim or the backboard with a very, very hard shot with no arc at all-just a line drive.

So, I took him to the very front of the rim-literally a one-foot shot and had him make 5 shots in a row-utilizing back-spin and arc. After he made 5 in a row, I had him make 5 “swishes” in a row, which was obviously much more challenging.

Then, I told him to do this from 6 other spots on the floor-all similar one-foot shots- the two “corners”, the two “wings” and the two “elbows”. The “wings”, of course, are baby bank shots and helps players understand that when they are in the “funnel” between the first and second FT lane demarcations, that the bank shot is probably their best option.

After a week or two of a series of only one-foot makes and swishes, the player is then allowed to take one step back and repeat the process daily from two feet. However, the player should always start the day at one-foot.

As you might imagine, the player then moves to 3 feet, then 4 feet and beyond as far as the arc-always repeating the same 7 spot/5 make process. (As you move the player back, the “swish” option obviously gets more challenging and time-prohibitive.) As it is, this drill is painstaking and time consuming. But, it is something any player can do on his own-provided that the fundamentals of squaring to the basket, backspin, arc and follow-through are established.

For backspin and arc, I’ve always been very high on the drill where the player lies down on his back and shoots the ball up in the air to himself- concentrating on backspin and arc as the ball rotates of his finger pads.

Another favorite drill is where you have the player hold the ball out in front of him underhanded and from that position, turn the hand around to the shooting position-with the same straight (as possible) elbow. (This can be very difficult for younger players.)

Another mantra of mine is don’t miss a shot “side to side”. If you miss, miss long or short. You don’t need to miss 4 ways; two is enough. The target that I prefer is the “hole”, not the front or back rims.

As with most endeavors, this process can be rewarding but it requires commitment, time and a basket. (Many outdoor baskets are now totally unused. It shouldn’t be difficult to find one.) This regimen isn’t foolproof, but nothing is. But it will produce positive practice results. As always, there will be some game slippage, when the clock, the score and opponent are in the mix.

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Originally posted 2016-02-14 06:39:20.