Shooting Decision-Making

I think it has become rather obvious that, first off, I am not a big fan of the 35 second clock. I would like to see it extended by 5 to 10 seconds. Second, one of the bi-products of the clock along with a few other factors has been the increasing number of poor shots taken in a college game these days. I see more and more poor shots being taken each year.

One of the major reasons for this is one that has been trumpeted by not only myself but many others on this site and that is the breakdown of over-all fundamentals. But, the question of being able to discern between a good shot and a bad shot goes even beyond fundamentals. It is a bi-product of individual practice, of course but also of perception. Here we have a slight problem.

ESPN and other sport highlight vendors are not going to stop showing highlight clips of Kobe, Vince, Michael and Mr. Garnett. The problem with this is those players comprise the 1% of players who have "every shot" while the other 99% might have three shots at best. I see far to many young kids and college players practicing all of the wrong shots.

My old college coach was the high school coach of one Mr. Ernie Digregario of Providence College fame and ABA fame as well. Ernie D., as coach used to often tell us had two shots. He had the deep jumper and the pull up jumper in either corner. Ernie would not take any other shots but those and of course the drive all the way to the basket. He shot the shots, for the most part, he had practiced often and knew he had the best chance of making.

For example. I look at Keith Bogans and I see a kid who should shoot his three ball, along the arc from 45 degree angle to the 45 degree angle on the other side. Keith is not a corner jump shooter. The next shot that Keith should shoot is his two or three dribble pull up around the foul line extended area. Once again, don't attempt to shoot the shots you are not adept at shooting.

As I see it, there are some shots by position that are best to encourage and work on with your players.

Point Guards - Now if you have a kid who can shoot the three that is a huge bonus, but not a necessary. I think the most important shots that point guard can have are first the pull up free throw line jumper that I wish more points would take on the break instead of trying to take it all the way to the hole to only have it either sent back at them or they turn it over. This shot needs to be practiced by dribbling from half court at full speed and worked from both elbows on the key and the middle of the fee throw line area.

The second shot I would want my point to work on would be the pull up all around the hoop from five to seven feet. This is a shot that is often there on dribble penetration. Finally, I think having your point work on the straight on three pointer is also a good idea. But the first two shots along with making them take at least 100 free throws a practice is crucial. Nothing worse than a point who can't make foul shots down the stretch.

Two Guard - This has to be your 3 point assassin. He has to feel even if he has missed five in a row the next five in a row are going down. I like to see 2 guards be proficient from all around the arc and I think they need to possess the pump fake one or two dribble pull up. In practice my 2 guards get up 50 to 100 three balls from around the arc on the move and off the set.

Three Man, Small Forward - I think it is imperative that the 3 man also be able to shoot the three ball but I like him to be better at the wings and into the corners. I also think the 3 man needs the pull up jumper but he also needs to be able to get into the key and shoot the pull up because typically your three man tends to be either your best and or one of your better athletes.

Four Man, Power Forward - I like four men to posses not only the drop step towards the baseline but also the hook into the middle of the key. The next shots that the 4 man should work on are the free throw line jumper along with the bank shots from 12 to 15 feet at the 45 degree angles. Getting your four man to learn how to keep the ball high when shooting is a big key, much like old Jack Sikma used to do back in his day with the Sonics.

Five Man, Center - Besides the usual array of jump hooks to the baseline and the middle I like my five man to have the face up five to seven foot banker from either side. I think it is key when working with your five and four men to get them into the habit of dunking everything. I see far to many guys who don't go strong to the hoop these days and usually they pay the price with a missed shot and no foul. You take it to the rim and good things will usually happen.