Four Good Shooting Drills

by Coach Brett Ayers email the author at

Teams these days seem to be losing the art of shooting the outside jump shot. These kids would often get easily rattled and or rushed, shots did not shoot the ball the same way every time and in general it was obvious they had not put in enough individual time shooting the ball in the off season. And, certainly what shooting they did, they did not do with the idea of doing game shots, game spots and at game speed. Listed below are some drills you can do on your own and with a another player to help perfect your shot, not for HORSE, but for games.

One of the drills I did as a kid, and is good for conditioning as well, heck it is even good for knowing where and at what angle your shot will come off at when you miss is, the "two chair drill". This drill is just as it sounds. You take two chairs, now kids don't mess with dad's recliner of any of mom's good chairs for the dinning room because I am saving for a wedding and do not want to see any bills for such things sent to me. : ) Take the two chairs, put them roughly ten to fifteen feet from each other in two spots where you are likely to get shots at when playing. You take two basketballs and put them in these chairs which will be facing outwards from the hoop open side to you as you face the hoop.

You start the drill by sliding over and tapping the top of the ball on the other chair, then coming back to the chair you started out in front of you. Pick up the ball from the chair and in one motion, either using the two foot jump stop approach to moving into your shot or the planting of a pivot foot and squaring to the hoop method of moving into your shot, you shoot the ball. As you shoot it, coming down you go after the ball regardless of outcome of the shot run back and put it on the chair then you move from that chair to the next chair repeating the drill from that spot.

The things to work on with this drill are: getting the ball up off the chair and quickly into the shooting pocket, getting from one chair to the other quickly but under control and finally getting the shot off quickly but with that desired form. Another thing to note is keeping and establishing that good base from the moment you pick the ball up off the chair. Do not short change your shot for the sake of quickness at first and make sure you follow through properly with your elbow ending up above your eyes and your hand over "reaching in the basket" like it is the cookie jar in the kitchen. As you will quickly find out this drill is very, very exhausting. You can have someone time you and try to see how many you can make in two minutes or three minutes and look to improve upon that and set goals for yourself with this drill.

A second drill you can do, and is one that requires a friend, father or mother and that is this. You have someone take the ball, stand three yards from you to begin with, toss you the ball and they are to jump off two feet trying to block your shot. As you do this easily and or successfully you then have them move closer at whatever increment you desire. This teaches a few different things to the shooter. It gets them used to having someone in their face when shooting. It also teaches them to get the ball off quickly. Also, you learn to get rid of any undesired hitches and or dips you may have in your shot because if you do not you will be eating the shot every single time. Another thing this gets a shooter to do is lift his elbow up and get the kind of arch that a good jump shooter should have. This also accomplishes the task of getting the shooter to take their guide hand off at the appropriate time because if you try to shoot the ball out, not lifting your elbow up or shoot the ball almost two handed up you will shoot air balls and or not get the shot off. Another real crucial thing developed here is shooting the ball in one smooth motion and shooting it on the way up, not hitching or shooting on the way down.

A third drill that you can do is a twofold drill. One that requires a second person and the second part of it you do on your own. The first part is practicing coming from either the corner and come up towards the wing and or start from the top of the key and move towards the wing and or corner and have the second person throw you a chest pass and catching the ball move into your shot and shoot the ball. This should also be done at game speed. Things to work on here are receiving the ball, footwork, getting your hips squared to the basket and having the good, wide stance, four to six inches wider than shoulder width base. Checking for these things after the shot along with checking the follow through is something that can be done by the person passing.

The next part of this is to have the second person pass you the ball. Getting the ball in triple threat you then take two hard dribbles either direction and with a very hard last dribble get the ball up high in the shooting pocket squaring and releasing the jumper. Concentrating on getting your shoulders square to the hoop, shooting on the way up and getting that ball off quickly via a very hard last dribble a la Jerry West.

Now if you can find a third person to do this with you on some drills you can have a rebounder and a passer and or you can use the third person to just walk along the side of the shooter and put their hands up as token pressure and this helps get the shooter used to a defensive presence.

If you do those four drills, get off a counted 75 shots a day you will get in 300 jumpers a day. The key to all of this is that it is done at maximum speed and after every set of 15 or so that proper examination of form is taken. Learning to not only breakdown your shot, but shots of others only lends to improve your basketball IQ.