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According to Villanova men’s basketball head coach Jay Wright, you’re either creating good habits or bad habits when conducting shooting drills. If the drills are sloppy, bad habits will certainly form. That’s why it’s so important to concentrate on all of the other fundamental areas when conducting shooting drills, such as making good passes, having proper form and footwork, playing hard and communicating with teammates. Remember, just because you’re shooting, it doesn’t mean that other components are not important.
Here are four effective shooting drills that should pay immediate dividends with your players. Hopefully, with a little practice, you’ll be able to foster good habits and see a marked improvement on the basketball court.
Coach Wright’s Villanova players perform this drill 10 minutes before practice every day. Here, the players are simply practicing the technique of shooting. The goal is to have the elbow under the ball, knees bent, and then lift the ball and follow through all in one motion. While it’s a simple technique, it’s important that players get the concept of lifting the ball and holding the follow through. Simply, it’s a drill that exaggerates good habits and is a way to get repetitions every day regarding proper technique.
In the Bradley Drill, players will make hop steps and practice the rhythm of jumping, lifting and shooting on the way up. Each player gets a set of five. They will get a little bounce in their feet and get their elbow as high as it can. The closer to the rim you are, the higher you release the ball. Players should be about 5-6 feet away from the basket and concentrate on keeping the elbow under the ball and then shoot on the way up. Be sure to always hold the follow through. The goal here is to exaggerate getting the ball in the lane and then needing to shoot with a lot of wrist. Players will do five shots total, two from the sides and one in front, before rotating.
George Mikan Drill
The Mikan Drill is an old standard when it comes to shooting drills, but it continues to be used at all levels for a reason: It works. Here, players are simply practicing layups. They’ll go back and forth under the basket shooting layups at a quick pace with no stops in between. The ball should never hit the floor; it’s always kept above the head as players catch it out of the net. Remember, catch it up and keep it up. Players should do 10 reps before switching to a reverse Mikan, which works on reverse layups going back and forth.
One-Two Step Shooting
Here, we’re working on the concept of stepping with our inside foot. Players will start by facing the basket around the foul line area. One at a time, players will receive a pass from a teammate at the foul line and then take jump shots using the one-two step format. Players should switch back and forth between stepping with the right and left foot. Passes should be right to the hands of the shooter and then the shooter should step into the shot immediately. To help with the footwork, players should say in their heads, “1-2, lift and follow through.”
The ultimate goal here is practice proper footwork and technique. Players should establish that proper pivot foot and be thinking about it in practice. Coach Wright believes that you never want your players to be thinking about shooting in a game. Come game time, players should just go out and play. However, it’s practice where the good habits are created.