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Two Game-Like Shooting Drills Used by Jay Wright and Villanova Basketball

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For Villanova head coach Jay Wright, the team’s shooting drills are typically set up in such a way to mimic shots taken in the offense and situations where they get shots in the offense. All the while, the drills are multi-dimensional and cover a number of situations. Remember, if you just run drills where everything goes perfectly every time, you aren’t preparing players for game situations.

In this week’s player development feature, we highlight a pair of effective shooting drills that should pay immediate dividends with your players. The shooting drills are used frequently by Coach Wright and the Villanova men’s basketball program and can also be used across every level of the game.

Slide Threes

There are certain situations in a game when you need a three-pointer and your opponent knows it, too. According to Coach Wright, this is one of the tougher game situations to deal with and that’s why Villanova practices this often.

With Slide Threes, we’ll catch the ball, make a fake, and slide dribble in order to get off a three. Watch the players below go through the drill simulation. There’s a catch, rip, one dribble and slide. This drill really works the shooters and gets them working on game-like situations. Many times, Villanova will have shooters doing this drill while the big guys are working on something else.


Two-Ball Shooting

This drill really simulates shots that Villanova takes in their offense and situations where they get shots in the offense. We’ll start with two players at a basket and separate them by forwards and guards. The forwards are the screeners and the guards are the cutters.

Here, we are simulating screener/cutter situations. Any time that you have these situations, the cutter should set his man up and always come off the screen ready to plant his inside foot and be ready to step and shoot. Players should think shot before they get the shot – and this a perfect drill to practice that.

Meanwhile, the screener should hold the screen until the cutter passes him. The cutter should look to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the screener before going shoulder-to-shoulder at the last second. Once he clears his shoulder, the screener now becomes the cutter. And if the defense takes that away, the cutter looks back to the screener in any screener/cutter situation.

As for player movement/positioning in this drill, start with one player up top and one player on the wing. The player up top makes a screen for the wing player. The cutter then comes around the pick, receives the ball, pivots and makes a bounce pass to the former screener in the corner for a shot. Next, the passer receives a pass and steps into a shot. It’s all about footwork and getting a feel for game situations. Start out with straight cuts and then move to curl cuts and curl & pops.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVDJay Wright: 28 Competitive Drills for Shooting and Footwork.” To check out more videos in the Jay Wright/Villanova collection, click here. For more shooting-specific videos, click here.

4 Drills to Improve Shooting and Footwork with Jay Wright

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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.

Set Lifts
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.


Bradley Drill
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.


The previous shooting drills can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “28 Competitive Drills for Shooting and Footwork” with Jay Wright. Check out our extensive shooting catalog by clicking here.


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