Shooting is the thing that everyone loves to practices and the time most practice workouts center around. Productive shooting practices, like practice of any endeavors, aren’t counted by the time spent in the gym or the number of shots taken and made, but by the quality of the workout, as gauged by the simulation of in-game situations.
[Related: Drills & Workouts to learn how to shoot a basketball perfectly]
Keys to quality basketball shooting workouts
1) Incorporate catch-and-shoot spot up shots
Focus on drills that capture spot up shots for players of any position and role.
2) Incorporate catch and shoots off of cuts
At the end of a cut, catching the ball, positioning your body and taking the shot means slowing down, mentally remaining aware and avoiding miscues until successfully making the shot is great to practice because of it’s similarity to in-game situations when defenses are all over you.
3) Incorporate shots off the dribble.
One dribble, two dribble pull-ups. Drives to the basket ending in floaters and bankers. These are the high-percentage shots you can get off against a tight defender as opposed to shots that take too many dribbles or taking shots out of rhythm.
4) Focus on proper form during drills, not just the make/miss.
If you have something like a Shot Tracker or someone manually marking the shot counts, forget about your makes and misses. Focus with hyperawareness on the process off-the-ball and once you catch the ball, until the end of the follow-through. The more you notice these tiny details in each of the steps, the greater your feel for shooting will develop and the smoother you will execute them in games.
5) Contest all shots (hand in the face)
Individual shootarounds are difficult to replicate as in-game situations because you have no stress or contest of your shots; if you can grab a partner who’s willing to dish you the ball off of rebounds and makes, they can also run out and put a hand in your face.
100 contested makes are better practice than 200 uncontested makes.
6) Take game shots from game spots at game speed.
What you don’t do in practice is just as important as what you do. Remain aware and don’t take ‘filler’ shots, like the ones where you launch half court shots or HORSE shots out of instinct rather than intention. Try to take shots only when you’re sweating and your heart rate is lively as in real games. Think of things that wreck your nerves during practice and then use controlled breathing to combat it.
7) Count your makes and misses and chart them.
Most pickup players don’t need to put in this much effort if it demotivates them from productive practice, however, serious players and coaches need to find ways to calculate makes and misses and then subsequently chart these for the player to visually see and comprehend his areas of strength and weakness. Setting goals and tracking progress can’t be done with mental math, these numbers need to be recorded for later use.