Taking your Shooting to the Next Level
This article was written by University of Southern California Assistant Coach Chris Capko.
As a player you should be watching the game of basketball. Whether it is your level, conference, a level up, or a level down, you should be paying attention to how the game is being played. Each level or league generally has its own style and brand of basketball. Some leagues are more physical, while some are more fast paced. Some leagues you need to be big in and some you can get away with being a little smaller.
One thing that has become more apparent at any level to win in today’s basketball is the ability to shoot. No matter the position, you become more valuable in today’s game if you can help spread the floor by shooting the basketball. Even if you aren’t deficient as a shooter and it is one of your strength’s, you can always be developing and improving. Regardless of whether it is the off season or in season, you need to make time on a regular basis for improving your shot.
5 Shooting Concepts
The best shooters in the game have mastered the details of shooting by first spending the time learning the correct shooting techniques, and then putting countless hours into turning them into muscle memory. Here are five concepts that I use with my players at USC to help take their shooting to the next level.
The “L” Drill: Regardless of the shooter, everyday starts out with “L” Drill shooting. All we do in this drill is accentuate what I call the “L” in someone’s shot. This is a one handed shooting drill in which we want to emphasis follow through and arc. I may have our players make anywhere from 100-150 shots right around the basket. This is repeated EVERYDAY.
Guide Hand: The next thing I will generally do is bring the second hand or “guide” hand into the shot. Again, we will do this from a close distance to ensure the technique is perfect. I make them hold their form up through the result of the shot. They will make anywhere from 50-100 makes at about 1 step further than “L” shooting.
Footwork: We will then begin to get our footwork into the shot. We still are going to stay inside the paint and make sure the top part of their shot is correct. I teach a 1,2 step into every player’s shot. To me this helps give the player a plan into each shot, as opposed to guessing.
Also, I believe it is an easy transition into a player’s triple threat moves. When doing this you want to ensure that the player is jumping straight up and down and his/her momentum is taking them to the basket. Do not let your players start walking backwards or fade. The principles that you teach for the top part of your shot should still remain intact.
Consistent Repetition: Now, regardless of the level of the shooter, I will still go to about 15 feet and shoot at about 5-7 different spot on the floor. I like to give each player a goal at each spot. For instance, if a player is very good from 15 feet, the goal is not to miss two shots in a row.
If he/she misses two in a row, the drill starts over. They must make 10 shots without missing two in a row, after the completion of 10 makes from one spot, I like to go right into consecutive shooting and see how many in a row they can complete.
Drills like this force your players to really focus on the mechanics you have worked on before you got to 15 feet and the competitor in them generally comes out. If they miss two-in-a-row you will usually see them get mad and really lock in. To end the drill if they make 10-in-a-row, you will see them want to now make eleven and so on. I will do the same out to the 3-point-line and off the dribble as well.
Contested Shots: With better shooters, I will make them make shots with a hand in their face, yet maintain the same discipline as if they were five feet away. This isn’t teaching them to take bad shots in a game, but instead to be able to make shots when the clock is running down or if there is a slightly late closeout and just enough time to get a shot off over the defender’s hand.
As coaches, develop your own shot philosophy and try to hold each kid accountable to replicate it. Shooting is extremely important at all levels and if a player wants to keep progressing it is imperative that they become a better shooter as they continue in their playing career.
It is key that you as the coach are spending time really helping your players lock in on the correct shooting mechanics so that they are practicing great shooting habits when they shoot. You don’t want your players reinforcing bad shooting habits that they may have.
University of Southern California Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach
Chris Capko was named an assistant coach for the Trojans in 2016. He has also been an assistant coach at Georgia Southern University and Stetson University. Along with coaching, Chris Capko also played at the Division 1 level for the University of Southern Florida.
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