As a player prepares for tryouts and the upcoming season, many will focus a majority of their attention on shooting. While shooting is obviously a hugh part of the game and the way in which points are made — to me it is not the most important aspect of a player’s game. It certainly IS NOT at the top of my list as I evaluate someone at tryouts. Thus, I want to talk about shooting early on in this series — and spend the balance of the series talking about other aspects that will help a player have a successful tryout and season.
Kids love to shoot the basketball and therefore spend about 90% of their time in this activity. As kids get bigger they spend a majority of that 90% lofting 3-pointers; the occasional half-court shot and sometimes even the back-to-the-basket bushel basket toss!
Let’s discuss an alternative way to spend that shooting time. First, don’t eliminate this fun activity. Make it the last 5 minutes of any shooting practice session. Do the buzzer beaters; loft some three’s and so on . . . afterall, basketball is supposed to be fun. It is how the time is spent before this fun time that is really important.
One important aspect is to make sure players are shooting the ball correctly. There are an infinite number of ways to analyze shots and ways to contort a shooter’s body. I like to keep it simple, especially for youth players. One way to help players think about their form while shooting is to help them learn the B.E.E.F. model.
B=Balance — players should make sure they are balanced and square to the basket when taking shots
E=Elbow under the ball
E=Eyes focused on the target (aim small — miss small)
F=Follow through (end with the goose-neck)
Another important aspect is to have players start shooting close to the basket. Begin with short layup shots beneath the basket and no further out then the blocks. Closer shots are easier to make and making shots will help build a players confidence as they move away from the basket. As they shoot these shots — I always challenge players to shoot 3:1. Take three shots with your non-dominant hand for every one shot you take with your dominant hand.
As players progress — make sure they have an opportunity to shoot over defense. If you don’t want to stand on the court with your arms up — get a broom and a tall orange cone. Stick the handle of the broom into the cone and presto you have a defender that your player can shoot over.
As you work with your player on shooting, remember to keep it fun. If you spend 10 minutes on the web you can find all types of cool shooting games and contests.
Get started with your player today. Bring one (or many) of their friends along.
Let me know how it goes and stay tuned for more info, tips and insights as we move closer to tryout day!!