Improving Basketball Player Shooting Performance
Helping Shooters Find Their Range

While a basketball player shooting from close range will usually be able to shoot with good technique and consistency, once the player moves farther out, the player's shooting form often tends to collapse and the shot falls apart. One common problem encountered by players as they attempt to shoot from greater distance is the ball falling short of the hoop. This drill aims to fix that problem.

Remember that the power in a basketball shot should come from the legs, and not the shoulders or arms. The larger leg muscles are much more powerful than the smaller, comparatively weaker shoulder and arm muscles, and thus the legs will be capable of delivering power at a more consistent level throughout the game and all over the court, whereas the shoulders and arms will lose power faster and cause the player to start to push the ball instead of shooting it.

Which is why the ball starts to fall short - trying to make those weak shoulder muscles do too much work. So our drill, and the focus of instruction, is to get players to use their leg muscles consistently, no matter where they are on the court.

Improving Basketball Player Shooting Performance
The Push Back Drill

The drill is an individual drill, and a great way to watch a player shoot and make adjustments. And once taught and the basics reinforced, it is a great drill for players to warm up with in pre-practice warm ups

Start with...

  • The player begins about five feet out, very close, and starts shooting in as relaxed a manner as possible
  • The focus must be on using proper form - squared to the hoop, elbow under ball, eyes on the hoop, bend at the knees and use the legs to power the ball into the hoop
  • Not a jump shot at this stage, just a set shot
  • Once the player makes 5 shots with good form, he can take a step back, but using good shooting form is the key. If he makes 20 shots with bad form, or if he is simply "not feeling it", the player should stay at this range and continue to work on his form until he hits 5 shots with good form and feels good about it.

The Next Set of Shots

  • After making 5 shots with good form, the player takes a step back to about 7 or 8 feet back - not quite the foul line.
  • The shooter takes another set of shots, focusing again on his form, and making sure that the only change in the form from the first set of shots is that he may need to push a little harder from his legs - i.e., his upper body stays the same.
  • Again, once 5 shots are made with good form and the player is feeling good about it, he takes a step back to the foul line and repeats the shooting.

  • This continues until the player steps back out of his range, but the focus is always on maintaining the same - good - shooting form that he had in the first set of shots.

To watch a basketball player shooting from the three point line as soon as he walks onto the court is disheartening - without a proper shooting warm-up, his muscles will not be prepared and his form will suffer for it. By using this simple step-by-step warm up, players can ease into good shooting form, and the more they do it, the more ingrained and automatic that shooting form becomes.

This drill is obviously not run at game tempo - it is much more of a drill to reinforce basic fundamentals and not game-style shooting. And while you may not be able to teach a basketball player shooting technique during a game situation, good practice in drills such as this one will make that good shooting form come naturally when he gets in those game situations.

A great little drill that every shooter should use before every practice and game.

"Training is what you are doing while your opponent is sleeping in."

- Brian Owen