Basketball Shooting Drills
The Split - Shot Drill

Some of your basketball shooting drills need to focus on a quick release, for some obvious reasons - we always enforce proper form, and you don't want to stop doing that, but in the game a player doesn't have the time to check his feet to ensure good spacing, that he has his balance, that his elbow is under the ball and the ball is resting on his fingertips, and so on. He doesn't have time to adjust, to relax, take the breath, center himself. Things get a little more hectic once the basketball is in play.

Of course, basketball drills that focus on shooting form, like these simple shooting drills, are still important, and at the beginning of the season and especially with inexperienced players these should be the mainstay of your shooting coaching. But once your players have worked out a decent shooting form, it's time to prepare for the game, and in the game, a quick release - the ability to shoot the ball immediately upon recieving it - becomes necessary for any kind of scoring success.

The Split-Shot Shooting Drill isn't a difficult drill to teach, and it provides practice for your perimeter shooters to work on their quick release, as well as movement away from the ball. And your post players practice posting and seeing the court, and snapping the ball back out to the open perimeter player (something some post men have difficulty with, figuring once the ball is passed inside, it doesn't come out again.)

So it's a good drill to run, as it provides practice for several players in different positions, in game-like situations.

Basketball Shooting Drills
The Split-Shot Drill

Players set up as indicated in the diagram, with a post player posting on each block, and two perimeter players on each side, about 15 feet apart.

  • The perimeter players closest to the baseline each start with a ball (2 balls in total)

  • The perimeter players with the balls pass in to the post player on their side; immediately they cut up to screen for the second perimeter player.

  • The second perimeter player cuts down hard, receives the pass out from the post player, and immediately shoots a jumper.

  • The post player rebounds and puts the ball back up if the shot misses.
Basketball Shooting Drills - Split Shot DrillThe Split Shot Drill

The perimeter players remain in the positions they are in (switched from the beginning of the drill) and the drill starts again, this time with the second perimeter player throwing the ball in to the post and then cutting high to screen for the first perimeter player.

This is a quick release drill, and that needs to be emphasized, but you also want to remind players to practice good form - that should be a reminder in every basketball shooting drill - as well as proper footwork so they aren't traveling as they square to the basket.

Also, keep them in "game" mode - post players need to post like they have a player on them, snap passes out to perimeter players with some zip on them, and go strong for the rebound; perimeter players need to make sharp cuts (it's very easy for cuts to get lazy in practice). This is not just some run-of-the-mill basketball shooting drill - it's a game situation drill, and how they move in practice will determine how they move in the game. Perfect practice makes perfect!

"My jump was imperfect, my run-in was too short and my hands were too far back at takeoff. When I manage to iron out these faults, I am sure I can improve."

- Sergei Bubka (first pole vaulter to clear 20 feet)