I have five stages in a shooting progression that I like to use in practices at every level , workouts, youth clinics, pre-game warmups, and to evaluate at which stage our players are as shooters.
- The first stage is learning the correct fundamentals of holding the ball, and then delivering the shot with no pressure and no movement.
- Stage Number 2 is repetition shots off a catch, again–no pressure and no movement. Concentrate on the fundamentals from stage one. We shoot these shots from 12-15 feet. We work on combining proper mechanics from stage #1 with catching the ball with a shooting hands ready set. The point of emphasis we make is catching ready. It is possible to catch ready to shoot and then turn the shot down, but I don’t believe that you can be a team that shoots the ball well if players have to adjust their hands frequently to shoot after catching a pass or picking up a dribble. So, I want to work on catching ready to shoot and picking up the dribble ready to shoot every day without any pressure. We work on catch and shoot in a rhythm with one shooter and one passer for 10 shots, then changing roles. Then, repeat with players picking up off the dribble 10 times in a row going both left and right.
- Stage #3 involves moving at a game pace in ways that occur in a 5/5 game to get a shot without defense and without any other type of pressure. We want to work on game cuts at game speeds for game shots. I want 10 game-like cuts and shots for each cut that the shooter makes in our offense. Out cuts off flare screens, curls, fades, popup, whatever terms or cuts you use in your program, and I want them to mix up shooting off the catch and shooting off the dribble. What I strive constantly to get a handle on and communicate to our players is where each one is in terms of the shots he can hit in games, and which shots he needs to be working on to expand his game. In the summer we are more concerned with expanding into the shots we are going to need for next season, and in the season our focus is practicing the games he will shoot in games.
- Stage #4 is shooting with pressure produced by time, performance goals, one defender, or a combination of two or more of those things. I think that this stage is important to track because I want our players to know what percentage they shoot in these types of drills so that they understand which shots they can shoot in games based on their execution in practice. For the summer, keeping statistics for workouts provides motivation and helps prevent the monotony of just going through drills.
- Being able to apply the fundamentals and game speeds to make shots in a 5/5 scrimmage. Players must shoot with the fundamentals and the types of shots that they have been practicing in the development stages and in workouts. After all, stages 1 to 4 mean nothing if there is no carryover to games.
We basically run through stages 1-4 for each individual workout whether it is in the off-season or in the individual development stage of practice. Stage #5 takes place in our summer scrimmages or in the 5/5 stage of practice. I do want our players to understand how this progression goes, what its purpose is and which stages they are where they should be and which ones they must improve on.
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