Form Shooting Progression Drills – As Taught by Coach Don Meyer
I was recently reading some material on Don Meyer and came across some great shooting drills. A lot of coaches want to work on shooting and try to get up as many shots as they can with the thinking that the more, the better. Practicing bad form creates bad habits though. Or as Coach Meyer says, “You can make a million shots in practice doing it the WRONG way, but to make shots in the game, you need TECHNIQUE”
Coach Meyer has some great drills for working on not only technique, but for performing realistic, game-like shots. The whole workout can take as few as 15-20 minutes, or up to the entire length of an individual session, 1 hour or so.
Wrist Extensions. The best shooters in the world have extremely flexible wrists. Just like a good defensive player has loose, flexible hips, a shooter must work to keep their wrists loose and flexible.
- Have the player stand on all fours, knees and hands. Point the fingers toward the knees and have the player lean back stretching their wrists. Stretch for a couple of minutes and move on.
TV Shooting. As Bob Knight often says, “The game is elementary.” So back to elementary school we go.
- Players lie on their back and try to shoot the ball 10 feet into the air. Make sure the player’s elbow is tight to their hip and touching the floor before the shot motion, as this resembles keeping the ball in the shooter’s pocket and doesn’t allow the ball to dip before the shot.
Shot Motion for Form. Before you shoot on the goal, make sure you drill form.
- Players will use their shooting motion to shoot against the backboard. Teaching points include: Keep the ball in the shooting pocket. The pocket is above the hip, below the shoulder. A right handed player should have the ball covering his right nipple.
- As the player shoots, the ball should NOT dip! This is the most important part of this drill. Ball in the shooter’s pocket, and ball does not dip as the player shoots
- You want to aim to have the ball hit the backboard on the way down.
5 Swish Drill
- Use the same drill as before but this time the player must SWISH 5 from the lane line just below the block.
- After a player swishes his 5 shots, have him move to the free throw line to shoot jump shots with identical form. Swish 5 from the free throw line and move back to the 3 point line and continue the drill for 5 swishes.
This is the best shooting Warm-Up I have come across as far as working on proper form. This should not take more than 15 minutes for an average shooter and could easily be done before every practice.
A couple of more advanced drills:
Pocket-Pick-Ups: Set the ball by the player’s feet. Player picks the ball up quickly and brings the ball to the shooting pocket. Teaching point is to pick the ball up with the left hand slightly before the right hand, pulling it up toward the right hand. You want to emphasize that this should be done FAST!
- Once they have proper form, add the shot motion. Pay attention to the player dipping the ball!
- Once they have mastered this, add a dribble. The player will pick the ball up, dribble once, then bring the ball to the shooting pocket. Again, once form is mastered, add the shot motion.
- For more advanced players, you can add several low dribbles.
After these drills, allow the player to do the form portion then add a shot. Again, the ball starts by the players feet, they dribble (x times), bring the ball to the shooting pocket, then without dipping the ball, shoot, and repeat. (We like to repeat this for 5 swishes).
Dribble Pocket-Pick-Ups: Have the player use their dribble to go somewhere for a one dribble pull-up.
- Player will pick the ball up, bring the ball directly to the shooter’s pocket, and then perform a one dribble pull up. It is extremely important to not allow the player’s to dip the ball on their one dribble in this drill. Often times, the tendency is to swoop the ball down at the shoelaces. Some coaches prefer this, but personally, I like a strong forward motion as this eliminates the opportunity for a defender to get their hand on the ball. The ball is vulnerable when you hold it out there for everyone to see.
- It is also important to take note of proper form here. Shooter’s pocket, don’t dip.
An indicator for the number of shots to take before switching to another drill or moving on:
- Make 25 shots. If you miss two in a row you’re done. UNLESS you swish the third.
Note: This is a GREAT time to use The GUN.
Coach T.K. Smith is currently the Men’s Basketball Graduate Assistant at his alma mater, University of Central Arkansas, which competes at the NCAA Division 1 level in the Southland Conference. Prior to Central Arkansas, Coach Smith served as Assistant Coach and Assistant Athletic Director at Ecclesia College (NCCAA D1) where he primarily worked with the guards, assisted in recruiting efforts, and was in charge of the team’s strength and conditioning program.
In his current position at C. Arkansas, Coach Smith assists in operations and works with the guards under Head Coach, Corliss Williamson. In addition to coaching, Coach Smith is also pursuing his MBA.
Career Aspirations: NCAA D1 Head Coach
Coach T.K. Smith can be reached by e-mail at: CoachTKendallSmith@yahoo.com