4 Basketball Shooting Drills To Do During Every Workout

Basketball Shooting Drills

The recent success of the Golden State Warriors has spotlighted how vital outside shooting can be to a team’s success. The NBA’s reigning MVP, Steph Curry, alone has made 245 three-point field goals this season, 84 more than teammate Klay Thompson, who sits at second. As a result of this trend, we decided to provide players with four key basketball shooting drills that will help them become better shooters.

Form Shooting

Form shooting should be the first thing a player does when he or she steps out onto the floor. Form Shooting helps develop muscle memory and promote good shooting technique.

  • Start 3 feet from the basket
  • Shooting with your dominant hand, focus on lifting the ball over the rim
  • Focus on B.E.E.F (Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow-through)
  • You can rotate from center of the rim to both right and left sides as well as step back. Do not exceed your comfort zone, it will often result in poor shooting form – which is what you are trying to build!

Around The World 

Around the World shooting helps players get ‘catch and shoot’ shots up from all areas of the floor.

  • Start in one corner, shoot from that spot until you MAKE 10 shots
  • Once you make 10 shots, move to the next spot and repeat
  • Spots are baseline, wing, top of the key, opposite wing, opposite baseline
  • Toss the ball out to yourself to practice catching and squaring up to the hoop

Looking to become a better shooter? 2016 Hoop Group Skills Shooting Camp

Elbow to Elbow 

Mid range shooting has been called by some as a lost art. Elbow to Elbow jumpers help you master this lost art, and also can simulate game like shots.

  • Start on either elbow
  • Toss the ball out to the opposite elbow, with back spin so it returns to you
  • Work on catching, turning and squaring your body to the rim before shooting
  • Alternate elbow to elbow – this can also be done elbow to baseline

Distance Shooting

Distance shooting does exactly as it sounds: helps increase your shooting range. This should take one just outside one’s comfort zone and progressively extend their range.

  • Start at the foul line, make 2 shots in a row
  • Once you make 2 in a row, take a step back, make another 2
  • Continue to move back until you struggle to make 2 in a row while maintaining proper shooting form
  • You can do this drill on any area of the floor, as well as increase the number of shots needed to make in a row

One important thing to note for all these drills is that players must focus on maintaining proper shooting form. The goal is to get better shooting THE RIGHT WAY! These four drills will help players develop better form, increase their range and emulate game like shots. Keep Shooting!

5 Tips to Successful Zone Offense

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Zone defenses are designed to keep teams out of the paint and help provide rim protection for teams. They take away man to man principles and require players to defend a zone of the floor. Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim has become famous for his zone defense at Syracuse. Attacking a zone defense is different from attacking man to man defense. We will discuss some tips to successfully attacking a zone defense.

Before we get into the tips in breaking down a zone, let’s first understand basic zone principles. A coach will format his offensive players in accordance to the defensive zone.  Players should position themselves in between the gaps (empty spots) of the zone defense in order to create high percentage shots. The use of ball fakes, shot fakes, and pass fakes can help create space against a zone.  Passing high, low and looking opposite helps shift the defense and create openings.  Against a zone, guards should typically continue to put the ball in motion until there is enough room to create an efficient play and post players should try to flash to the foul line when possible.

Now that we understand basic zone principles, here are 5 tips to breaking down a zone defense:

Always be in Triple Threat
This is the easiest concept, yet the most overlooked concept of beating a zone. Often times players pass the ball around the zone with the ball over their head, standing straight up. Defenses can relax when the offense is in that position. Playing in the triple threat position tells the defense you’re looking to make a play and not just pass the ball around.

Ball Reversal
Zone defense, like any defense, becomes easier to play when the ball sits in one place for a long period of time. By holding the ball, you’re allowing the defense to stand still and get comfortable. The key to successfully beating a good zone defense is by making the zone shift. The more ball reversals you have, the more times the zone must shift from side to side, creating openings for drives, passes and shots.

Player movement
Similar to ball movement, zone defenses become much easier to play when the offensive players are stagnant. Constant movement on offense forces the defense to keep their head on a swivel and makes you much harder to guard. Simple cuts through the zone force defenders to take their attention off the ball momentarily and can open up scoring opportunities for your team.

Drive the Gaps
Zone defenses are typically designed to keep teams out of the paint and shoot from the perimeter. Getting the ball into the interior of the zone goes a long way to breaking down a zone defense. As stated earlier, a couple of ball reversals shifts the zone and open up driving lanes. On rare occasions, this can lead to you getting all the way to the rim, but penetrating a zone off the dribble will definitely lead to kick out threes and dump off passes for lay ups.

Utilize the High Post/Short Corners
Another key to breaking down a zone is to attack the soft spots of the zone; these are the high post and short corners. Having a player at the high post can help get easy ball reversals. When the ball reaches the high post, the player should look immediately towards opposite ends of the court to pass for an open shot or to an open player. When the ball is in the short corner, the guy in the high post should dive to the rim in order to occupy the backside of the zone and to create an open player and/or additional ball movement.

These five tips, though simple, can help you and your team break zone offenses this season.

5 Keys to Improving Your Ball Handling

10983153_859696977428168_1395054869423583843_n

Ball handling is one of the most important fundamentals in the game of basketball. While it might not be the same as scoring 30 points a night, being a steady and reliable ball handler is crucial to any good team. That’s why it is important for players to work on their handle every day, starting at a young age. Whether you are a point guard, wing or center, you can always afford to become a better ball handler. Here are five things to focus on when you are working on your ball handling.

Non-Dribbling, Dribbling Drills

That’s not a mistake, you can improve your handle by not even dribbling the basketball! Drills such as finger tip touches and ball wraps help you get a feel for the ball in your hands. The more comfortable you are with the ball in your hands, the less looking down you will have to do while dribbling, resulting in better court vision. Better vision on the court makes you a better guard. 5-10 minutes of stationary non-dribbling drills to start your workout will go a long way over time.

Use Two Basketballs

Using two basketballs allows you to work both hands simultaneously. Doing this forces players to work on their “off” hand, which many, especially younger players, avoid. Another key reason to utilize two ball dribbling is because it is challenging for most. It requires much more focus, which will make switching to one ball easier. If you can master two ball dribbling drills, you will be terrific with the ball in your hands.

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Practice Full Court

When you finally do switch to one ball drills, use the entire length of the court to work on your change of direction handles. Going full court allows you to simulate game play, and work on your moves at a faster pace. Start at one baseline and use a different change of direction move every two dribbles. The more times you go up and down, the better you will feel when you are playing in live games. There is no such thing as too many reps!

Go Fast

The most common misconception players make when working out is it is bad to mess up; that is completely untrue. Players who don’t push themselves outside their comfort zone are actually preventing themselves from getting better. By going as fast as you can during every drill, you are training yourself to play at that speed, which will make it easier during games. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE WHILE TRAINING!

Play Live Competition

When it comes to working on your ball handling, the only way to improve is to work on drills by yourself. Playing games will not help your handle get better, but it is a great place to practice all the work you have been putting in; playing in front of cones only goes so far. Use team practices or scrimmages to test your handle in a live setting before you test yourself in real game play. Make sure you put the work in by yourself first, then test yourself in a little live gameplay.

With school seasons just around the corner, players everywhere are working on their games this preseason. These five keys will help make your ball handling workouts the best they can be. While many of them may be simple for older players, they are still crucial for all players looking to improve their dribbling, and everyone can always improve their ball handling.