Basketball Shooting Drills For Guaranteed Improvement!

Basketball shooting techniques vary from coach to coach and shooting guru to shooting guru. The one thing that they all have in common is that basketball shooting needs to be practiced almost daily. I remember reading about Bill Bradley of the New York Knicks by way of Princeton when I was young. Bradley would practice shooting for hours daily and would have spots on the basketball court and would not move to another spot until he made ten of thirteen shots. Even with no one covering you, this is a tough task but Bradley did it and had a great college basketball career and an above average professional career sticking around for ten years. 

  Shooting is the main reason players of all ages play the game of basketball. As far as drills go, you cannot even come close to counting the number of drills there are. If you go to one hundred different college basketball coaches they will have their own repertoire of their own drills that can number up to a thousand.

  Coaches who are constantly looking for basketball shooting drills should consider drills that have players constantly moving. Shooting from a stationary spot does not really mirror game like conditions. When shooting close to the basket, it is especially important for the players to be moving. Here are five individual basketball drills that are close to the basket that I have found to be popular with young players.

1) Mikan Drill

In this drill named after the great center from years ago, the player will start on one side of the basket and shoot a lay-up. Moving under the net, he catches the basketball as it goes through the net and then puts in a lay-up on the other side. So if the player starts on the right side, he shoots a right handed lay-up. His momentum is already going to his left so the player continues in that direction and catches the ball under the net and shoots a lay-up with his left hand. He then moves to the right side and continues this.This is one of the best warm-up shooting drills that will help strengthen both the strong and weak arm of the players. It is a myth that this drill should only be practiced by “big men.” All basketball players should practice this drill.

2)  Box to Box Drill

A shooting drill with a lot of repetitions is the Box to Box drill is similar to the Mikan drill.. Players line up at as many baskets as are available.  They start on one box with the ball, shoot, rebound, move to the opposite box and repeat. This drill can be done for time or for the number of shots made.  Players should try not to let the ball hit the floor; if they are making the shots, they will be in a good rhythm.  This drill helps with shooting form and practicing a high percentage shot. With a lot of repetitions in a short period of time, this is a good conditioning drill.  Players can also practice on their own in a driveway or playground. This drill is recommended for players of all ages. 

3)  Box to Box with 2 Balls

This drill is done with a partner and two balls. The drill starts with each ball on a box. On the “Go” command one player picks up a ball, shoots, goes to the next box, picks up that ball and shoots. The other player rebounds, putting the balls back on the box. This drill can be done for time or number of baskets made. This drill gives the players a lot of repetitions.  It also teaches the players to get used to picking up a loose ball and shooting, in addition to shooting off the dribble or from a pass. This is a great drill to make competitive, and is recommended for all ages. If younger players need to move closer to the basket, the coach can put down two pieces of masking tape to mark the shooting spots.

4) Elbow Lay-Up Drill

The term “elbow” refers to the area on the court that the foul line intersects the two lane lines. In this is a lay-up drill, it can help your timing, ball handling, balance, quickness and of course shooting.  Begin with the ball in your right hand on the right elbow.  The player takes one dribble to the basket and shoots a lay-up. He grabs the rebound out of the net and take 2 dribbles to the opposite elbow with his outside (right) hand.  Plant your left foot on the elbow, pivot toward the sideline, switch the ball into your left hand and go hard to the basket for a left handed lay-up. Continue to do this for 30 seconds. The goal is to make 6 lay-ups in 30 seconds.

5) Foul Line Lay-Up Hustle

This drill requires a partner or even a parent could play the passing roll in a driveway. In this drill one player is on the foul line with his back to the basket. There is a partner standing right under the basket with a ball. The player with the ball will yell either “left” or “right.” The player on the foul line will then turn to the side that is called and run toward the basket. The player under the basket will feeds him with a pass and the then the shooter takes a lay-up. He then hustles back to the foul line and the drill continues with the player under alternating and mixing up calling out “left” or “right.” The ball should never touch the floor in this part of the drill.  A variation is to have the shooter take one step before he shoots his lay-up. This is also a great conditioning drill for the players.

In today’s game of basketball young player love taking the long outside shot. There is nothing wrong with practicing three-point shots but players must hone their shooting skills in close to the basket with high percentage shots first then move away from the basket.

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