Of all the skills in basketball there is no skill more valuable than shooting from distance. If there is one single skill that a player can have that will give them a spot on elite teams it is the ability to shoot from distance.
I remember watching an aging basketball legend Phil Dixon win the Toronto Nike Battlegrounds one-on-one basketball tournament by hitting jump shot after jump shot against a much bigger player who simply could defend him so far from the basket. If Phil hadn’t become a good shooter he surely would have lost against his younger 6’11” opponent.
Steve Kerr was a three point specialist as a player on five NBA championship teams. No surprise that as a coach he just won his first NBA championship with the sharp shooting Golden State Warriors. As a player Kerr was a 6’3″ 175lb guard who was not blessed with the kind of otherworldly athleticism that is typical in the NBA, but Kerr could shoot three-point shots. Steve Kerr is the NBA’s career leader in three-point percentage at 45.3%.
“Great shooting makes up for all manner of sins” Chuck Daley
There is a premium on good shooters. Great shooters have great footwork and fundamentals. With this in mind I will be using many drills in my practices that will emphasize shooting and finding footwork that leads to well balanced jump shots.
I have been attending a lot of coaching clinics and team tryouts over the last few weeks. I have noticed something about some of the best coaches I’ve seen. They are always offering vocal encouragement and instruction.
I here their voices non-stop throughout the gym time. Often correcting drills as they are being done, always encouraging the players for more. One more shot one more pass, do the drill one more time.
This is great coaching. Always challenging the players to give more, focusing on one detail at a time, keeping the players moving so they don’t dwell on errors.
These are not coaches that want to stop practice and hear the sound of their own voice while they give a presentation on basketball.
These coaches put the kids out there into the drill and get the players to correct along the way, thats the way to do it. The players need to do the drills and make the mistakes and fix and improve with each repitition of the drill.
At the end of practice good coaches have worked as hard as the players at their craft.
One of the great difficulties I have as someone who has coached males and females at various ages is to remember that in must let the players make mistakes and then adapt and figure out the drills.
Too often I can find myself thinking to stop the drills and offer more instruction when all my players need is more repetitions to figure it out. Expecting players to perfect a drill quickly is actually not smart, if your players are have perfected a drill then it is time to move on to the new drills that will challenge them.