Shooting a basketball is a skill that takes time and repetition to master. Every great shooter has spent hundreds of hours in the gym mastering their craft. However, they aren’t just shooting around. Most of their time in the gym has been spent working with coaches and trainers on game-speed drills that focus on situations that they could see in a real game.
Lazy shooting around isn’t going to be enough if you want to be a great in game shooter. In-game shooting requires good footwork and a quick release. You must be able to shoot accurately when coming off of screens, making hard cuts, or using your ball handling ability to create a shot. Lazily shooting around will not help you develop any of those skills.
Take a look at one of Damian Lillard’s workouts from a few years ago below. This is how you need to train if you want to improve your game:
This guide will help you create great shooting workouts that will help you develop your overall ability to shoot. Below is a simple template you can use for your shooting workouts, and further down I will explain what you should do for all of the drills.
Hold on, before you start the workout, here are a few things you need to remember:
- For this template you will make somewhere between 170 and 500+ shots per workout. I cannot tell you the perfect amount of shots to make each day. Stephen Curry claims to make at least 500 shots per day in the summer. In his prime, Kobe said he shot at least 2,000 shots per day. How many shots you make for each drill is completely up to you. Choose the amount of shots you are going to make based on the amount of time you have to spend in the gym!
- The more shots you make, the better shooter you will be.
- Personally, I recommend you follow this shooting workout a minimum of 3 days per week. You can do it every day if you want!
- Before starting the workout, take a hard look at your game. What are your weaknesses shooting-wise? Be critical of yourself. Choose drills that address those weakness.
- What spots are you most uncomfortable shooting from?
- Can you shoot well off the dribble going right?
- Can you shoot well off the dribble while going left?
- Are you good at shooting while coming off screens?
- Can you shoot from deep 3 point range?
- What are you better at: mid range or 3 pointers?
- Can you properly execute a step-back jump shot?
- Has your coach told you that you need to improve at shooting from a specific area?
- Think about where you get your shots in real games. Shoot more from areas where you regularly get shots.
Now, on to the program.
|1) Form Shooting 1 Hand||10-20 swishes|
|2) Form Shooting 2 Hands||10-20 swishes|
|3) Form Shooting With Dribble||10-20 swishes|
|4) Free Throws||20-50 makes|
|5) Creative Mid-Range Shots||20-50 makes|
|6) Creative 3 pt Shots||20-50 makes|
|7) Game Speed Drill #1||20-50 makes|
|8) Game Speed Drill #2||20-50 makes|
|9) Game Speed Drill #3||20-50 makes|
|10) (Optional) Game Speed Drill #4||20-50 makes|
|11) (Optional) Game Speed Drill #5||20-50 makes|
|12) (Optional) Shootaround||As many as you want.|
|13) Free Throws||20-100 makes|
Drills 1-3 – Form Shooting Warm-up
Form shooting is one of the best technique drills for shooting. It allows you to perfect and warm-up the upper body portion of shooting. You should focus on using perfect technique during each rep. Keep your elbow in and follow through during each shot.
Because you are so close to the basket, for these three drills you will only count swishes. You want to get a nice feel for you shot, and work on having a soft touch while shooting. Make 10-20 swishes for each drill before moving on to the next portion of your workout. Below is a video of the three form shooting drills in this workout being demonstrated by Dave Hopla, one of the best shooting coaches in the world:
Drill 4 – Free Throws
Drill 4 is just normal free throw shooting. Free throws are extremely important for every basketball player. Nearly every great scorer in the NBA shoots a lot of free throws, and shoot a high percentage from the free throw line. Also, free throws are a great way to warm-up for your shooting workouts. Typically, I like to make somewhere between 20 and 50 free throws before moving on to creative shooting. As you improve, you can start only counting swishes, not makes.
Focus, and go through your normal free throw routine with each shot. You want to be automatic from the free throw line.
Drills 5-6 – Creative Shooting Warm-up
The creative shooting portion of the workout is simple. Take shots that you either need to work on or want to master. If you saw a new move that you want to work on, or know that you are not good at shooting from certain areas (for example, from the corner), then work on those shots. This portion of the workout is for you to shoot shots that you need to improve on.
Make 20-50 mid range shots, and 20 to 50 three point shots before moving on to the game speed drills. Bring focus and intensity to this part of the workout. This should not be lazy shooting around. Imagine yourself in game, and shoot as if there is a defender closing out on you.
Below are two examples of what this portion of your workout could look like. The first video shows what it could look like if you wanted to work on various pull up jumpshot moves, and the second video shows what it could look like if you wanted to work on your catch and shoot ability. Mix it up every day, being able to catch and shoot and shoot off the dribble accurately are both important, and should be worked on during this portion of your workout.
Drills 7-11 – Game Speed Drills
Game speed drills are the most important aspect of your shooting workout. They simulate real game situations, and are performed at game speed. Shooting in a game is much more difficult than shooting in the gym. In a real game, you will have someone guarding you, so you need to get yourself an open shot by using a cut, screen, or dribbling. After you get open, you must either receive the pass or gather your dribble, use proper footwork to gain your balance, then shoot quickly and accurately. You cannot learn this without using drills that simulate those situations, and performing those drills and moves at the same speed as you would in a game.
I like to categorize my game speed drills into two main categories:
1) Moving Catch and Shoot Drills – These drills simulate catching and shooting off of various screens and cuts. Here is a list of some of my favorite drills to help you work on your catch and shoot ability.
2) Shoot Off Dribble Drills – These drills focus on the dribble pull-up, step back, snatch back, and other dribble moves to help you be able to get open shots off of the dribble. Here is a list of some of my favorite drills to help you work on your ability to shoot off of the dribble.
For this portion of your workout, you will:
- Choose 3-5 game speed drills that you personally like or think will help with a weakness you have. These drills can be chosen from the lists above, or you can use drills you know from practice. You can also search Youtube or Google for more drills to use.
- Your goal is somewhere between 20 and 50 makes for each game speed drill. Change the amount of makes depending on how much time you want to spend in the gym, or how many game speed drills you are doing.
- Switch drills every 2-4 weeks. If you struggle with a specific drill, keep working at it! That probably means you need to improve on that specific move or shot.
Personally, I prefer to focus on only one of the two main categories each workout, and switch between them each day. If I planned to workout 5 days this week, Monday through Friday, the game speed drills I choose would look like this:
- Monday – 3-5 Catch and Shoot Drills
- Tuesday – 3-5 Shoot off Dribble Drills
- Wednesday – 3-5 Catch and Shoot Drills
- Thursday – 3-5 Shoot off Dribble Drills
- Friday – 3-5 Catch and Shoot Drills
If you prefer, you can mix up the drills each day. Doing 1-3 catch and shoot drills, and 1 to 3 shoot off dribble drills in the same workout.
Again, bring focus and intensity to every drill. Imagine there is a defender guarding you and closing out on you every rep.
Drill 12 – Shootaround
After you finish your game speed drills for the day, you can spend some time shooting around if you wish. This time is for extra repetitions of shots you want to work on, and is completely optional.
Drill 13 – Free Throws
You will end every workout with free throws. I like to have free throws be the last thing I do before I leave the gym. They are a great way to cool-down after a hard workout, and are extra shooting repetitions that do not require a lot of energy. You will be tired by this point in your workout, and you must know how to shoot free throws when you’re tired if you want to make them in a game.
Make somewhere between 20 and 100 free throws, stretch, and leave the gym.