Shot Selection tends to be one of the most difficult aspects of basketball for players to understand and master. Shot selection has both a tactical and personal aspect for players. Communicating this information to players however can be challenging because of the need for them to blend their abilities with the tactical system put in place. This can send mixed messages to players and cause confusion on the individuals part about what to look for, which option to choose and finally what is expected of them during the heat of the game. All of these aspects need to be explored with the player to provide the best insight for them in regards to their roles and responsibilities within the team’s offense.
The first place to start when looking to explain shot selection is to highlight the specific scoring opportunities within any team offense. Most coaches employ some sort of an offensive system. Sometimes this consists of specially selected individual plays, or a collection of plays under the banner of an offensive system and in some circumstances the offense will be generated from a detail offensive philosophy. While the selection process itself does not guarantee success or failure, the ability for players to work within this offense certainly plays the largest part in if it can be deemed effective.
When teaching an offense many coaches pay a lot of time instructing players on the movement from one position to another. This instruction normally starts with the first player movement and finishes with the final scoring opportunity being realised. Half-court offense though is so much more than this. Coaches need to explain the specific scoring options within each step of the offense to help players realise where shots can be made from and scoring opportunities created for one another. This will help players with their shot selection by further developing their understanding about the offensive possibilities and what coach is looking for.
The second stage in helping a player with their shot selection is to discuss what their capability is in regards to generating offense. This is best undertaken by assessing player’s individual offensive skills in combination with shooting tests. These tests may include taking a number of shots in a given time from specific shooting positions relevant to the team’s offense. This will help a player not only start to visualise and understand the team’s offense in a functional way, but also provides the opportunity for a coach to flag any concerns about the players offensive execution should the player be below the required level for their role within the team.
The skills assessment can be more isolated initially in the sense of testing if players have the demanded range of skills need to execute the offense within their position. If not, a coach can then discuss the process of developing these skills while focusing on those the player currently has which meet the desired need of the offense and improve the players shot selection.
When looking at the individuals skill set it I important to realise that performing a skill assessment shot testing is only the first step. The player will need to be placed in offense specific scenarios that mimic a game situation while performing the range of skills proficiently. This is really the ultimate test in helping with the team’s shot selection, by using this types of offense breakdowns goals can be set in regards to practice before player progress to trying to use certain skills in a game context.