The Different Phases of Shooting for Improvement

Shooting in basketball is one of those skills there is no getting around, you either have it or you cannot be effective as a player. All players come with a different shooting range, but like being able to complete a lay-up, shooting is one of the most fundamental skills players must possess for offensive success. At its most simplest, if you cannot put the ball in the hole then your team will lose.


With the importance of being able to shoot in mind it is imperative for the development of every player to be able to perform this skill. The development of the shooting technique becomes one of the most important progressions a player will be involved in during their time with the sport of basketball. Coaches should then be very conscious of the fact that they must develop a system which promotes the improvement of this technical activity each and every year of a player’s career.


English: TIVAT, Montenegro (May 22, 2007) &nda...
Practicing your shooting technique never stops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Phases of Shooting are important for a number of reasons but none more important than being able to provide a progressive pathway for athletes to refine the technique all the way up to developing the ability to perform in high pressure and high stress situations. As much as the Phases of Shooting is about providing a step by step build-up to shooting success, it is also a blueprint to breakdown and rebuild a shooting technique if the player suddenly finds they are no longer able to shooting with confidence or are in a shooting slump.


Form Shooting is the first stage in the Phases of Shooting. As the name indicates this is about the players form and technique. At this stage coaches should be focusing on the finer technical skills. No technical aspect is too small to address in this phase. Most coaches would have heard of Vince Lombardi’s great quote “perfect practice makes perfect” and in Form Shooting everything needs to be perfect. As an example to start with when practicing with your players start with one handed shooting to help correct significant shooting mechanics, and then once this is completed with an average degree of competence progress onto including both hands in the shooting technique.


The shooting range for this phase should be no greater then around the keyway.


The second phase is Set Shooting. This is where the player performs the complete shooting mechanics as one movement. At this phase only two handed shooting is utilised and initially no jump is to be include into the technique. This should be performed below full pace to once again focus on the performance of the skill. However, the progression in this phase is focused around linking more of the shooting movements together to feature the full shooting technique. Once an average level of competence is achieved players can then move onto performing a jump-shot.


Again this is in a very controlled situation where the focus is on technique. The shooting range within this phase can be extended out to the three-point line.


The next Phase in Shooting is Practice Paced Shooting. At this junction of the Phases of Shooting the focus has now moved more to speeding up the shot pace. The shot speed here should be progressed from the sterile situation described for Set Shooting to now meeting the needs of shooting within practice. At the end of this stage players should be shooting as quickly as possible. This phase is probably the most challenging of all, it is suggested that each training session should have a specific focus for the team. Focusing on too much will only result frustration.


In the Practice Paced Shooting phase dribbling should be included as part of linking skills. Also develop a wider range of technical options for use by the player from a two footed jump shot, to including a stride stop as part of the shooting skill advancement.


Competitive Shooting is where defenders are now added to the equation. This can be done within drills or game situations. In this stage coaches should be very aware of creating situations where their players are weakest, so these areas can gradually be changed into strengths. This is true where you require a specific shooting performance from certain playing positions within your overall offensive system.


It is important that the defence works hard in these situations to help the offense’s develop. It seems obvious, but the better the defence in these situations the better and more quickly the offense in regards to shooting will be come. The defence should also be encouraged to carry hands and contest shots where this fits within the team’s defensive allowances. In essence, we what the offense to be shooting over defensive hands in all situations.


The final phase is Game Shooting. This is where the performance of the athlete is analysed in games. Being able to perform in game situations is the ultimate goal. In this phase coaches should be looking to examine the individual performance of athletes within games. Reviewing player’s performance during games as well as after in post-game debriefings. Giving feedback on the shot performance and selection when the intensity and pressure is at its greatest is vital for the final stage of development. If possible collecting and cutting game tape should be incorporated into this stage of development to maximise the level of understanding by the athlete on what is needed to be changed.


In all levels coaches are encouraged to seek out others to help their team’s development within the Phases of Shooting. Because of the importance of this skill there will never be enough time to refine every player’s technique to make this their best performed technical aspect. Use the Phases of Shooting and the help you can obtain from third parties to breakdown and build up the technique of individuals to help with their progress.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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