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PostPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 10:33 

Posts: 18
Location: Sparta TN
My 7th and 8th grade boys team is in a MAJOR shoting slump as of late. We are missing open shots, so getting a good look is not the problem. Our layups are good, it's just our 2 and 3 point shots. We have done more shooting drills than we know what to do with in practice, and even contested in practice they shoot much better. Shooting form is good, it's really just game time shooting slump. I've tried the keep calm and have fun approach, I've tried the push hard and make things happen, I've even tried the "if you don't shoot better we are going to run until something happens!" technique. (Which I didn't want to do because I know it's just a mental thing they are going through.) I've subbed entire teams in to get a better shot and it's as if all of them are in this slump. We have the talent to be a team that scores 60 points a game easy but on average here lately we are only shooting 25% from the floor. I just need some advice on what I can do as a coach to help them get out of this slump. Thank you.

PostPosted: 29 Nov 2017, 15:21 
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Posts: 1280
Hey Coach. Good and challenging question. It could be so many things. And most likely a combination of things. Here are a few to consider...

- Are players taking good shots? Are they on balance and in rhythm? Or are they rushing?

- Is this just game slippage? 25% shooting for that age isn't great but it's not terrible either. They are pretty young. I've never seen a team that consistently shoots in games as good as practice. There always seems to be slippage.

- Is is confidence? Something like this can help:

- Do you need to stop talking, thinking, and worrying about their shooting? If you are frustrated kids will pick up on that and leads to more pressure and poor shooting. It sounds to me like they are thinking too much and that often leads to bad shooting.

- Based on the description it sounds like there's at least some mental aspects going on here. Putting pressure on players can have a really negative effective when it comes to shooting and sometimes performance in other areas as well.

I never talk about making shots to my players. Never. I do talk about "what is a good shot" (aka shot selection) and "teamwork". I even tell my players on many occasions that I don't care if you miss a shot, miss a lay up, shoot over the backboard, dribble off your foot, etc. None of that bothers me at all. I know you didn't miss a shot intentionally. I know you're trying to make it. All I care about is effort and teamwork. If you are in defensive stance, sprinting in transition, communicating, etc... then that is lack of effort. And we have a problem.

I only coach things that require effort. So there is zero pressure from me for our players to make shots. My actions and words every day in practice show my players that effort is paramount and mistakes do not bother me. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and we encourage a mindset of learning where mistakes are ok.

Sometimes I see a player miss an easy shot or lay up, and I hear a parent or another coach yell "COMON FINISH THE SHOT!!!" I think to myself, how is that helping the player? Did they think the player is trying to miss the shot? Telling them to make the shot gives them no instruction to improve and only puts more pressure on them, which can lead to more missed shots.

Here's a good article about some of the mental aspects:

Those are just thoughts that come to mind. I don't know if any of it applies to you or helps.

If you have other questions or thoughts let us know.

Jeff Haefner

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