Shooting Drills for Players and Coaches

Here are some of the best shooting drills for players and coaches to use in workouts and practices.

Here is an outline of the content and shooting drills. (More will be added soon.)

  • Dynamic Form - Shooting Drills For Better Balance, Rhythm, and Shooting Range
  • Vital Shooting Data - NBA Analytics to Develop the Best Shooting Drills
  • Game-Like Cuts - Shooting Drills Modeled Off of the Most Effective Shots
  • 1v1 and 1v2 - Shooting Drills Vs. Defenders That Develop Your Dribbling & Basketball Moves

5 Dynamic Form Shooting Drills - For Better Shooting Range, Rhythm, Coordination, and Balance


As you know, excessive upper torso twists and excessive fading during the shooting motion can damage your shooting percentage.

One of the keys to great shooting is...

The ability to transition to a stable, balanced position as quickly as possible! Your ability to reduce excessive twists and fading prior to shooting the ball results in a higher shooting percentage.

Coach Chris Oliver has a unique form shooting routine that is perfect for this. It improves your shooting through better balance and stability!

During practices and pre-game preparation, you will notice that players like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Dirk Nowitzki use many of the same drills.

These players are tremendously skilled at transitioning from unstable positions to a stable position at the end of their shooting motion. These drills are a big reason why!

These drills and exercises also improve your strength and power throughout your entire body or kinetic chain. This better strength, power, balance, and stability leads to... higher & quicker jumping, faster running, quicker changes of direction, better playing through contact, and so on!

Here are 5 of the 15 dynamic form shooting drills that Coach Chris Oliver uses.

Dynamic Form Shooting Drill #1 - One-Foot Reaches

To perform a one-foot reach, balance on one foot while extending the ball forward with both hands. Keep the back leg straight in line with your back and with the back toe pointed down.

After reaching forward, return to an upright position in Position 2 while continuing to balance on one foot. Finish the shot by releasing the ball from Position 3.

Advantages of the One-Foot Reach

  • Practices lifting the ball from Position 2 to Position 3

  • Improves shoulder extension and high follow-through

  • Increases core stability to improve balance at the top of the shot

Dynamic Form Shooting Drill #2 - One-Foot Squats

The difference between the squat and the reach is where to position the body relative to your center of gravity. Both drills are as much about balance and stability as they are about shooting. In this case, we are targeting the ankle specifically to improve strength, balance, and stability.

When using the one-foot squat you should bend at the butt - meaning your hips will lower toward the ground as your knee bends. When performing the reach - your hips stay in the same plane as you reach forward with the ball while extending your back foot. Your hips will remain at a consistent distance from the floor during the reach, but will lower toward the ground during the squat.

This movement improves stabilization of the core, the lifting of the ball from Position 2 to Position 3, and the high follow through as you sign your shot.

Dynamic Form Shooting Drill #3 - Touch the Ball to the Ground

In this drill, we transition to using both hands, and shoot off of two feet. This form shooting drill works on the concept of bending and extending to flow into your regular shot with no pause during the movement.

The initial movement is similar to a baseball catcher dropping into a stance. Lower the ball to touch the ground between your feet then rise up in one motion into your normal shot. You can leave your feet to shoot, and should shoot your regular shot.

We demonstrate these shots from close to the basket, but with our players at Windsor we progress all the way out to the 3-point line.

Again, the squat requires bending at the butt so that the hips lower toward the ground. We want to avoid bending at the waist. The head should not get outside of your center of gravity. Bending at the back often leads to a push shot rather than lifting the ball from Position 1 to Position 2 to Position 3.

This drill is particularly useful for players that have a tendency to fall forward, to the side, or backward after they shoot. The movement in this drill focuses on rising with balance and going straight up and straight down with their shot. This works if you flow from your largest muscles to the smallest muscles as you lift the ball from the ground to your release.

Dynamic Form Shooting Drill #4 - One-Foot Jumps

One-Foot Side Jumps - This movement begins with a lateral jump from one foot to the other. The shooter lands by balancing on the plant foot to create stability. This also develops core stabilization as the ball is transferred from Position 1 to Position 2 to Position 3.

Another advantage of the One-Foot Side Jump is that players must fight for their feet prior to the shot. This movement works on the action-reaction of getting your feet to the ground so that you can quickly get into your shot.

Random One-Foot Jumps - Once players become comfortable with One-Foot Side Jumps we want to make their movements more random by adding different jumps in different directions such as

  • Forward to Back
  • Side to Middle
  • Back to Front

Players are not limited to right angles. In fact, we encourage them to use many different angles to increase the variability in their workouts.

This is like a plyometric workout in that it is similar to jump training. As quickly as the landing leg finds the ground we want to push back to a different spot on the floor. This simulates moving in a basketball game without the ball prior to catching and shooting a shot.

One of our key teaching points is that "You don't shoot quickly, you prepare to shoot quickly." The process of using the plyometric step and jumping back to the spot should be done as quickly as possible. However, you should not rush the natural rhythm of your shot as you progress from Position 2 to Position 3. That rhythm should remain natural and flow the same every time so that every shot is consistent.

Dynamic Form Shooting Drill #5 - 360 Degree Dance Step

To execute this maneuver, pivot all the way around in a full 360 while balancing on one foot. Upon returning to a square position with the rim, drive the swing foot to the ground to regain stabilization. This works on fighting for your feet out of an exaggerated pivot action.

This builds on the concept that your feet are the first thing that matters when it comes to shooting. It's important to focus on getting your feet set on the ground prior to shooting. That doesn't necessarily mean that your feet have to be squared to the backboard, it simply means that balance must be produced in the action-reaction of getting your feet to the ground.

Dynamic Form Shooting with BDT

A final layer that can be added to form shooting workouts is to incorporate the signals from BDT. This requires you to work on footwork, shooting, and decision-making in response to your partner's decision cues.

In our initial example, we utilize just two signals:

  • Hands Up > Pass
  • Hands Down > Shoot

These are just a few of the form shooting progressions that Coach Oliver uses. You can find 15 form shooting drills in his development videos on Basketball Decision Training.



Important NBA Shooting Data That Will Change the Way You Practice!

You absolutely must read this section before practicing more shooting drills. Why?

Without changing your form or even practicing one more second... this can dramatically improve your shooting percentage!

If you want to become a great shooter, you must practice shooting drills that...

Happens Most During Games

This might seem like a no-brainer. But if you dive into the analytics, some things might surprise you.

According to NBA.com, during the 2018-19 season, here is how many dribbles were taken after the player catches the ball prior to shooting.

0 Dribbles - 44.1% of shots
1 Dribble - 13.1% of shots
2 Dribbles - 12.1% of shots
3 Dribbles - 4.9% of shots *
4 Dribbles - 4.9% of shots *
5 Dribbles - 4.9% of shots *
6 Dribbles - 4.9% of shots *
Rest - 11.1% of shots

* Note: For 3 to 6 dribbles, we couldn't get an exact percentage. The stats were lumped together in one category. The total came to 19.4%. Hence, the 4.9% (rounded) for each amount of dribbles.

70% of your shots come with two or fewer dribbles.

It also appears that you should spend almost half of your time on situations where you immediately shoot off the catch and don't even dribble the ball!

And here's another interesting layer to this approach...

Focus on What Works... Like High Percentage Shots!

Here are some additional analytics from NBA.com for the 2018-19 season.

This is how many points they scored per shot based on the number of dribbles they took.

0 Dribbles - 1.16 Points Per Shot
1 Dribble - 1.02 Points Per Shot
2 Dribbles - 0.95 Points Per Shot
3-6 Dribbles - 0.94 Points Per Shot
7+ Dribbles - 0.93 Points Per Shot

Think about that...

Not only do shots with fewer dribbles (about 2 or less) tend to happen more often during games...

They are also more effective!

But you also need to make sure to read this next section...

Otherwise, you might actually shoot worse!

A Vital Mental Approach for Games so Your Smart Practice Doesn't Go to Waste!

Does this mean you should shoot more off the catch even if it's contested!?

Unless you're within six feet of the basket... Absolutely not! That was a big misconception with the data above.

Look at the following chart quick based on NBA data then read below...

Based on the data above, here's what we think you should do...

Shoot the Ball When You're Open!

If you can make the shot consistently and you're open, shoot it! That's what Don Kelbick told me over a decade ago...

Then Don told me, "You are most open when you first catch the ball."

That's definitely why you see a high percentage of shots being taken with no dribbles. And they also have the highest points per shot.

Of course, you still need to keep time and score in mind. You don't want to launch up a shot when you're up 3 points with 7 seconds left.

(On a side note, when Don first presented these Attack & Counter concepts in our newsletter over a decade ago, a lot of coaches blasted us with criticism. It's slowly waned over time. And the criticism took a deep dive when Jay Wright of Villanova, who recently won a few national championships, said the same thing a year or two ago.)

However, focus on the key phrase there... "You're open"

Just because shooting off the catch delivers the higher point per shot, it doesn't mean you should force a shot up.

As the analytics show above... open shots are way more efficient than contested shots!

So it's better to take two dribbles to shoot an open shot versus shooting off the catch with a defender in your face.

With that being said, you also need to take a look at this next graphic that summarizes the data above.

It could drastically change your offensive approach if you're not open off the catch...

Look at that... Even shots that are heavily contested within 5 or 6 feet of the basket are still on par with wide open 3-point shots!

So that's why I'm a big believer in Don Kelbick's next concept...

If You're Not Open off the Catch, "Think Lay Up!"

As stated above...

When you first catch the ball, you're the most open. Hence, players taking this shot the most and also shooting with the most efficiency.

However, if you're not open, you should have an attack mentality and try to get to the basket.

As you get closer to the basket, you shoot a higher percentage.

As you can see, even heavily contested lay ups are still some of the most efficient shots in basketball!

Not to mention, defenses tend to foul more if you attack the basket. This leads to...

  • More free throws which are highly efficient. Even a poor free throw shooter at 55% still equates to a solid 1.1 points per shot!
  • The defense becoming more hesitant.
  • Your opponent's best players sitting on the bench and not playing.
  • If you enter the foul bonus, your efficiency at the end of games go up and you get more wins. That's because you're shooting more free throws than your opponent.

Now, of course, you don't want to blindly charge into a group of defenders sitting in the lane.

Then your points per shot will dramatically lower.

And...

Your turnovers and offensive fouls dramatically rise!

That's why you need to...

Have a third progression.

The Forbidden Third Shooting Progression!

So if you're not open off the catch.

And the defense makes it difficult to reach the basket...

A pull jump shot off the dribble is a great counter.

And this greatly simplifies your mental approach to the game! It's super simple and highly effective!

Now why did I call this the "Forbidden Third Shooting Progression"?

The mid range jump shot has gotten a bad rap over the last decade. Many coaches don't even want their players shooting it during games.

That's because the analytics above show that even open mid range jump shots aren't highly efficient.

You could make a legit argument that you shouldn't take shots from 16 feet to the 3-point line.

Now, that's another whole debate we don't want to address right now.

Even with that being said, we still highly advise you practice this third progression. Even the naysayers would have to agree...

1 - When you "Think Lay Up", you're naturally going to cover distance with your first dribble. This will put you in the range of 16 feet and closer where the points per shot trend higher.

And if you're not open, pass the ball!

2 - If the shot clock or game clock is winding down, the mid range shot off the dribble might be your best option for a shot.

Now should you practice the mid range jump shot off the catch?

Absolutely!

Here's why...

1 - You might not be ready to shoot 3-pointers yet. And shooting the mid range jump shot is the next progression as you extend your shooting range.

2 - Your points per shot from mid range might be really high! Each player is different and this might be a high quality shot for you.

That would be ludicrous to tell you to stop shooting this shot during games if you're highly efficient.

3 - As the initial data pointed out, with all things being equal, you tend to shoot better off the catch than shooting off the dribble.

0 Dribbles - 1.16 Points Per Shot
1 Dribble - 1.02 Points Per Shot
2 Dribbles - 0.95 Points Per Shot
3-6 Dribbles - 0.94 Points Per Shot
7+ Dribbles - 0.93 Points Per Shot

So if you're open, maybe the mid range shot off the catch is still a great shot for you.

So to Review the Mental Approach During Games Here...

1 - Think shot off the catch. If you're open, shoot it!

2 - If you're not open, think lay up!

3 - If the defense collapses, pull up for a jump shot!

This will lead to a higher shooting percentage. And possibly more importantly, it greatly simplifies your mental approach to the game!



Shooting Drills with Game-Like Cuts

When you have...

You're ready for the shooting drills to practice!

During Shooting Drills, You Must Do This Before Your Shot!

This might seem obvious to some, but it's very important...

Some sort of game-like cut, leads to many shooting opportunities that you get during the game.

And most of your shooting drills should include a game-like cut prior to shooting.

Now, what is a game-like cut?

To greatly simplify, your cuts can be...

  • Towards the ball or away from the ball
  • Towards the basket or away from the basket
  • And some sort of combination of the two above.

If there are specific cuts that occur quite often within your offense, practice those as well. We highly advise that you ask your coaches too!

We have some examples below...

Down Screen - Curl Cut

The cut is towards the ball and slightly away from the basket.

Away Screen - Straight Cut

The cut is towards the ball.

Flare Screen - Fade Cut

The cut is away from the ball.

Corner Pin Screen - Straight Cut

The cut is away from the basket and slightly away from the ball.

Flash Cut

This is a cut away from the basket and towards the ball.

V Cut

This is a cut away from the basket and towards the ball.

Zippen Screen

This is a cut away from the basket and slightly away from the ball.

L-Cut

This is a cut away from the basket and away from the ball.

Post Down Screen

This is a cut towards the ball and away from the basket.

Back Cut

This is a cut towards the basket and away from the ball.

Of course, there are many more cuts and examples of this. This was just meant to get you an idea of the possibilities.

Also, make sure to still practice catch and shoot situations where you move very little!

There are times during games where you just stay in your spot, receive a pass, and shoot. Sometimes, the best option is to stay still.

This might happen when a teammate posts up or dribble penetrates. It can happen on a quick ball reversal.

How To Combine Analytics & Your Game-Like Shooting Drills To Shoot Lights Out!

Here is an easy way to structure your drills after considering the analytics and mental approach mentioned above.

This is a template that you can use...

  • Game-Like Cut > Shot
  • Game-Like Cut > Triple Threat Move > 1 Dribble > Finishing Move
  • Game-Like Cut > Triple Threat Move > 1 Dribble > Pull Up Jump Shot
  • Game-Like Cut > Triple Threat Move > 2 Dribbles (Dribble Move) > Finishing Move
  • Game-Like Cut > Triple Threat Move > 2 Dribbles (Dribble Move) > Pull Up Jump Shot

Many youth and high school players would do great just by focusing on the first three progressions for 80% of their shots!

We took this exact approach with a player named Kyle Wolf who later became the 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri.

Not too bad, considering he was sandwiched between the other winners of Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, and Michael Porter Jr.

This is a great video that quickly covers each of the five progressions. We cover each progression in more detail below.

Do not dismiss these drills because they look simple!

These are very important progressions that the top NBA players in the world practice every day.

As Michael Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover said,

    "Great players aren't great because of the highlight plays that happen. They're great because they do the basics better than anybody else. And they work harder at the basic skills than anybody else. They become extraordinarily skilled at the ordinary things."

You must have the mentality that you're going to become the best at the simple things. And this is REALLY HARD to do! It's not easy. Very few players ever do this.

And if you focus on mastering the simple skills, I guarantee that you will take your game to another level.

Game-Like Cut Drill #1: Corner to Wing > Shot

This covers one of the most common cuts in basketball... a perimeter cut to the ball. While it may start or originate slightly different, many shots originate with a cut towards the basketball.

Like we mentioned above, you want to practice what happens most in the game of basketball! And then become really good at it. And this is one of those things.

Drill Instructions:

Starting from the corner, you cut to the wing.

You turn as quickly as possible to face the basket. Ideally, you get into this position as you catch or grab the ball.

For footwork, you can use a hop or front pivot.

Then you immediately shoot the ball off the catch.

You get the rebound then immediately start your next repetition.

Training Tips:

  • Set up your cut

    Practice different ways to set up your cut. Pretend that a defender is guarding you. You want to practice creating separation from the defender prior to cutting to the wing. If you can't create separation, you won't get nearly as many shots.

  • Ball in the air, feet in the air

    Prior to catching or grabbing the ball, you already want to be transitioning to face the basket. Some coaches like to teach that your feet should be in the air prior to catching the ball. That way, you can stick your feet and start your shot motion at the exact same time.

Game-Like Cut Drill #2: Corner to Wing > 1 Dribble > Finishing Move

This drill is a great counter for when the defender takes away your shot off the catch. Like mentioned before, your mentality should be to get to the rim.

As analytics already pointed out, if you can shoot off the catch and finish off the bounce effectively, you will be a very good player.

Drill Instructions:

Starting from the corner, you cut to the wing and catch the ball.

You turn and face the basket off the catch. You're ready to shoot.

Next, you take one dribble and shoot a lay up.

You get the rebound then immediately start your next repetition.

You can also alternate finishing moves on each lay up.

Training Tips:

  • Prepare to shoot off catch - Eyes on the rim

    Your mentality is that you're going to shoot the ball off the catch. Footwork and preparation is all of the same.

    You turn, get your eyes on the rim, and the ball ready to shoot. Then you attack off the dribble.

    If you don't go full speed and pretend you're going to shoot, a couple of things can happen.

    1 - Go too slow and don't put the defender at a disadvantage. They don't have to close out as fast to stop you from shooting.

    2 - Since your preparation is different, a good defender can read that you're going to drive. Now, it's harder to create separation off the dribble and get to the rim.

  • Limit excessive shot fakes

    You want to be ready to shoot. You want to get the ball in your shot pocket. However, we don't encourage big shot fakes where the ball goes above your head. We think this slows you down too much and allows the on ball defender and help defense to recover.

  • Think lay up

    Once you start to attack, your next mentality is to think lay up. This puts you in the mentality to attack the rim. As a result, your body gets in an ideal position to explode towards the basket.

  • Long and low - but not too long

    You want to imagine you're getting your shoulders by the defender's hips. That way, you're in a position to accelerate by the defender. However, you don't want to get too long. Overstriding can cause you to lose balance and slow down.

  • Straight line

    You want to attack the basket in a straight line. This helps you get to the basket quicker.

    Additionally, you want to get the defender on your back as quickly as possible. This makes it more difficult for them to recover and contest the shot.

Game-Like Cut Drill #3: Corner to Wing > 1 Dribble > Jump Shot

Like mentioned above, the third counter is to pull up for a jump shot off the dribble. If you can make this shot at a high percentage, it will make you extremely difficult to guard.

Drill Instructions:

Starting from the corner, you cut to the wing and catch the ball.

You pretend that you're going to shoot it.

Next, you take one dribble and attack the rim.

However, this time you pull up for a jump shot after one dribble.

You get the rebound then immediately start your next repetition.

Training Tips:

  • Still think lay up - Cover distance

    Even though you pull up for a jump shot, you still need to think lay up. If you don't, you won't cover as much distance with the dribble. In order for this shot to be effective, you need to create separation from the defense.

    And the closer you get to the basket, the higher your shooting percentage typically is.

  • Bring ball to shot pocket

    As you pick up the ball, make sure to bring the ball to your shot pocket as quickly as possible. This helps you shoot quicker.

    It also helps you have a direct line in your shooting motion which will lead to fewer misses to the left and right. And that means more made shots.

Game-Like Cut Drill #4: Corner to Wing > Dribble Move > Finishing Move

When attacking the basket, sometimes the defense cuts you off. This can be a recovering on-ball defender or it can be the help defense. Either way, it's great to have a dribble move to change directions and blow by the defense.

Drill Instructions:

Starting from the corner, you cut to the wing and catch the ball.

You pretend that you're going to shoot it.

Next, you take one dribble, execute a dribble move, then attack the rim.

You get the rebound then immediately start your next repetition.

Training Tips:

  • Think shot and Think lay up!

    All of these moves are set up by pulling the defender with you and staying one step ahead.

    By thinking shot off the catch, it pulls the defender forward.

    By thinking lay up, it pulls the defender with you.

    And since they already closed out hard on the initial catch, they have to scramble even harder to recover and stop you off the dribble. This will make the defender lean even harder in that direction.

    And if they do recover, this is a prime time to cross them up with a dribble move.

  • Snap the dribble

    When you change directions, snap the dribble over. Even a defender leaning out of position can sometimes get a hand on the ball.

    Snapping the ball quick and hard makes it difficult for the defender to get a hand on the ball.

    Snapping the dribble also helps position your body quickly to go in the other direction.

  • Reposition feet

    As you snap the dribble, you can also do a quick repositioning of your feet to head in the new direction. It's like a hop with minimal jump. Just enough height to quickly reposition your feet and explode forward.

  • Explode after move

    After the change of direction dribble, explode in the new direction. Don't stay there and give the defender time to recover. Who cares if you cross them up if you didn't go anywhere!?

Game-Like Cut Drill #5: Corner to Wing > Dribble Move > Jump Shot

Now, you've crossed up the defender, but the help defense does a great job of protecting the basket.

Just like before, if help defense is sitting in the lane and you can't get to the rim, a pull up jump shot is a great counter after the dribble move.

Drill Instructions:

Starting from the corner, you cut to the wing and catch the ball.

You pretend that you're going to shoot it.

Next, you take one dribble, execute a dribble move, then pull up for a jump shot.

You get the rebound then immediately start your next repetition.

Training Tips:

  • Still think shot - think lay up - snap the dribble - and explode!

    The mentality is still the same! The only reason you don't drive to the basket is that defense is sitting there. You still need to think shot off the catch. You still need to think lay up off the initial dribble. You still need to snap the change of direction move and explode forward out of it. This is how you create the opening!

    If you do any of those things at half speed, you don't even create separation from the defender guarding you. This will make it much easier to contest your shot and lower your shooting percentage. And you may not even create enough separation from the initial defender to even attempt a shot.

Be Great at Simple! Amp Things Up and Always Strive to Improve!

To add on what we mentioned previously, here are some specifics to what we mean...

First, with your shooting drills, work on mastering the footwork, executing the move properly, and the ability to make the shot.

After that, pick one specific aspect and amp it up! You should always pick a tiny detail to improve.

Once you master that new detail, pick a new one or try to do the current skill even better and faster.

Here are some things to think about...

Can you sprint faster into your shot? That way, you can create more separation from the defender which creates more open shots for you.

Can you become more elusive? Can you get better at getting the defender to lean the opposite way of the direction you're heading? (Hint: Tag is a great game for this.)

Can you transition into your shot quicker? When you pivot or hop, can you do this so quickly that once the ball slightly touches your hands, you're already up and into your shot?

When shooting off the dribble, can you explode out of triple threat faster? Can you create more separation from the defense?

Can you lengthen the distance you cover on your first dribble? Can you go farther and faster?

Can you pick the ball up faster, so you can shoot quicker off the dribble?

When changing directions on the dribble, can you sell the move harder? Can you lean harder in the opposite direction? Can you give a better head fake?

Can you snap the ball quicker on the change of direction dribble?

Can you accelerate quicker on your first step after the change of direction dribble?

Can you get to the basket quicker? Did you master the second and third steps?

Can you accelerate to the basket with better power and balance, so you can finish through defenders?

It doesn't matter how you good you are. It doesn't matter if you're the best player in the world. You can improve at all of these things!

My Personal Experience With Players Becoming Great at Simple Things! The Loyola Chicago Final Four Team and a Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year!

As a coach, I've been lucky to be around some great players and tremendous overachievers.

For one season in high school, I coached Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson.

Both were members of the Loyola Chicago Final Four team in 2018. That year, Clayton was MVP of the MVC conference. Ben was defensive player of the year. Both are now professional basketball players.

I learned more from them than they learned from me. Here's some important lessons about focusing on the simple stuff and attacking each drill like your life depends on it!

You can read more about this below...

The REAL Secrets To Loyola Chicago's Success! (Not What You Think)

As mentioned above, I also worked with a second player named Kyle Wolf. I worked with him for multiple offseasons and he developed into the 2013 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year.

We took a very simplified process and focused on the exact drills above. We spent most of our workout sessions on them.

And like mentioned above, we focused on getting better at the little details. We didn't worry about doing circus drills that you find on social media. You can read more below...

How To Develop A Gatorade Player of the Year & Increase Your Shooting Percentage By 720% In One Season!

If you want to be a lights out shooter, we'll be adding more in-depth content and shooting drills to this page!

So be sure to sign up for our newsletter. That way, you will get instant access and won't miss it!



The Best 1v1 and 1v2 Shooting Drills Against Defense

All of your shots in games are against a defense. So it's vital that you practice this way!

Each and every shot includes a decision. And if you want your shooting practice to translate to better shooting during games, you need to shoot and make decisions against live defenders.

And for individual offensive improvement, 1v1 and 1v2 shooting drills are some of the best ways to accomplish this. They simulate the random, chaotic environment that you face during games.

This also gets you a high number of reps when it comes to integrating decision making with your shooting, footwork, ball handling, finishing, and basketball moves!

The first section shows you a genius method for progressing through 1v1 and 1v2 shooting drills.

After that, we'll show you some additional 1v1 drills that you can use. And how you can even create your own drills that are best for your situation!

4 Genius Progressions for Shooting Drills Against Defense!

In Sanderson's Game-Based Training System for 2-4 Player Drills, the two-time state champion coach Nate Sanderson shows you how to progress through 1v1 and 1v2 drills.

He shows you how to easily adjust the difficulty to appropriately challenge all players... From beginners to pros.

I think you will find that the simplicity of it and the logic behind these progressions are genius!

Progression 1 - 1v1 with disadvantaged defender.

This is a great progression for players who are just getting comfortable with new skills.

Basically, this means that the on-ball defender starts at a disadvantage. Below, we show you some easy ways to accomplish this.

Progression 2 - 1v1 Live

In this progression, the offense and defense play live. There is no initial advantage to the defense or offense.

Progression 3 - 1v2 with disadvantaged on-ball defender

Like progression 1, the initial on-ball defender starts at a disadvantage. However, a help defender has been added to the drill to make finishing at the basket more difficult.

Progression 4 - 1v2 Live

Now, the offensive player is playing live against the on-ball defender and the help defender. There is no initial disadvantage for the offense or defense.

1v1 Shooting Drill With Disadvantage - Fill Up & Read

This series is also a great complement to the game-like shooting drills above. That way, you can see how you might progress and use 1v1 drills that fit into some of your other shooting drills.

This drill simulates running to the passer then looking to score off the catch. This fill cut is one of the most common actions in basketball whether it's off of a screen or not. So it's vital you get deadly at attacking in this situation.

The first progression uses a disadvantaged defender when cutting to the ball.

Drill Instructions:

X1 starts in the corner seated in a chair. This is the disadvantage for the defender.

1 is the offensive player and starts in the corner.

1 cuts and fills to the wing to receive a pass.

X1 becomes live as soon as the offense starts their cut to the wing.


Training Tips:

  • Shoot when defender is down - Think shot!

    If the defender is giving you space to shoot, shoot it. That's why you need to think shot immediately off the catch.

  • Defender is tight - Attack!

    If the defender takes away your shot, attack!

  • Adjust distance of shot to fit your skill level

    If you can't make 3-point shots consistently without a defender, you're probably not ready to do this against a defense. You can easily adjust this drill to catch from 12 feet, 15 feet, or 18 feet.

  • If you have good shooting range, you can also push it back a few feet beyond the 3-point line.

  • Progress when easy

    If you find yourself scoring 6 or 7 times out of 10 tries, it's probably time to progress to more difficult drills.


1v1 Live Shooting Drill - Fill Up & Attack

This is very similar to the progression above except you play live from the beginning. The offense does not start with an advantage this time.

You are practicing a game-like situation where you attack the close out on the wing.

Drill Instructions:

1 is the offensive player and starts in the corner.

X1 is the defensive player and is in proper helpside position.

1 cuts and fills to the wing to receive a pass.

X1 moves into proper defensive position and closes out on the catch.

Then the play is live.


Training Tips:

  • Adapt constraints to your offense or skills you need to focus on

    You might limit dribbles. This can help you be more effective with your drives to the basket. You might limit dribbles to two or three in this drill.

  • Another effective tool is a shot clock if you have access or enough players to use a timer.

    When you drive, you might only allow middle drives or baseline drives.

    If a player does not attack in a relatively straight line, you might have an automatic turnover. So in this drill, maybe all middle drives have to be inside the elbow.

    There are certainly more ideas you can implement to create good habits on the basketball court. These are just a few to get you started

  • Cut backdoor

    If the defender is cheating towards the ball on the catch, you can allow backdoor cuts to make the defense play honest.


1v2 Shooting Drill with Disadvantage - Fill Up & Attack

This is a great progression for learning how to attack the helpside defense. This improves your ability to pull up for a shot in the lane or finish over a helpside defender.

Drill Instructions:

X1 starts in the corner seated in a chair and is the on ball defender. This is the disadvantage for the defender. X2 is in proper helpside defense position.

1 is the offensive player and starts in the corner.

1 cuts and fills to the wing to receive a pass.

X1 becomes live as soon as the offense starts their cut to the wing. X2 repositions to proper helpside position based on the pass.

1 attacks off the dribble and looks to score.


Training Tips:

  • No jump shots off the catch

    Since the purpose is to get better at scoring over the helpside defense, you are not allowed to shoot off the catch in this progression.

  • Attack mentality

    Even though you are competing against two defenders, you still need to have the attack mentality. You may make more mistakes at first and that's okay. With repetitions, you will get better.


1v2 Live Shooting Drill - Fill Up & Attack

Here is an advanced progression. Not only do you have to beat the initial defender, you also have to beat the helpside defense! This is very game-like and a great drill for improving your individual offense skills.

Drill Instructions:

1 is the offensive player and starts in the corner.

X1 is the defensive player and is in proper helpside position. X2 is in proper helpside position.

1 cuts and fills to the wing to receive a pass.

X1 moves into proper defensive position and closes out on the catch. X2 repositions to proper helpside position based on the pass.

1 can shoot off the catch or dribble drive attack. It's 1v2 live.


Training Tips:

  • Variation: No jump shots off the catch

    Like the previous progression, you can also disallow shots off the catch. However, this is even harder than the progression before. This is great for improving your ability to beat the defender off the dribble and score over helpside defense.


How to Easily Create Hundreds of Your Own 1v1 and 1v2 Drills

Now that you know how to progress through 1v1 and 1v2 drills, you can create your own drills.

You just use the same approach in the section above for shooting drills with game-like cuts.

You pick a common cut or a common cut from your offense. Make sure to talk to your coach about this as well! They will have a really good idea of what happens most during the games for you.

Like mentioned before, you could simplify your approach and make sure to rotate drills that include a cut...

  • Towards the ball or away from the ball.
  • Towards the basket or away from the basket.

By breaking things up this way, you master the required footwork to get open.

For beginners, you might start with towards the ball and towards the basket. Those tend to be very common and also easier to master.

Here are some other examples of 1v1 drills that you can use these same progressions for.

1v1 Shooting Drill with Cut Towards Ball - Fill Cut

This is a 1v1 drill that replicates a fill cut. This is a cut towards the ball.

1v1 Shooting Drill with Cut Away From Ball - Fade Cut

This is a 1v1 drill that replicates a fade cut. This is a cut away from the ball.

1v1 Shooting Drill with Cut Towards Basket - Fast Break

This is a 1v1 drill that replicates a fast break. This is a cut towards the basket.

1v1 Shooting Drill with Cut Away From Basket - Zipper Cut

This is a 1v1 drill that replicates a zipper cut. This is a cut away from the basket.

Using Cones or Chairs for 1v1 Drills?

You can also structure 1v1 drills using cones or chairs like the diagrams above. This improves your first step speed and change of direction. So this adds an athletic development component to the drill as well.

Using cones or chairs for 1v1 drills can also be advantageous as it creates automatic variation in each repetition. The timing of the arriving defender should fluctuate.

You can also modify the distance of the cones to get different looks. This can be where the defenders arrive early or late. This helps you develop a skill set to score in different situations.

Also, if a player is faster than others, you can have them start a step or two back. If a player is slow, you can do the opposite. You can start them a little closer.



What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...




Comments

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Terry Cooper says:
8/7/2019 at 3:13:28 PM

Great information. I like your comments about the mid-range jump shot. I have always believed that a player should develop this shot.

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Spike C says:
8/7/2019 at 3:52:21 PM

Good stuff, as always. Thank you! I knew there was some Kelbick in here before I even saw his name. My son has greatly benefited from Don's instruction at your camps.

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Rudolph says:
8/11/2019 at 10:05:51 AM

Outstanding analysis - "The mid-range shot has taken a bad rap..." So true - games are won in the mid-range. My teams were coached to take at least 70 shots in the game. Using the percentages in the above analysis (plus an aggressive defense) means more wins.

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Jeff Means says:
8/11/2019 at 2:20:18 PM

As usual, great info from Breakthrough Basketball.


And in the spirit of stat-keeping---a stat I keep for my son's teams he's played on the past few years is what I call a "Shooter's Efficiency-Rating"; when 2-pt & 3-pt FG attempts and makes are tracked accurately, along with FT attempts and makes... you can insert a formula to ascertain what percentage of the teams' FGs a player attempts, compared to what their overall point-making total is. Dividing one percentage by the other creates the "Efficiency-Rating".

As an example, if a player has 101 of the team's 670 shot attempts in a season (15%) yet is making 20% of the team's points, then he/she has an "efficiency-rating" of 1.33---and IMO should be shooting the ball more! While on the flip-side, if a player is taking 20% of the team's shots (134 in our example) yet only scoring 15% of the team's points, he/she has an efficiency rating of 0.75 and should pass the ball more!

Being the leading scorer on a team doesn't necessarily mean that player is doing it efficiently. If a player shoots 3s well, and gets to the FT Line often (scoring points without logging a FG attempt) they should be recognized/rewarded for such an effort---this formula does that very thing.

I only wonder why ESPN doesn't track this stat (aka "is he/she really a ball-hog?" stat).

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wayne says:
8/13/2019 at 8:39:00 AM

Excellent data to support the most common sensical approach to the game.

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Josh Christopher says:
8/21/2019 at 10:45:35 AM

As usual, great info from Breakthrough Basketball.


And in the spirit of stat-keeping---a stat I keep for my son's teams he's played on the past few years is what I call a "Shooter's Efficiency-Rating"; when 2-pt & 3-pt FG attempts and makes are tracked accurately, along with FT attempts and makes... you can insert a formula to ascertain what percentage of the teams' FGs a player attempts, compared to what their overall point-making total is. Dividing one percentage by the other creates the "Efficiency-Rating".

As an example, if a player has 101 of the team's 670 shot attempts in a season (15%) yet is making 20% of the team's points, then he/she has an "efficiency-rating" of 1.33---and IMO should be shooting the ball more! While on the flip-side, if a player is taking 20% of the team's shots (134 in our example) yet only scoring 15% of the team's points, he/she has an efficiency rating of 0.75 and should pass the ball more!

Being the leading scorer on a team doesn't necessarily mean that player is doing it efficiently. If a player shoots 3s well, and gets to the FT Line often (scoring points without logging a FG attempt) they should be recognized/rewarded for such an effort---this formula does that very thing.

I only wonder why ESPN doesn't track this stat (aka "is he/she really a ball-hog?" stat).

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  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
8/29/2019 at 1:10:19 PM

Thanks for sharing this idea, Josh! This could be a great tool for helping coaches. We also like Danny Miles's Value Point System as it does something very similar.

I know that Larry Brown didn't mind if Allen Iverson took some "bad shots" which could have made him look like a ball hog according to the calculations above.

Since the had really good offensive rebounders, I think their offensive efficiency went up even when he took shots with two or three defenders on him. The idea is that he pulled the defenders away from the basket freeing up the 76ers's really good offensive rebounders. They did make it to the NBA Finals with that approach!

Of course, that is high level basketball with very advanced strategies. For your typical youth, high school, and even college teams, this could be a great stat.

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