Basketball Shooting Drills

This section aims to provide simple basketball drills and coaching that will teach players of all ages and abilities how to play basketball and develop game specific techniques. Simply click any of the links below for explanations, information and coaching videos.

Left to right shooting drill

The aim is to improve the set and jump shot technique. Player 1 starts under the basket in possession of the ball, and player 2 starts near the left corner of the key (left elbow). Player 2 runs to the opposite corner of the key (right elbow) and then receives a pass from player 1.

Basketball Shooting Drills

Player 2 must then get into a shooting position and release a shot. This drill is then repeated with player 2 going back across to the left, and releasing a shot from there. Roles can then be switched.

Progressions:

  • Move further from the basket
  • Introduce a ball fake, dribble, and then release a shot from inside the key.

Coaching Points

  • When performing the one-hand set shot it is vital the player keeps their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in. The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder.
  • The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point.
  • After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.
  • The jump shot is much the same as the one-hand set shot, except the player has to jump before releasing the ball, to get closer to the basket, or avoid an opposing player’s block.

Under Pressure basketball shooting drill

The aim is to improve the set shot and jump shot technique under pressure. Player 1 starts under the basket and player 2 starts near the corner of the court. Player 2 receives a pass from player 1 and must be in a position ready to shoot the ball.

After making the pass player 1 runs towards player 2 with a hand up in the air, in a blocking position. Player 2 shoots when ready and collects the rebound. Player 1 then moves to player 2’s original starting position, and the drill can be repeated with the roles reversed.

Progressions:

  • Player who is shooting moves to a new position
  • Move further from the basket

Coaching Points

  • When performing the one-hand set shot it is vital the player keeps their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in.
  • The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder.
  • The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point.
  • After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.
  • The jump shot is much the same as the one-hand set shot, except the player has to jump before releasing the ball, to get closer to the basket, or avoid an opposing player’s block.

Machine Gun Shoot Out

The aim is to improve the set shot and jump shot technique at speed. To start this drill player 1 stands underneath the basket, player 2 starts at the foul line, and player 3 stands between the key and the sideline. Both players 1 and 2 start with a ball.

Player 1’s job is to collect all rebounds and then pass the ball out to player 2. Player 2 has to pass the ball to player 3.
Player 3 has to shoot using either the one-hand set shot or the jump shot. Player 3 has 1 minute to score as many baskets as possible. Players can then rotate positions and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Player 3 moves to a new position
  • Player 3 moves from the starting position quickly to make space to receive the ball.
  • Move further from the basket

Coaching Points

  • When performing the one-hand set shot it is vital the player keeps their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in.
  • The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder.
  • The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point.
  • After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.
  • The jump shot is much the same as the one-hand set shot, except the player has to jump before releasing the ball, to get closer to the basket, or avoid an opposing player’s block.

Hook Shot Drill

The aim is to improve the hook shot technique. The player should use their right hand for the first shot. Start by facing the right sideline, standing underneath the basket. Hold the ball in the hook shot position, with the right hand, pivot around to the left, towards the basket, and shoot the hook shot.

Then catch the ball in two hands on the rebound, and face the left sideline, again underneath the basket. Place the ball in the left-hand pivot to the right, and shoot another hook shot, with the left hand this time. Continue this drill, alternating between right and left hands.

Progressions:

  • Increase speed of the drill
  • Add a dribble

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the ball is held in the hook shot position.
  • When attempting the hook shot have the shooting hand underneath the ball, and the non-shooting hand behind the ball, hold the ball at chest height and keep the knees slightly bent.
  • Step and pivot in towards the basket, extend the arm, flex the wrist and fingers and release the ball at the highest point.

Lay Up Rotation

The aim is to improve the lay-up technique, passing, and receiving. At least 3 players are required for this drill. Player 1 starts on one sideline and has the ball. Player 2 stands just outside of the key on the side nearest player 1, and player 3 stands just behind player 2, but inside the key.

Player 1 passes the ball to player 2, player 2 turns to face player 3, the static defender, then player 2 fakes a pass to the top of the key, dribbles past player 3, and attempts a layup. Players can then rotate positions and repeat the drill until they have all rotated a couple of times.

Progressions:

  • Repeat the drill with weaker arm
  • Increase speed of the drill
  • Allow defensive player to move.

Coaching Points

  • When attempting the layup make sure the non-shooting hand is under the ball, and the shooting hand is on top.
  • Keep the elbow in, lift shooting knee, and jump straight up off the other leg.
  • Extend arms, and release the ball at the highest point.

Roll, Retrieve and Shoot

The aim is to improve shooting technique, and recovering and converting loose balls. This drill starts with player 1 standing off the court in one corner, with the ball, and player 2 standing halfway up the court a couple of meters in from the sideline.

From the starting positions player 1 passes the ball to player 2, player 2 then rolls the ball up into the other half of the court, but on the same wing (side) of the court. As the ball is rolling player 1 must run up the outside of the court, and retrieve the rolling ball before it leaves the court. When player 1 collects the ball they set up and shoot the ball.

Player 1 must then keep moving to gather their own rebound, and both players move to the other side of the court.

This drill is then repeated on the opposite side of the court, except this time when player 1 collects the rolling ball they dribble towards the basket and attempt a layup. Players can then swap roles.

Progressions:

  • Repeat the drill with weaker arm
  • Increase speed of the drill

Coaching Points

  • When performing the one-hand set shot it is vital that the player keeps their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in.
  • The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder.
  • The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point.
  • After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.
  • The jump shot is much the same as the one-hand set shot, except the player has to jump before releasing the ball, to get closer to the basket, or avoid an opposing player’s block.
  • When attempting the layup make sure the non-shooting hand is under the ball, and the shooting hand is on top, keep the elbow in, lift shooting knee, and jump straight up off the other leg, extend arms, and release the ball at the highest point.

Here, There, and Everywhere

The aim is to improve shooting technique. 10 cones can be placed randomly between the 3 point line and the basket. A player starts at one of the cones and shoots for the basket using the one-hand set shot. When the player makes a shot they quickly move to another cone until shots have been made at all positions.

Progressions:

  • Repeat the drill with weaker arm
  • Use the jump shot

Coaching Points

  • When performing the one-hand set shot it is vital that the player keeps their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in.
  • The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder.
  • The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point.
  • After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.
  • The jump shot is much the same as the one-hand set shot, except the player has to jump before releasing the ball, to get closer to the basket, or avoid an opposing player’s block.

Lay Back and Relax

The aim is to improve shooting technique. A player starts by lying on their back on the floor, holding the ball above their shooting shoulder. Then the player shoots the ball into the air using the technique suggested below. Ideally, the ball should return straight back to their hands.

Progressions:

  • Shoot the ball higher
  • Players should use their weaker arm
  • Close their eyes

Coaching Points

  • When performing the one-hand set shot it is vital that the player keeps their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in.
  • The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder.
  • The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point.
  • After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.

Lay Up

The aim is to improve the lay-up technique. Jumping as high as possible when executing this shot would be beneficial.

Speed can create height, but this speed must also be controlled, with the last step before the lay-up being short and with the opposite foot to shooting hand.

A player’s knee should be dipped on takeoff, with their non-shooting hand under the ball, and shooting hand on top of the ball. Lift the shooting knee and the ball up, bringing the ball between the shoulder and ear.

On the jump extend the leg, back, shoulders, and elbow, and direct the wrist and fingers straight at the basket and release the ball at the highest point. Complete the follow through with the arm up and palm facing down, and hold until the ball has reached the basket.

Common Faults:

  • Losing Control on the Shot: This usually occurs if players take the non-shooting hand off the ball too soon. Concentrate on keeping the non-shooting hand on the ball until the release.
  •  Ball gets Blocked or Stolen: This usually occurs when the ball is swiveled to the side before release. Concentrate on lifting the ball straight up on each shot.
  • Using a Long Jump: This usually occurs when a long step is taken before jumping, propelling players forward instead of up. Concentrate on the target and keeping the head up, and make sure the step is short so the knee can be dipped, lift the opposite knee and the ball to the basket to create the upward movement.

Hook Shot

The aim is to improve the hook shot technique. Players start with their back to the basket, again in a sturdy stance, with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. To enable them to see the target they will need to look over their shoulder.

The hand position alters for this shot, as the shooting hand should be under the ball and the non-shooting hand behind and ever so slightly on top of the ball. The elbow of the shooting arm should be flexed and situated around the hip, with the ball in alignment with the shoulder.

Step away from the defender using the opposite foot, and hold the ball back and protect it with the head and shoulders. As players step, they must pivot towards the basket, lift their knee on the shooting side and jump off the pivot foot. Extend the elbow to shoot, and remember to flex the wrist and fingers, release the ball and follow through fully.

Common Faults:

  • Losing Control on the Shot: This usually occurs if players take the non-shooting hand off the ball too soon. Concentrate on keeping the non-shooting hand on the ball until the release.
  • Producing Sidespin: This usually occurs if the player’s hands start on the sides of the ball, or they release the ball off the ring finger. Concentrate on having the shooting hand under the ball and the non-shooting hand behind and slightly on top of the ball. Also releasing the ball off the index finger should help eliminate this error.
  •  Shot is Wide: If the right-handed shot misses to the right or vice versa, this usually means the arm comes across in front of the head on the follow-through. However, if it misses on the left when shooting with the right hand, or vice versa, the arm is more than likely going behind the head on the follow-through. These usually occur when the ball is held in the incorrect position. Concentrate on the position of the hands, and elbow.
  • Shot is Short or Long: The main cause of this is a shortened or differing elbow extension. Concentrate on extending the arm fully on each shot.

Jump shot

The aim is to improve the jump shot technique. This shot is very similar to the one-hand set shot in that it should start from a sturdy base with the player’s feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead, and knees bent.

The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in. Extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point. After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.

The two main differences are that the ball should be held higher, above a player’s line of vision to the basket. This means having the shooting forearm at a 90-degree angle to the floor, and the upper arm at least parallel to the floor if not higher.

The other difference is that players release the ball after jumping into the air, off both feet, extending everything from their ankles up to their shoulders. The height of the jump depends on the range of the shot. If a player is close to the basket and tightly marked they may need to use the full force of their legs to jump above their opponent and release the ball when they reach the highest point of the jump. However on a long-range attempt a player is likely to have more time, so here they do not need to out jump their opponent, and they should release the ball as they are still jumping.

Common Faults:

  • Long Shooting Stroke: If a player lowers the ball too far from its high starting position, this will lengthen the shooting stroke, which means more things can go wrong. Concentrate on keeping the ball high and using the legs for power and rhythm.
  • Moving in the Air: When players are jumping it is important they land in the same place they took off. If they move forward, backward, or to either side whilst in the air they will more often than not miss the shot. Concentrate on jumping up and landing on the same spot.

One-hand Set Shot

The aim is to improve the One-handed set shot technique. When players are performing the one-hand set shot it is vital they keep their eyes on the target, with feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.

The non-shooting hand should be under the ball and the shooting hand at the back of the ball, with the elbow, tucked in. The ball should be held between the ear and shoulder. The next phase would be to extend the legs, back, shoulders, and elbow, then flex the wrist, and fingers forwards and release the ball at the highest point. After release fingers should be pointed at the target, with the palm facing down.

Common Faults:

  • Shot Falls Short: This usually occurs because the legs are not being used in the upward extension motion that is needed to produce the power. However, it could also be down to a shortened follow through or a lack of rhythm in the shot. Concentrate on improving these 3 areas and your shot should reach.
  •  Shot Goes Long: The main reason for this is that the shooting arm does not extend at the 45-degree angle required, but less than this, causing the ball to hit the rim and bounce back. Other reasons for this fault could be players having their hands too far apart on the ball, or leaning their shoulders back. Concentrate on extending the arm above the 45-degree angle, move the hands closer together and relax the shoulders.
  • Shot Goes Wide: If right-handed players shot hits the left side of the rim or vice versa, then they are not square with the basket on shooting. Or they are starting with the ball too far to their shooting side, which would force them to pull the ball across to the other side. Concentrate on holding the ball between the ear and shoulder on the shooting side and keeping the elbow tucked in, this should prevent the player from pulling the ball across their body.