You want to get better at basketball? Of course, you do! Your reason could be as simple as wanting to help your team by scoring more points, or maybe you want to get more minutes. Tryouts could be coming soon, and you want to improve so you make the team this year.
So what should you focus on to improve your game?
An area most players struggle with is shooting after coming off of screens and cuts!
These opportunities happen throughout every basketball game, but players aren’t prepared well enough to take advantage of them. In most offenses, players use screens and cuts to get open. When they do get open, they aren’t ready to take a shot.
This happens because of poor footwork and they haven’t practiced basketball shooting consistency for that type of shot.
This is one area you should focus on to improve! Show the coaches you can work well inside their offensive system. You can score by attacking AND catching and shooting. You can become a key scorer on your team.
How do you get better at coming off of screens/cuts and shooting, though?
You have to master your footwork and you have to practice the right way. You need to practice:
- cutting at GAME SPEEED
- receiving the pass
- using the proper footwork (this is key)
- getting on balance quickly
- rising up for that shot
- and then nailing that jumper
You need to practice so much that it becomes like second nature. You want to build muscle memory, so that when you have your opportunity in a game you are ready.
You have to receive a pass from someone to catch and shoot right? Ideally you have some passing the ball. But what if you’re working out alone?
Good news, you can still develop those skills…
Below are 3 effective drills you can perform by yourself that will help you become comfortable coming off a cut, receiving a pass, and taking that open shot.
Shooting Tips – Keys Things to Remember Before You Start
Before you start your drills, make sure you remember your shooting form. You want to practice these drills correctly. Don’t just go through the motions. Be purposeful. Focus on each aspect of your shooting form. Build that muscle memory, so when the time comes for you to take that shot, you are ready.
Tip #1 – Make sure your knees are slightly bent to gain power for your shot.
Tip #2 – Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for balance.
Tip #3 – Create good passes by spinning or throwing the ball to yourself.
Tip #4 -Focus on squaring up to the basket before taking your shot to make sure you are aligned.
Tip #5 – Get into your shooting footwork when the ball comes back to you from the floor or from your toss in the air.
Tip #6 – Make sure you are shooting a one-motion shot.
Tip #7 – Shoot the ball at the peak of your shot.
Tip #8 – Finally, hold your follow-through and follow your shot.
After looking over these keys to shooting, you are ready for the beginner shooting drills.
Drill #1 – Straight Cuts
This is one of the most common actions in basketball. So you should get really good at shooting off the straight cut!
To begin the drill, start in the right corner of the court and perform a straight cut up toward the three-point line, free-throw line extended. As you run towards the spot you wish to shoot from, toss the ball out in front of you with backspin. As you near the ball, get into your shooting footwork. Perform a quick hop as the ball comes back to you. Focus on squaring up to the basket before the ball touches your hand. As soon as you grab the ball, go directly into your shooting motion. Release the ball at the peak of your jump and hold your follow-through.
Do this ten times from this spot. After the first group of ten, begin your straight cut at the free-throw line extended. Now you will be running up to the top of the key. Again, complete this 10 times.
After your second set, you can begin your straight cut from the left corner. Follow that up with a straight cut beginning on the left side of the court free throw line extended. You will always complete 10 repetitions in each set.
You can work your way around the three-point line using a straight cut. You want to be able to receive a pass at any point. Be comfortable catching and shooting from all around the three-point line.
Drill #2 – L Cuts
You will begin in the corner just like the previous drill. You will simulate running the defender to the basket with a slight jog while holding the basketball. Once you reach the lane, cut quickly toward the top of the key. Just before you reach the elbow, throw a toss pass to yourself.
Get into your shooting footwork as you catch the ball. You do this by performing a back pivot. It is important to square yourself to the basket. It is left-right on the right side and right-left on your left side. Timing is crucial. You want to make sure you stay low, so your momentum doesn’t cause you to drift backward on your pivot. Raise up and shoot the ball at the peak of your jump. Hold your follow-through and follow your shot.
Complete this set 10 times. Then perform the same motion on the left side of the court. Repeat to continue refining this shot.
Drill #3 – Flare Cuts
To start this last drill, you need to start at the top of the key. With the ball, run to the free-throw line. You want to simulate running your defender into the lane. Once you get to the middle of the free-throw line, plant your inside foot and explode out to the wing. If you are going to the right, your inside foot is your left foot. If you are going to the left, your inside foot is your right foot.
To simulate coming off a flare screen, you explode off of your inside foot and flare out to the free-throw line extended. As you approach your shooting destination, throw a toss pass to yourself. Focus on your timing. You want to catch the ball in a shooting position. Execute a quick hop and square up to the basket as you catch the ball, so you can immediately explode into your jump shot. Hold your follow through and follow your shot.
Complete 10 repetitions going in each direction.
Consistency is Key!
By consistently running through these drills, you will strengthen a part of your game that is a weakness of many other players. You will separate yourself as a true scorer, and the coach will definitely notice you. You won’t be one-dimensional. You will be the one who is called on when a shot is needed, and you will be ready.
So go and get started. Complete these drills a handful of times a week. Remember, the more you go through the movements, the more comfortable you will be. You will develop muscle memory. When you are in the game, you won’t even think twice about receiving a pass and immediately letting your shot fly. And because you have practiced it relentlessly, you will know that ball is going in.