Make more shots = Have more fun. I wanted to build on this idea from a blog post on the PGC Basketball website. What is the first thing any young kid wants to do when they pick up a basketball for the first time? They want to shoot the ball up into the basket. Why? Because it’s fun! It’s instant gratification. The first and second grade physical education classes that I teach are filled with kids that want to shoot the ball even if there is no chance for them to get a shot up to a ten foot basket. Do they want to dribble? Work on their passing? Grab some rebounds? No, they want to shoot the ball. It’s what attracts young and old to the game basketball.
I’ve written before about what it takes to be a good shooter, but no matter what type of player you are, how old you are, or what position you play, you can never be too good of a shooter. Making shots is fun. Watch what happens when Steph Curry goes on one of his scoring binges like he did on Wednesday night against Oklahoma City. Both he and his teammates were energized and the Thunder was demoralized. The same phenomena happened with the Cavs three point shooting against the Hawks. When the ball goes in the basket everything else seems to fall into place. The game is more fun when shots are dropping.
With my fourth grade boys this past season there were several times I turned to my assistant coaches to say, “The ball just doesn’t go in.” We would do everything right and then miss the shot. Frustrating for the players (and the coaches!) On the other hand when shots are dropping everything comes together. The spirit of the team picks up, the defensive effort increases, and the kids feel better about themselves. What does this mean for young players? It means that players should work on their shooting. Simply put, being a good shooter means having more fun playing the game.
How can a young player become a better shooter? Check out these shooting tips I’ve written about previously. Here are a two other quick tips to help you become a better shooter.
You may be able to make a three point shot, but that doesn’t mean you are a three point shooter. Do not confuse your ability to occasionally throw in a three with being a good shooter from that distance. Unless you can hit 70% of your shots from a given distance at game speed, using game footwork, you are not a good shooter from that distance. Don’t take shots outside your range during a game. Stick with shots you can make at a high rate. Players from youth leagues to the NBA often struggle with shot selection. The sooner you understand shot selection the better off you will be. More of your shots will go in, you’ll have more fun playing, and you’ll help your team win more games.
Don’t be the player who finishes tying his or her shoes, picks up a ball, and immediately heads behind the three point line to launch a few jumpers. Instead, get close to the basket, do some form shooting, and then slowly work your way out. I fight this constantly with my son, our team, and almost all young players. Starting out close to the basket and focusing on form prepares the body and mind to make shots. Why practice shots you are not capable of making on a consistent basis that you will never take in a game? Make your warm-up for games or practice purposeful.
Next time you head to the gym, remember this simple equation Make more shots = Have more fun!
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