3 Ways to Improve Shot Selection

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Shot selection can often be the most influential factor when it comes to winning or losing a game. The team that consistently gets the “better” shots over the course of the game will leave the gym with more points on the scoreboard nearly every time.

If you really want to influence the outcome of your games with shot selection, it’s vital to help your players understand three things when it comes to your team’s shot selection:

1. Define the shots you want to get

Players should know – beyond the shadow of any doubt – the shots you value (and don’t value) as a coach. Not only the location, but also the timing, frequency, and speed in which you want to get them during a game.

As you encourage your players to work on their game, they can be more focused and more efficient with their training. Instead of going through shooting workouts that value all shots equally, they can focus on the things you value as the coach and develop skills that will lead to more success for the team.

2. Define your players’ SCOT

A player’s SCOT is their SCoring spOT. It’s one thing for the players in your program to know what shots you don’t want them to take. But master coaches go a step further and actually define two things for each player on their team: 1) Where they SHOULD shoot from and 2) How often in a game they should take that shot.

One simple way to do this is to define the 2-3 most likely spots each player will shoot from during a game, and begin focusing on those areas during practice.

3. Never settle for “good”

Most players are satisfied with taking “good” shots, and most coaches allow “good” shots to be taken over and over by their team. But if you truly want to be special, it’s time to teach your players to pass on the “good” shots and take advantage of the “great” ones. So many times a “great” shot is just one more pass away, and teams fail to take advantage of it. 

I’ve found two specific ways to help players understand the difference between a “good” shot and a “great” one. 

The first is called the Shot Selection game. Instead of scoring 2 or 3 points per basket, each time a shot is taken a coach calls out the value of that shot (we use a scale of 1 – 9. For more on that scale, check out a blog post from our friends at PGC Basketball by CLICKING HERE). If the shot goes in, that team gets the value of the shot. First team to 50 points wins. 

The second is through film. As a team we’ll watch all of our offensive attempts from a game, and each player will rate what they thought each attempt was on our shot selection scale (taking into account: the player, distance of the defense, time/score, etc.) After every 7-10 shots, we’ll stop and compare ratings. This helps me understand what gaps remain in their understanding of “great” shots and how we as a staff can help close that gap for them.

Teaching shot selection is a daily process to raise the tide and help your team take better shots during games. I’m excited for you to experiment with these three coaching methods. More wins are waiting for you!

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