For this edition of “Elevate Your Game” training tips, I have decided to give you guys and gals one of my favorite drills. Although I didn’t learn this until my Colorado days with Joe Wolf and the 14ers, this is a drill that I still work on to this day. It accomplishes many things, challenging shooters mentally and physically as well as enhancing their normal every day workout.
Let me preface this by saying it has been my experience that most young players want to be a good shooter but they don’t know how. They spend hours upon hours, shooting jumpers that in no way will enhance their game or their ability to hit the big shot down the stretch. YOU MUST CHALLENGE YOURSELF EVERYTIME YOU WALK ONTO THE FLOOR. If there is one thing that I took from my short-lived professional career, it is that college guys go hard, pro guys go even harder. If you miss, you run. Crazy to think about considering in the history of the game there has never been a 100% shooter ever. It’s not possible! However, in my opinion (which means absolutely nothing) if you shoot and challenge yourself as if every shot will go in, your percentage and confidence will significantly improve (for all the Kobe haters out there, this is what makes Kobe so good. He thinks every shot is going in even if he misses 50 in a row).
Although this drill doesn’t have a specific name or maybe I am just not aware of it, it is incredibly effective and frustrating at the same time. Enjoy and don’t drive yourself too crazy with this one. Once you have mastered this, shoot me a note and I will give you some creative ways to tweak it and challenge yourself even more.
For the sake of giving it a name, we will call this “Triangle Shooting”. You will need 3 cones, a ball, and a partner. As shown in the diagram, set up a cone just off the baseline (mid range area represented by the 1), place another cone on the sideline (as shown), and place your third cone on the strong side elbow (represented by the number 2). Depending on the type of shooter you are or you consider yourself to be, set a realistic goal to hit every time you do this drill. For example when working with Joe, we were usually going for between 7-9 makes. I would suggest you set your goals lower to start as the running can add up very quickly.
The shooter will make his or her way from the baseline spot to the elbow via the sideline (shoot from the baseline, touch the sideline, shoot from the elbow, touch the sideline, then back to the baseline, etc.) pushing themselves as hard as possible to represent actual game speed. You don’t walk in a game so don’t practice that way. The harder you work, the better player you will become. Say your goal is 5. You will maneuver back and forth between the two spots until you hit 5 shots total. Here’s the catch. Every time you miss, you run a down and back sprint (go 5 for 13 you’ve got a lot of running to do). You will either become a great shooter, or a great runner but the choice will be up to you. The difference between making and missing is very much in your head so challenge yourself to stay mentally tough. Running will not hurt you (although it may suck) but it will challenge you and push you to make everything you shoot.
Now do the same thing using both elbows and the half court line as your three spots represented above. Once again the same rules apply and your goal is to hit all of your shots as quickly as possible. While working with your partner, try and get through this quickly. By that I mean, as soon as you complete your goal, run your sprints, and immediately switch roles with your partner (passer / shooter). Then move to the top of the key as shown above.
Finish by doing the same as round one from the opposite side of the floor (shown above). My recommendation to all of you would be to go all the way through and then all the way back with this (6 total shooting runs). This will get you in shape, challenge your mind, and represent game like shots . . . or it will make you hate your life. I guess the choice is up to you :). GOOD LUCK and let me know how it goes.