I recently had the opportunity to listen to Ohlone College head coach John Peterson speak about shooting. Peterson has been at Ohlone for 13 seasons, including 5 conference championships and 10 twenty-win seasons. He was previously an assistant for Mike Dunlap at Metro State (Dunlap later became an NBA head coach). He dropped a lot of knowledge in about an hour of speaking and player demos. Here are 3 things I feel are applicable for players who want to become better shooters.
1) If your head moves, you’re a streaky shooter
When it comes to shooting, the less movement, the better. Watch great shooters and notice how relaxed they are and how little movement there is additional to the shooting motion. Peterson said that the easiest way to keep your head still is to focus on the back of the rim from the time you begin your shot until the ball reaches the rim. If you watch the ball during the shot, your head has to move. “Ball watchers are streaky shooters.”
2) Be ambidextrous with your feet
Great shooters can shoot in multiple ways, not only by spotting up. It is important to be able to shoot the ball 3 ways: stepping left-right, stepping right-left, and off of a jump stop. You want to be able to do all 3 of these both off of a catch and off the dribble.
3) Practice bank shots to improve your touch
If you find that your misses are consistently hard and fire off the rim, you need improvement on your shooting touch. Coaches often speak of having a soft touch. Peterson recommended using bank shots in practice to develop a soft touch. If you fire the ball with a hard touch while shooting a bank shot, you will see the negative effect and the need for a soft shooting touch.