Number 6: Recognising Perceptions to Boost Your Coaching

The issue with the clip mentioned in the previous post, as it relates to Ja Morant shooting, is that some coaches will see that clip and assume that is a really important way to develop shooters. Have them stay after a game and get shots up or run drills like that in practice to help with a players shooting.

I know this because I used to be that coach.

Becoming a great shooter has an extremely high price. That is the hours and hours of getting shots up. It is important to get the necessary reps in. I’m not disagreeing with that. Part of getting those reps in involves elements of blocked practice. However, when it comes to transferring this skill into a game, it gets a little complicated.

I feel like we have just accepted the fact that a player will shoot a lower percentage in a game when compared to practice. Why is that?

Isn’t the whole idea of practice to help skills transfer into the game?

Let’s quickly look at shooting again.

In order for a player to be a good shooter (consistently make his shots), he need to know ROB. His Range, if he’s Open, and whether he is Balanced.

Those are three decisions that a player must make in a game in a fraction of a second. Am I in Range? Am I Open? Am I Balanced?

Most of the traditional shooting drills in practice do not allow a player to make these decisions. Coaches determine the range, whether it is an open shot and we tell the player to be balanced. These drills are often in the form of blocked and/or constant practice methods.

A variable, random practice would include a player receiving the ball at different locations (or distances from the basket) and have someone closing out at full speed to contest. Now the player needs to make a decision if he’s in range on the catch, if he’s open on the catch and whether he is on balance to get the shot off. That develops the decision making element where most players tend to struggle. Of course doing this in a team practice environment means less repetition and more waiting around, so we resolve to use blocked practices and get everyone shooting from the same distance without any decisions.

Part of coaching (and a really tough skill to learn) is the ability to scan and assess where the problem lies. Do our players have difficulty in the mechanics of the technique or is it a decision-making issue that is holding them back? Once we are able to identify that, we are able to introduce constraints that can assist and develop those specific areas.

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