Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teaching Shot Selection: Lay a Solid Foundation

Shot selection is a topic that all of us should be addressing early and often with our players. Shot selection should be considered the foundation for a great offense. Regardless of what you run offensively getting the correct shot has to be the number one goal for every possession. If you are a coach that runs a lot of set plays, you already dictate who, when and where shots are taken. Those of us that run motion or a continuity offense must ingrain shot selection into our players' offensive DNA. Here are the 3 points on teaching Shot Selection.

#1 At Release not Result
It's a good shot at Release. Regardless of the result, make or miss, whether or not the shot was a good shot is determined at the release of the shot. Players have to understand that the only positive on a bad make is the points going on the board. The term "heat check" is a polite way of saying "That's an awful shot." Players have to understand the reason they are "hot" or "in the zone" is because of the quality of the shot; not the quantity.

#2 Right Person at the Right Spot at the Right Time
Coaches that run multiple set plays do so to dictate who gets the shot, plus when and where it occurs. While I'm a believer in true Motion offenses like the Read and React System, I also believe that you should have a "60" play (stop a 6-0 run) and an "80" play. In teaching motion offenses, we have to be detailed in teaching when and where the shots should be taken. It's also imperative that players know each other's strengths and where they are able to make shots from. Some players need to understand that they are open by design of the defense, not your offense. Know when, where and who should be taking shots.

#3 Teach It or Allow It
This is one of Jimmy Dykes 20 truths of basketball that is my favorite. We have to teach shot selection. Period. If we allow a bad shot to go unaddressed then we're allowing it. Don't complain about things you're not willing to change. This has to go for every player on the team. This is where it gets personal. Players have to understand its the action not the player. Superstars take bad shots just like the twelfth man does. A bad shot is a bad shot regardless of who takes it.

If we do a better job of teaching shot selection we can alleviate a lot of problems. Understanding shot selection can lessen the chances of "My turn" possessions. You know, when a player takes a bad shot so the next trip another player takes a worse shot because it's my turn to shoot. Teaching shot selection is hard. You have to be willing to hurt some feelings, especially with younger players and occasionally with older better players. I think the key is to be consistent. Consistency with every player and every shot. Identify the mistake, explain why it was bad, show the better option and then redo the possession. Video is also a great way to teach players about shot selection. (Just don't show an NBA clip).

This is an area I know I have to improve on so I wanted to share with you the steps I'm taking to improve.