Game-speed drills to improve your team’s 3-point shooting
Getting players to go “game-speed” and take shots during practices at a pace that is equivalent to how they will play on game days is one of the most challenging messages to get across to players. To help our players practice at a faster pace and take shots that are similar to those that they will take during games, we keep track of their field goal percentages while competing against a predetermined time during each drill.
Competing against the clock has forced our players to work and play at a pace that is similar to a game environment, and keeping track of their field goal percentages has made them more competitive with themselves and amongst their teammates.
Included are several 3-point shooting drills that we use with our players during individual workouts in the offseason and in-season. If you are unable to work with your players, these drills are still beneficial because players can complete them with another teammate while competing against the clock. Along with the competitive nature of these drills, they also help improve player conditioning. If players commit to working and shooting during these drills at a level that is initially uncomfortable to them, they will notice conditioning improvement after several weeks.
Shooting the basketball while players are tired is one of the most challenging aspects of game situations to simulate during practices or individual workouts. Completing these drills can help players improve their shooting abilities while they are tired, due to the constant movement, competing against the clock and the competitive nature of the drills.
Drill No. 1: 7s Shooting
DIAGRAM 1: 7s Shooting. A player starts on the sideline and sprints to the wing to catch and shoot a 3-pointer. After the shot, the player will sprint to the sideline and back to the wing and shoot again. The player continues this process until he or she has made seven 3-point baskets from the wing.
Once making seven from the wing, the player moves to the top of the key, where they continue the same process, with the only difference being the player sprints to half court instead of the sideline. Once the player has made seven 3-pointers from the top of the key, they move to the other wing and continue until they have made seven 3-pointers.
The objective is to get the player to shoot a high percentage from the field while working on their conditioning. The set time that we use with our college players is two minutes to successfully make all 21 3-pointers. We record the players’ makes and attempts each time we do this drill and post them in our locker room for the players to see. You can adjust the time accordingly, just make sure you are challenging your players to shoot and play at a faster level.
Drill No. 2: Knicks Shooting
DIAGRAM 2: Knicks Shooting. A player starts in the corner and shoots two stationary 3-pointers. Following the second shot, the player sprints to half-court and back to the corner where they will shoot their third 3-pointer in transition. Following this shot, the player sprints to half-court and back to the corner and shoots their fourth 3-pointer in transition. After this shot, the player sprints to half-court and back to the corner and shoots their final 3-pointer in transition from the corner. The player shoots five 3-pointers from five different spots on the floor, while sprinting after their second, third and fourth shots at each spot.
As the player makes their way around the 3-point line, the end location of their sprint changes (see diagram). Again, the objective is to get your players to shoot a high percentage from the field while trying to make all 25 3-pointers. The set time that we use for our players is 3 minutes and 30 seconds. We keep track of our players shooting percentages and whether or not they were able to complete the drill in the allotted time.
Drill No. 3: Transition 3s
DIAGRAM 3: Transition 3s. A player starts in the corner with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Following the shot, the player sprints to half court and shoots a 3-pointer in transition from the wing, then sprints back to half court. The player continues to make his or her way around the 3-point line, while sprinting to half court after each shot.
Players will shoot from five different locations on the 3-point line and will attempt 10 total 3-pointers (must shoot two 3-pointers from the opposite corner, sprinting between each shot). The set time that we use for successfully completing all 10 shots is 90 seconds. We stress the importance of shooting the basketball in transition, while going full-speed and shooting a high percentage from the field. Again, we record and post in the locker room each player’s individual field goal percentage.
These are several examples of shooting drills that we use with our players that help reiterate the importance of working and playing at a high level while shooting the basketball to help simulate game situations. Keeping track of our players’ field goal percentages during these drills have made them more competitive, while competing against the clock has forced them to shoot game shots at game speed.
Once your players have successfully completed the drills and are shooting a high percentage from the 3-point line, lower their times and continue to challenge them.