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Create Your Own Shot

OK, now you’ve spent hundreds of hours in your driveway and in the gym perfecting your shot. And it is looking pretty good. You’ve been to some camps, learned some valuable shooting skills. You've happy with your scoring but now in games things are becoming harder and more of a challenge as people figure out you can score.

There are a lot of good players that go through this phase of becoming a good scorer and then face the challenge of stiff defense. The key is to understand that it's not a permanent phase and that you can move past it with the right training and understanding. If you become a good shooter you can't keep it a secret for very long, hello, we can all figure that out.

The focus of a good defensive team is to understand where the scoring comes from and how to stop it. To try and force the other team to shoot the ball as far away from the basket as possible, and to encourage this they usually sag off. The defense will try and take away any opportunities you might have to drive the lane and get closer. In other words, they encourage the other team to shoot jump shots by plugging up the middle.

When you first become a good shooter it's a lot of fun! You get a lot of open looks from the outside and have the opportunity to score a lot of points. However this time of scoring doesn't last to long. Once the opposing team figures out that you can hit the open shot from outside they completely change their strategy and YOU are their key person.

Instead of sagging off they get up in your face and isolate you. This is where a lot of players die and do not move ahead. They get really frustrated by the pressure defense and can never get a shot off. To try and score points and contribute they end up forcing shots and get frustrated. Things get worse because they miss most of their shots and start losing their confidence. They go from having a few games where they score a lot of points to barely putting up 4-6 points a game.

Change your game up. You've got to be able to get by your defender and create your own shot. If you can do this, a world of opportunity opens up for you. Think about this, you get the ball and the person guarding you knows you are a good shooter but also remembers the last time you had the ball you crossed him up and got a lay-up. How is he going to guard you this time? He knows that if he leaves you enough room you'll just shoot a jump shot over him but if he guards you tight you'll get around him for an open shot. Now you're in the driver's seat. This is a much better situation to be in than just hoping somebody sets a good pick for you or that the defense will play a soft zone so you can get an open three-pointer.

If you spend some time watching college ball or pro ball you’ll see stars that can play just like this. They are multi-dimensional players that can make the defender nuts. Shooting the open jumper, driving past the defender and moving well without the ball are keys to a productive scorer.

Learn to make some simple adjustments. Begin by practicing some moves off the dribble and screen that will allow you to get open. Just as important as developing a great shot is developing a good move to receive the ball in an open position. Maybe your move starting out is just a quick jab-step left then go right or a cross-over dribble to get your defender leaning. It doesn't need to be fancy at all, it just needs to be something that puts your defender off-balance so you can make a move to get open. I always say to get your defender off guard give them the wrong message. Act like you cutting left when you’ll be going right or act exhausted then explode to your position. Once you get them fooled a few times they will have to back up as they will not know what you’ll be doing, then you jump shot opens up again. You'll be amazed how much a difference something this simple will make.

After you have developed a few moves it’s time to use them in practice. Never try your moves n a game until mastered in practice and had success doing it. This simple suggestion will once again open you up to begin scoring again.

Good luck with your game,

Coach O


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