Offense wins games, defense wins championships. This has been said countless times by countless coaches. Do you know why? Because it is true and has proven to be true over and over. You might have an off game as a team or individually on offense, but if you bring it on the defensive end you still have a chance to win as a team and make an impact as an individual. Take pride in your defense! Become a lock down defender! Below is a video from Point Guard College detailing some keys to becoming a good team defender. I have written down some of the main points so you have a reference with which to follow along.
Five Habits of Good Defenders:
1.Close Outs on the Ball–Hands up, under control, Stop the Drive
2. Jump to the Ball–Stop Basket Cut, Get into Help Side
3. See the Ball and Your Man–Stop the Drive, Head on a Swivel
4. Talk to the Ball
5. Threaten Penetration–Jab, Fake, at the drive to discourage the drive
While practicing your shooting over and over is very important, there is a lot that goes into becoming a great shooter. Personally, I remember putting in a lot of time making sure I mastered the basics of BEEF shooting. I made sure I was balanced, my elbow was in, eyes on target, and that my follow through was high and towards the center of the rim. I became a good set shooter, and I was pretty hard to beat in a game of HORSE. But when it came to shooting and scoring in games, there was a big drop off. My biggest problem was the speed of my release. Once I mastered good form, I still took way to much time setting up and thinking about all of the aspects of my shot. What I had to practice was speed! If you can’t get your shot off in a game situation, it doesn’t matter how good of a shooter you are out by yourself in the driveway.
Below is a great clip by sports science on the best shooter in the NBA today, Steph Curry. Pay attention to three things that allow Curry to be so good! I really like using him as an example because of how good he is and because of his height. His shot should be the blue print for every “average” person.
1. Watch his foot work. He almost always takes a 1-2 approach into his shoot. NOT A TWO FOOTED HOP. The 1-2 is faster, allows for great deception, and a larger variety of shots.
2. His shot is one fluid motion. There is no hitch or stop in the flow of his form. This allows for greater speed and a consistent release under pressure.
3. The height of his follow through and the arch on his shot. You will see that his shot goes up first and then drops into the goal. He does not push the ball toward the rim, but lets gravity do the work. This allows for a softer shot with better odds of going in.
Put the time in and make this a part of your game!