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During my time as an assistant coach at William Jewell College, we were fortunate to have great players, especially those who could hit shots from the perimeter.  Players such as Kyle Fisher, Jonathan Benson, and Craig Mattson were critical to our success in that they could hit either three-point shots or mid-range jump shots, considered by many coaches as a lost art.

We were able to get players to hit mid-range jumpers and three-point shots thanks to our outstanding perimeter player development drills we used during practice.  We had an outstanding perimeter player coach in our assistant coach John Davenport and a former guard in our head coach Larry Holley who had taken the time to develop drills designed to develop better perimeter players.

Using some of the drills that I have learned from both Coaches Davenport and Holley, I have designed some drills that will improve perimeter players in their basic fundamentals that will only take ten minutes per practice session daily to improve perimeter play as well as some variations on basic drills that can be used to make your guards and forwards playing on the perimeter better perimeter players.

Fundamentals to Develop

From Bob Knight's book on basketball coaching he wrote with Pete Newell, Coach Knight explains that there are several basic offensive fundamentals that are worked on every day in practice.  For our perimeter players, we want to focus on ball handling (including passing, catching, and dribbling the basketball) and shooting.  We will focus on other fundamentals including spacing, cutting, and screening when we get to our offensive breakdowns and team offense.  If needed, we will include post play if we are running an offense that requires certain or all of our perimeter players to play in the post.

We also incorporate footwork into our drills by teaching our perimeter players to have their shooting-hand foot forward in a heel-toe relationship.  We also work on keeping the balls of the feet and the toes on the ground when executing a shot fake as well as using the jump stop.

I am of the belief that you can only become successful when you do the ordinary things to the maximum of your abilities.  We aren't working on street moves with our perimeter players that would be better suited to pick-up games.  We are working on basic basketball fundamental skills so that our players can execute them without having to think about what to do or how to do it.

Spot Shooting Drill

The first drill that we do is the Spot Shooting Drill.  We use this to teach shooting both mid-range and three-point jump shots from six different spots on the floor.

Diagram 1 shows the groupings of the spots for our Spot Shooting Drill.  They are as follows:

  • Spot 1 - Elbow jumpers.

  • Spot 2 - Wing three-point shots.

  • Spot 3 - Bank shot jumpers.

  • Spot 4 - Deep corner three-point shots.

  • Spot 5 - Short corner jumpers.

  • Spot 6 - Lane-line extended three-point shots.

We will move in order from Spot 1 to Spot 2 to Spot 3 to Spot 4 to Spot 5 to Spot 6 in that order.  The purpose of this drill is to develop the shooting capabilities from three groups of spots behind the three-point line and three groups of mid-range spots.  By the way the drill is conducted, our players also work on following their shots as well as catching and passing the basketball.

Diagram 1

For the remainder of this article, the numbered players and the spots I will reference will be similar to those illustrated in Diagram 1 in an effort to remove any confusion.

Four Ball Drills

These drills is designed to do three things: develop the ability to shoot the three-point shot from Spots 2, 4, and 6 (Diagram 2), to make a shot fake and attack the rim from Spots 2, 4, and 6 (Diagram 3), and to make a shot fake and hit a mid-range jump shot starting from Spots 2, 4, and 6 (Diagram 4).  As we go through this sequence, we will be working on the same fundamentals as in the Spot Shooting Drill, but we will be adding to it the use of the dribble as well as our perimeter players working on making the skip pass.

It is important to note that we do these drills after the spot shooting drill because we want our players to progress through the drills and add to the progression of skills taught instead of trying to do more initially then subtract from the skills taught.

Diagram 2

Diagram 3

Diagram 4

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