People of all ages are constantly looking for shortcuts to improving their shooting in basketball, whether it be your free throws, close range, mid-range, or long range shooting. The truth is, and we’ve all heard it enough times, practice will always be the key to taking your skills to the next level.
With that being said, it’s not just practice, but how you practice. You’ve probably also heard the saying “practice like you play,” which is exactly what I’m getting at.
In professional sports — and even in lower-level sports — we love statistics. Every game, we keep track of just about every statistic you can think of. And whether they’ll admit it or not, those statistics are what drive athletes to do better.
It speaks for itself. If your statistics are bad, it’s a sure sign that improvement is needed. If your statistics are good, it’s a sign that whatever you’ve been doing has been working.
Unfortunately, not too many athletes take advantage of keeping statistics during practice. If you could see how you’ve been performing during practice and how that translates to game situations, it’ll help you point out and target areas that need improvement.
That’s where a shooting log comes in handy.
What is a Shooting Log?
A shooting log in basketball is simply a log — which can be done on a piece of paper or your phone — where you track each shot taken in practice. This allows you to see how many shots you’re making and missing each time you hit the floor.
As you keep up with your log, you’ll be able to spot certain variables and trends. Those who take their log seriously will notice that seeing your numbers in front of you everyday will actually make you more motivated to practice. This is especially true once the athlete starts to see positive results in real games.
Getting Creative With Your Shooting Log
To make your log more effective, be sure to keep track of each category shot as well. For beginners, it might be best to start basic with your categories. This can include three-point, layup, close range, mid-range, free throw, etc.
These are the most basic categories that will help you vaguely keep track of your shooting. If you’re looking for something a bit more in-depth, or if you’re looking to switch it up from the basic categories, don’t shy away from getting specific.
By opening yourself up to all the different shots you can track with your shooting log, the possibilities are endless. For most coaches that take advantage of this method, they like to narrow it down to different spots on the court, distances, situations, etc.
To help get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas for your shooting log:
- When tracking layups, add different moves to the layup and keep track of each one (crossover, hesitation, etc.)
- Pick several different spots on the court (corner, top of the key, elbow, top of the paint, etc.) and keep track of each spot
- Practice with a friend and work on guarded shots
- Change the type of shots you are taking (fadeaway, step back, catch and shoot, pull up, etc.)
- If you’re a coach, practice different shots in different situations (buzzer-beater, down by 2, down by 3, up by 1) and get your whole team involved
Even the Greats Do It
We all want to be as good as the basketball players we see on television. If that’s true, then you should have no issue getting behind a method that is used by just about every professional basketball team and coach.
Dave Hopla, one of the greatest basketball shooters ever, has spent most of his life teaching others how to improve their shooting. From kids to professional athletes, Hopla’s expertise and knowledge in the art of shooting a basketball has earned him incredible respect in the game.
Hopla spent time with several NBA teams as a coach, including the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and New York Knicks. He has always been very keen on keeping a shooting log if you want to improve your basketball shot. It’s a method he used as a coach in the NBA, working alongside some of the greatest basketball players in the world.
If you’re ready to take the next step with your shot, do yourself a favor and start a shooting log today!