Today’s shooting guard comes in many shapes and sizes. In the past shooting guards were bigger players that were more spot up shooters than ball handlers. Shooting guards in today’s game can be the size of point guards and considered a combo guard or as tall as 6’8. Like any other position when you are building a workout you need to take their size, ball handling, athletic ability, and skill sets into account.
Every coach is different in their thinking as far as the skill sets of a shooting guard. That is your first step is coming to the understanding of what role the shooting guard will play in your offense. Once you have a list of skill sets with that position it is time then to build a routine to develop those skills.
One of my favorite shooting guards of all-time besides Kobe and Michael Jordan was Hersey Hawkins(Philadelphia 76-ers, Charlotte Hornets,Seattle Supersonics). I’m a huge fan of players that can make shots and play hard on both ends of the floor. Hersey is one of my favorite players of all-time because of his toughness and ability to make shots. When I develop most shooting guards that is the prototype that I want to build them into unless of course they have other skill sets to their game.
The shooting guard is such an important part of your offense as that is the position that will most likely lead your team in shot attempts and scoring or both. The most important attribute that you can try to instill a player at this position is EFFICIENCY. We are living in a “Moneyball” society with numbers invading our game at an alarming rate. Players are being judged on how efficient they are with their scoring with Field Goal %,attempts, and points per shot being a very critical part of their evaluation.
Teams at all levels are trying to find players that can give them the best chance of winning. They want to have players that make life easier on them and maximize their minutes on the floor. When developing your player EFFICIENCY must be mentioned and increased to help you win.
Your shooting guard should understand that it shouldn’t take them 22 shots to get 25 points. Shooting 38% from the field and 21% from the 3 point line won’t get it done. They have to maximize their minutes on the floor and that scoring 17 points on 4-8 shooting, 2-3 from 3 point land, and 6-8 from the line. That stat line is a lot better than going 8-22 from the field, shooting 5-17 from 3 point land, and 1-1 from the free throw line.
Here are some of the things that I feel as though is important when developing a shooting guard.
Not every shooting guard can make shots, but a majority of them can. Most of the workouts that I design for this position is revolved around this skill. As I’ve stated in many previous articles Dave Hopla is one of my closest friends and the best shooting instructor in the world. His teachings are a big influence on me in which I being to every player workout.
During a warm up or throughout the workout I stress to the player to make sure that they jump as high as they can on the shot, hold their follow through, and after the release have their shooting elbow as high as their eyebrow. With the high elbow you ensure that their is high arc on the shot and it is not flat giving it the best possible chance to go in.
Start with a warm up routine that is very close to the basket. It could be one hand form shooting or get right into shooting with both hands. I start all warm up shooting 2-3 feet from the basket having the player shoot countless shots from the same spot usually for a minute or so at each and then moving them to a different spot from the same distance. I want them to work on their form and clean up their fundamentals as far as high elbow, good follow through, and keeping their shot line lined up.
Don’t worry about having 3 point range as a shooting guard. Just like any other position concentrate on the 15 foot shot. Make sure that from both short corners, elbows, and the free throw line that you develop efficiency from those spots. You have all of the time in the world to develop that shot. Start your workout with plenty of shots form those 5 spots at 15 feet. Concentrate on holding your follow through, keeping your elbow high, and elevating on your shot.
Three point shooting can come in time. I remember working out my first NBA player Bruce Bowen back in the summer of 1997 when he was just signed by the Boston Celtics. Bruce was a gym rat, but was very inconsistent shooting the ball anywhere past 15 feet. Although the skill that got Bruce in a game at the NBA level was his ability to guard people. Well in time Bruce went from one of the poorest shooters in the NBA to leading it in 3 PT % in 2003-2004. Bruce basically locked himself in a gym and worked on being comfortable and confident with his shooting.
Coming Off Screens
This is the lifeblood for most shooting guards at all levels. Most teams have screening plays as they call it so many things. They call it floppy (fancy work for double stack), wide pin downs, America’s play(screen the screener). etc.
Every shooting guard needs to understand how to be effective coming off screens at all angles. The most important asset a player can have when coming off screens is setting up his defender. I don’t care how fast/slow, fat/skinny,tall/short, or good/terrible a shooting guard is if they can set their man up they will get open a lot coming off screens.
It isn’t a foot race to get open coming off screens, because eventually you will face a defender that is quicker than you that will deny you the ball. Changing speeds and being deceptive will make you a good player coming off screens. Always take your defender away from the screen. YOU MUST STAY LOW! Once you have them going in the opposite direction on your set up sprint the other way and bury your defender into the screen.
In your workout you should shoot the following shots coming off screens
1.) Curl to the elbow (Defender gets held up fighting through the screen)
2.) Curl tight in the lane(Defender is behind you and the screeners man didn’t bump you)
3.) Fade (Defender doesn’t fight through the screen and tries to meet you at the elbow)
4.) Reject the screen come off other side (Defender top blocks the screen stops you from using it)
Work on coming off screens from the block area on pin downs and coming off the corner when a wide pin down is set.
Staying low is so important in coming off screens and in every aspect of basketball. Don’t come up until you are raising up for your shot. the first thing your passer should see is your two hands coming off that screen and giving them a target. Spend a lot of time on coming off screens.
Believe it or not shooting guards actually pass the ball once in a while. Work on passing the ball with both hands. Simple passes such as chest passes, bounce passes, and over the head passes. Work on entering the ball to the post by up faking and stepping around your defender to make 1 hand bounce passes.
A good shooting guard can score points/make shots A GREAT SHOOTING GUARD can pass up a bad shot to find an open teammate. There are so many shooting guards that dominate the ball and have no idea how to pass it.
One of the most important passes for a shooting guard is when you are coming off of a screen. While coming off the screen if you see the screeners man step out and get disconnected (not touching) from the screener making that quick catch and bounce pass to your screener rolling to the basket is important. Work on that pass a lot.
Work on penetrating to the paint and kicking to the weak side wing and corner as that is a very important kill area to suck defenders in and make plays for others. Passing the ball with both hands is such a great skill don’t neglect your off hand.
Shooting Off The Dribble
This is a skill that must be worked on, especially if you are a good shooter. If you are a good shooter and on the weak side of the floor when your defender is sprinting at you it is important to be able to use a shot fake take a dribble or 2 and pull up for a shot. Spend a lot of time staying low on the fake as well as the dribble and take 1-2 dribbles for pull ups.
Start outside the 3 point line in the corner work on faking and taking 1 dribble right for a pull up jumper from 15-17 feet. Make a set number(7,8,10) and then move to the wing,top of the key, and other wing working on the same shot. Points of emphasis here is keep your head up, stay low on the fake, and elevate on your jumpshot. Once you get to the other corner repeat the drill from the 4 spots but this time go left 1 dribble.
Repeat the drill by using 2 dribbles and pulling up keeping the same attributes. Being able to lift your defender on a fake and putting the ball on the floor is the difference from being a good guard to a great one. I can’t stress enough efficiency as far as being able to make mid range shots by using simple moves. If you want to work on your 8 dribble pull-back fade away go call BARNUM & BAILEY To Join The Circus.
Your kill spots coming off 2 dribble pull ups are the elbows and short corners.
Post Up Game
Not every point guard needs a post up game. Most shooting guards have decent size and length and should spend a little time in the post, especially if you have a size advantage with your opponent. Attention players that aren’t tall enough to ride Splash Mountain at Disney World skip to the next section
Post Ups at the guard position you should work on catching the ball on the mid post. Having a one Dribble jump hook, dribble drop, face up jump shot, and turn around jump shot going over both shoulders are shots you should work on. Work on these shots from both sides of the floor .
You don’t have to spend a lot of time here, as you can work on 5 makes per shot and then move on as it should take you less than 10 minutes to get through your post game routine of your workout.
Some shooting guards don’t get the ball in isolation situations, but I’m sure a few will come up in the course of a game. Having a jab game is important. If you went through your routine taking shots off of the dribble your footwork is pretty sound. One thing I always stress for right handed players to jab with their right foot and lefties jab with their left. I think it takes the guess work out of it and makes the players pretty efficient.Of course,when you come off a screen you always catch the ball on your inside foot.
Work on using a jab jump shot from both wings and the top of the key. When practicing the jab and jumpshot with no dribble work on it form 15 feet to get the hang of it. Work on stepping into your catch on a 1-2 step. Once you catch delay doing anything for a second or two to size up your defender. Make your jab and shoot the ball. Catch jab and shoot from the elbows and free throw line.
Once you are comfortable with the jab and shoot. Work on the jab fake 1 dribble strong side (right for righty and left for lefty). Make sure you are staying low until you shoot the ball. The Jab you are low, the fake you are low, and the dribble you are low until the shot comes.
For players that are a little bit more advanced work on the jab fake 1-2 dribble stepback going in both directions.
Pick & Roll
Some shooting guards handle the ball more than others and if your team doesn’t run pick and rolls for you then you can skip but if it does work on different shots that you may take on the pick and roll.
1.) 2 Dribble pull up at elbow (Defender fights over screen, no show from screener’s man)
2.) Split for a finish/floater or jumper(Defender fights, Big shows too wide)
3.) Shoot behind the screener (Defender goes under the screen)
4.) Reject screen 2 dribble pull-up baseline(Defender forces you not to use screen)
These are all situations that can come up using the screen and roll. Biggest thing is setting your defender up and burying them into the screen. Get them going to the baseline with a cross-step or a jab baseline and then dribble towards the screen after you get them leaning.
I think it’s important to develop your ball handling at any position. When working with players I make them do a lot of stationary ball handling. Dribble the ball at your knee level and your head up.
Dribble the ball straight up and down with your right hand then your left. Dribble the ball from side to side using your right and then your left. Lastly dribble the ball back and forth. You can use both basketballs in your ball handling routine. Anything that forces you to dribble the ball and have your head up is fine.
To be a good ball handler you need to develop your wrists, forearms, hands, and fingers. Develop both hands and don’t go crazy using a million different dribble moves. I think a crossover, hesitation, between the legs, and behind the back are all good moves to develop off of the dribble.
Every position needs to be able to finish. I don’t care if its at the rim or with a floater. Work on making a move at the 3 point line and then finishing with a layup with both your right and left hand on both the right and left side. Work on shooting a floater off of 1 foot with both your right and left hand. Make sure if you are working on your floater that the ball is released form your hand at the block going baseline and the dots going middle.
Use the dribble moves that we discussed in your last session. Being able to finish is so important so don’t neglect it from your workout.
Three Point Shooting
Not very important to be a great three point shooter, but you should shoot them in every workout. I like to end a workout with spot up 3 point shots. If you aren’t a good 3 point shooter then lower your make count to 5 per spot. Take them from all 5 spots (2 corners, 2 wings, and the top)
I think it’s important to get familiar with the 3 point line so by taking 50-75 3 point shots to end a workout is fine. Because the more you practice the better you will become. Repetitions are your friend they aren’t punishment. Force yourself to make adjustments and become a better long range shooter
Developing your game takes time and hard work. Nothing will ever just appear in the morning like presents on Christmas morning. You ned to put the time in. As a shooting guard take the time and understand the attributes that makes up a good shooting guard.
Most shooting guards think that they should just shoot shot after shot in games and nothing else. Thats a total misconception that limits your game. Don’t be a Cheerio player. You know what a cheerio player is? It’s a player that after the FG-FGA and Points on their stat sheet the rest reads O-O-O-O-O-O-O.
Great shooting guards can get to the line 7 times a game. They grab 5 rebounds a game as well as come up with a steal. A great shooting guard sill shoot 45% from the field 80% form the free throw line and 40% from the line. Efficiency is the name of the game. Do more with less. Be that player that can score 20 points on 10 shots, not the player who scores 30 taking 28 shots.
Put your team in position to win, don’t be a 1 dimensional player. Anyone can score, be a winner that can fill up their stat sheet with things other than points. Stop this nonsense of going on youtube and watching these instructors teach you impossible moves that NBA Players use. Most of the time NBA players don’t even use those moves, and secondly they are low percentage shots that most of the time has you taking a tougher shot at the end than you had at the beginning of the move.
Kobe,James Harden, and Manu Ginobili are the best shooting guards int he league. Yes they take some difficult shots at times, but most of their shots are simple shots. Sometimes they will be forced into taking a tough shot, but most of the moves they make are reads off a defender taking something away. Your game can’t survive on a steady diet of tough, low percentage, and contested shots.
Well I hope this helped in any way. Sorry I didn’t have an NBA Player’s names for drills like the Kobe Drill, or the Chris Paul drill, etc. I wouldn’t be caught dead doing any of that self promoting nonsense. If I did I would name drills like the Zarko Paspalj Drill,the Stoyko Vrankovic Drill,the Roy Hinson drill, or everyone’s favorite Mike Izzolino drill. Never say that I’m not original.