As I wrote in Evolution of 180 Shooter, when I work with players individually, they tell me what they want to practice, and their answer needs to be specific, not a general skill category (Shooting).
Today, I worked individually with a player for the first time. Last night, when we arranged the time, I told him that he needed to arrive prepared with an idea of what he wanted to practice. Naturally, he replied via text “Shooting”, to which I replied “be specific” and “I only work with players who have a purpose for their practice and know what they want to get out of it.” He hearted the text.
When I arrived, I asked what he wanted to work on. He said technique and getting my reps in. I nearly left; we have a shooting machine that he can use to “get his reps in”. We started some movement drills to warm up:
As we warmed up, I asked more questions.
“Why do you think you miss open shots during games?” After all, he wanted to work on “technique”, so I wanted a sense of why.
Ah, so not a technique issue; a decision-making issue. I pressed further.
“Why do you feel you rush?”
After a short conversation, he said that he feels that he has a quick release, so that is not the issue. Instead, he said he rushes because he feels he has less time than he really has.
In an individual workout, this is not something that we can address, but I discussed some drills that we do frequently in practice, and how he (and others) need to use those drills to practice making these decisions rather than seeing if they can make increasingly more difficult shots (shooting against a closeout and shooting regardless of the contest to shoot tougher shots rather than making the open/contested decision).
After the movement drills, we worked on some drills with the dribble to combine ball handling and shooting. As an example:
The instructions and cues differ from his normal dribbling habits. He struggled. It was good.
Then, we finished with some shooting out of some of the actions where he should gets shots for us. As we worked through some of these sets, I discovered something that will inform subsequent workouts: his breathing seems to affect his shooting.
Generally, when players miss after running, we assume fatigue or they have no legs. In watching him, I felt it was the action of breathing heavily (returned recently from covid, so maybe that he an effect), not fatigue, that impacted his shot. In Evolution, I discussed another player who recognized that as her weakness when shooting, which informed our individual sessions. If I work individually with this player again, breath control and shooting when breathing heavily will be two primary weaknesses to address.