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(It’s not all that it’s chalked up to be)

Good day to all!

Recently I have seen a topic come up repeatedly that I think will be of interest to everyone. I’d like to discuss some of the least helpful training that I’ve seen, experienced and hear about all the time. In fact, this method yields such abysmal results that it’s actually ludicrous to think we still “buy into it”. (I’ll bet I have your attention now!)

And, before I go any further, my disclaimer is I actually grew up on this method, was urged and was led to believe that “it was the way, the only way to become better”, especially at “shooting”.

What is the method? I was told time and again, “get in the gym and put up 300-500 shots every day, or every other day, that’s the only way to improve your shooting.”

This philosophy is no stranger to me.

Last season, I remember reading about the struggles of a young man, who was playing in the NBA yet was still struggling with his shot. The story that I found in the paper – and was all over the internet – explained the angst he was feeling due to his shooting struggle. The picture that accompanied one of the stories showed this player in the gym, in the wee hours of the morning dressed in a hoody, “putting up shots” to get his shot working again. Imagine him in the gym, shooting the same shots over and over (and over and over) again.

What was this player trying to accomplish, exactly? What would deem this exercise in futility…successful or accomplished?

This player apparently had real difficulty during a critical time of the season, post season, and not only did it frustrate him, but the press ran wild with it (as they’re occasionally apt to do, wink wink!).

The irony of this story is that quite a few years ago, this player’s brother recognized the value that his brother would gain from “fixing” his shot, and he had approached me about it. We never trained together, yet. If we had he wouldn’t have been in that predicament. He resorted to all that he knew, “get in the gym and shoot, shoot and shoot. It’ll mysteriously return….”

I’ve come to learn that the repetition of working on shooting is not only a “huge waste of time”, it can actually be counter-productive. That young man has been challenged/haunted his entire basketball life by this issue and will continue to be until his thinking is altered. Then and only then will his “real” issues be addressed.

Michael Jordan had an excellent comment in an interview I came across years ago – it was after he’d been in the NBA 3 or 4 years. It had become evident to Jordan that he needed to find a way to not only improve but to actually stop whatever bad things he was doing that caused him to miss shots. He recognized that he needed to seek the help of a professional to get the results that he wasn’t able to get by just going to the gym “putting up shots” every day. (Jordan is a smart man, that is for sure.)

Jordan was quoted as saying that it occurred to him that he was simply “getting better at doing whatever it was that was causing him to miss”. Not really fixing anything! BRILLIANT! At that time, he was able to go beyond, finally. Progress was made.

Unfortunately, many “shooting coaches” today (and I use the term “coach” loosely) don’t think the same way as Jordan. Today’s coaches are the biggest perpetuators of this myth or misguided advice that repetition is the key to success.

So what IS the problem with shooting repetition, repetition, repetition? Here’s the problem with the rationale: if you are working on your shot, what we suggest by virtue of emphasizing the “repetition” part of it, seems to be the focus…it is simply the number of shots put up, or the number of shots made.

There is no focus on the form or method of shooting, or it’s so de-emphasized that most of the focus and attention is misdirected right from the “git go.” The session is repetition centric, not form/function centric.

By the way, if the focus were correctly placed on the corrective action (or the change in shooting method) that was identified as problematic (or the root of the shooter’s issue), how many repetitions could one expect to perform with enough concentration and focus to allow for an accurately performed or executed “repetition”?

Think about this for a minute. Is there more value in putting up less “correct” shots requiring some evaluation, some thought, than “more” mindless shots. Another, thing to consider; how many correctly performed practice shot attempts can one expect from a 12-year-old or 18-year-old to put up with a real “mindfulness” and evaluation process at work before they lose that ability to critically think about each of those attempted practice shots?

Based on my own experience, as that player, and now, as a teacher of SHOT MAKING, very few is the answer, very few! So, all of the subsequent shots attempted beyond that point become COUNTER PRODUCTIVE OR EVEN HARMFUL to their growth and development in that area.

As I said before, I grew up with this mentality and was certainly motivated to practice hours on end and knew only what I was told, coached, or read about doing – which was that mantra – repetition, repetition, repetition. Which is bad, bad, bad!

It is so harmful and is so widespread that I consider it one of the biggest challenges or hindrances I invariably work to overcome when training both male and female players. And, to compound matters, if it’s not the player him or herself that it is emanating from, it is the player’s father or mother, and likely any and all coaches who come in contact with that player who grew up like I did on that doctrine of repetition, repetition, repetition. These coaches have been brainwashed and refuse to accept any alternative suggestions or strategy as being more beneficial. They refuse to consider that another method can truly yield better results in comparatively short order.

Ignorance comes at a high price, as the end result will be hours of wasted time with less than commensurately good results.

Do you want to find a better way – which will result in better results in a shorter time period ? Then contact me, Roger Galo, today, and we can start the conversation. I am happy to share my insights and ideas, and turn your players into more productive shooters and scorers on the court.