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Another drill for teaching Good Shot Selection

In football … managing the clock and maintaining possession is a core concept that virtually all players buy into. In basketball… not so much. It’s not that uncommon for high school basketball players to play with little regard for time and score, or as if a decent shot is one that hits the rim or isn’t blocked. But despite this overlook, smart decisons and possessions are just as essential in basketball as in football.

Tempo does not necessarily determine good shots

Tempo is a key concept because the game ending is determined by a clock, not the score. But to think that a slow tempo will always equal good shots and a fast tempo will result in poor shots is not a good assumption. They can, but they are not synonymous. What does equal a good shot is the whole team knowing exactly what a good shot looks like, valuing it, and then being willing to make the extra pass to get it.

Shot Selection is difficult to teach

This subject is much easier talked about than taught... but telling isn't teaching. Football has the advantage here because after each play, the action stops and the coaches can intervene. But basketball is fluid and continuous and way more decisions are left to the player's to make on the spot. So you're not only developing skills, but decision making abilities as well. To do so, it's important to know that your words alone have very limited value. For your players to develop new insights and habits... they'll have to learn from their own experience. Our job is then to put them in situations where their experience and the associated consequences do the bulk of the teaching.

Another drill that teaches

So I’ve been on a search to find or create new ways to teach this key concept of Good Shot Selection. Here’s a drill that will help. It’s really just one simple adjustment to any game situation you create. At this point I'm just calling it...

Casino Basketball… In a casino, chips are limited and when yours are gone, you’re out. Therefore everyone understands that chips are of great value. In Casino Basketball, shots = chips. Once a team has used up their allotment, their team is done (offensively).


  • Create a game… 3 on 3, 4 on 4, or 5 on 5 (full or half court)

  • Determine the number of shots allotted (10 or fewer, the smaller the number the greater the value of each shot)

  • Once a team has used up all of their alloted shots, they can only play defense.

  • The game is over when both teams have used up their shot allotment (not when you reach a certain score or time runs out)

  • TO = shot

  • Create rewards and consequences for winners and losers ... it helps increase the value of each possession (which is what you are trying to teach)


  • Play a series of short games (best out of 3 or 5), consequences then go to the loser of the series.

  • Play a series of 1 shot games.

  • Play a 3 on 3 round robin, rank teams based on their standings at the end

The simple goal is to teach them to value each possession and to work together to get the best shot they can as a team. You’ll see players coaching their teammates when poor shots are taken... and that's a really good thing.

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