Tray Shooting Drill

Players must focus on balance, elbow position, ball position and follow-through if they are to master the fundamentals of properly shooting a basketball

Watching a Ray Allen jump shot is a thing of beauty. With the ball in his hands, Allen’s feet are shoulder-width apart to provide balance. His right foot is positioned slightly (a couple of inches) ahead of his left one. His knees bend quickly to provide maximum lift in the shortest amount of time and effort. His elbow position is the same every time as he raises the ball just over his head and releases at the pinnacle of his elevation. The follow-through is a quick snap of the wrist, which he then holds momentarily in the air as the ball leaves his fingertips to arc toward the basket.

No movement is wasted. He’s completed this process hundreds of thousands of times – in the gym with a partner, before practice with a coach, before a game with a teammate or in front of 20,000 screaming fans with a 7-footer closing out on him with a hand in his face.

It’s no mistake Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made. He takes great pride in his shot and spends several hours every day of the year honing his craft in preparation for when he’s needed to nail a clutch, late-game 3-pointer.

Show your players footage of Allen shooting jumpers. Have them watch his fluid movements in slow motion:

Mark Adams, a professional basketball skills trainer and clinician based out of North Carolina, says Allen’s shot is pure due to the B.E.E.F. philosophy on shooting. This stands for: Balance (position of the feet), Elbow (keeping it in and making the shape of an “L”), Eyebrow (holding the ball just above the eyebrow of the shooting hand) and Follow-Through (snapping down the wrist with the middle finger as the last to touch the ball).

Adams says the best way for young players to develop a deadly shot is to run the Tray Shooting Drill (named for how the ball looks on the player’s hand – as if he or she is holding food on a tray) on a daily basis while thinking about the B.E.E.F. principles. Simply have players stand two to four feet from the basket, place the ball on their shooting hand, hold it like a waiter holds food, focus on the B.E.E.F. principles and complete the shot over and over again.


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