I’ve talked to many parents, players, and coaches about the “personal shooting coach” training I’m doing with players from September-March this year. After training over 400 players, including professionals and Division 1 players last year, I decided to stop public training and focus all of my work with 8 kids. Here is a little information about how the idea started, where we are at 2 months in, and what the rest of the season will look like.
I chose 8 players (6 High School and 2 Middle School) after getting many applications from kids all over the area. Players applied for the “shooting coach” program and I selected them this summer. That group is:
1. Jillian Brown – Junior, East Grand Rapids
2. Emma Bruwer – 8th-grade, Lowell
3. Alli Carlson – Sophomore, East Grand Rapids
4. Andrew Carlson – Senior, Rockford
5. Tommy Gregwer – Junior, Grandville
6. Maddie Petrolje – Freshmen, Hudsonville
7. Brooke Toigo – Sophomore, Forest Hills Eastern
8. Trevor Zamarron – 8th-grade, Greenville
While I loved training and impacting so many kids last year, to really dramatically improve shooting, I believe the instruction has to be frequent and more intensive. By going with only 8 players, it’s allowed me to better differentiate drills to meet their needs, get to know them as people, and give them the reps and workouts necessary to make improvements. Each of these players has different strengths, things to work on, and personalities. Their common bond is work ethic, determination, and they come from families who are willing to support their improvement as players and as people.
I really think this program is a unique model that isn’t happening anywhere in Michigan.
The general set-up of the program is for players to have 2 shooting workouts a week during Sept/October to best prepare for the first day of practice. We met over the summer to design what their areas of focus would be and to set % goals for drills most closely tied to skills they wanted to improve.
I checked in with the high school coach of each player, sharing with them the aspects of the program and getting advice on what skills they’d like their player to work on. They shared with me the types of offensive shots/system/sets the player would be involved in during games this winter. They gave me some great feedback and direction. That type of trainer/coach relationship is very uncommon and many coaches shared their appreciation for me reaching out so we could work collaboratively.
We have put in almost 120 workouts over the last 2 months getting them ready for practice starting in the coming weeks.
Players get a copy of their workout after each session and a data-collection page that chronicles their shooting percentage of every drill we’ve ever done. We track everything.
Every 10 sessions, we do an entire data day. On that day, we track all shots, types of makes/misses, comparison from off the dribble to catch and shoot and look at it compared to our last data day.
Kids compare how they are doing with others as the training records for the top 20-25 drills are listed on the website. This has really driven some to continue to improve as they are all very competitive. We don’t hope or think they are becoming better shooters, we either have the numbers to back up the progress or we don’t.
One of the most important skills we are trying to improve is players knowing what their common shooting errors and strengths are. When players start to struggle, we go right back to our fundamental drills and reinforce those key skills. Just like in games, players won’t always have good shooting nights, but they need to know the keys to breaking out of slumps that are sure to come. We’ve spent a lot of time the last 2 months on the mental aspect of shooting. Obviously, the ultimate transfer has to be carrying over our session work into games.
During the season, we will have one workout a week to continue the work we’ve done on their shot. In addition, players will also receive film analysis of every shot they take in games. I’ve developed a shot analysis chart they get sent to them after each game that includes makes/misses on rim finishes, mid-range, mid-range off the bounce, 3’s, and 3’s off the dribble. It includes types of makes (front-rim, swish, back-rim, side-rim), misses (front, back, left, right) as well as assigning a value to each shot from 1-3 based on how good of a shot it is for them to take.
Kids get a copy of those shot charts along with feedback about what shooting components to be mindful of the next week of practice. I will also attend 3-4 of their games in person and we will start shooting percentage goal-setting in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to see how the #MakeShots8 performs in games this winter!
I love investing in kids and supporting them along their basketball journey. We work hard and sessions aren’t always easy, but I try to be a positive voice and support person in a day and age where teenagers really need it. It’s allowed me to connect and reconnect with so many kids. I’m glad to have made this choice to work with the #MakeShots8 and see how helpful I can be to their games and basketball careers. At the end of this season, I’ll decide on whether or not I will be offering the personal shooting coach program next year.