August 30, 2019 • OffenseWinning Hoops

The ABCs of shot selection

by Marc Comstock, contributing writer

One of a coach’s toughest jobs is teaching shot selection. To eliminate any confusion among our players, we clearly identify the four areas on the floor from where our shots should come. We define the acceptable shooting percentages for those shots, how to create quality shots, and break down how we chart them. We need players to know the difference between good, tough or bad shots.

The DIAGRAM shows the four areas on the floor where our shots come from. Our acceptable standards for each of the five shots are as follows:
• ‘A’ shots: 90 percent
• ‘B’ shots: 70 percent
• ‘C’ shots: 45 percent
• ‘D’ shots: 38 percent
• Free throws: 70 percent

Like any team, our goal is to attempt and make as many shots as possible. But I need players to understand how shots in each of these areas are created.

‘A’ shots

These come from transition layups, offensive rebounds, post scoring moves facing away from the basket, dribble penetration, feeds off of penetration, cutting action layups, screening action layups, and endline out-of-bounds plays.

‘B’ shots

These are transition spot-ups, offensive rebounds, post scoring while facing the basket, soft area feeds from penetration (short corner), out-cuts after screening, and endline out-of-bounds plays.

‘C’ shots

We feel this is the most difficult shooting area on the floor. Shots occur off the dribble, usually aggressively contested and typically with poor balance. We want our players to create A, B and D shots by driving through the C area on the floor.

‘D’ shots

The D area is catch-and-shoot space, not a dribble area. We want our 3-point shots to come in rhythm and uncontested. On an aggressive closeout or fly-by, we shot fake and relocate for a D shot. We also drive to bring help, creating offense for others.

We create D shots through transition; inside-outside feeds from the post; deliveries from the C-area; and off of single, double or staggered screens. We also use out-of-bounds plays, off sets for 3-point shooters, fill from behind on dribble-drive, and pick-and-pop action.

The game plan

Our priority is to attempt and make as many A shots as possible in each game. We follow by looking for B shots, and then D shots.

It’s extremely important that players understand the difference between good, bad and tough shots. We constantly work with our players in practices, individual workouts and film sessions to educate them on the what, where, when, and why of shot selection.

As a coach, you must teach your players:
• Who: Which players get to take the most shots.
• What: Identify each player’s range and limitations on the court.
• Where: Which spots on the floor we want our shots.
• When: We want ball movement before shots are attempted.
• Why: This is dictated by score, shot clock, game clock or the “hot hand.”

We try to eliminate bad shots. We accept the fact that we will take some tough shots, but ultimately we’re trying to create as many good shots as possible. At halftime of every game, we post our shot chart for all the players to see.

Our coaching staff constantly tries to teach players the importance of shot selection. The players must understand where we want most of our shots to occur, the acceptable percentages from the four areas on the floor, and how to create uncontested A, B, and D shots. When you spend time each day to teach and educate your players on shot selection, you start to eliminate bad and tough shots while making your players more conscious of taking mostly good, uncontested shots. We’re not interested in shots we can make; we want shots we can’t miss.