Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Shot selection is often the single-most influential factor when it comes to any team winning or losing a basketball game. The players and team that consistently get the best shots possession after possession over the course of the game are giving themselves the best opportunity to leave the gym with a victory.
Yet why is it that on most possessions, teams are more concerned with the plays they run than the shots they take?
In the best programs, coaches have clearly defined what shots they value most for their team, and the players are aligned with the same language. Here are three things that every coach and player on a team should be able to articulate when it comes to their teams' shot selection:
1. Know the Shots You Want to Get
In the programs I coached, there were two key areas we wanted to get a majority of our shots from (+/- 80%): inside the paint at the rim and outside the three-point line. Each and every player on the team knew that if they want to earn more playing time, they needed to be able to finish at the rim and knock down an open three.
2. Define Every Player's SCOT
Stealing a term from the great Dick DeVenzio, a SCOT is a player's SCoring spOT.
Coaches, you don’t want players that shoot from anywhere at any time. You want players that know the top 2-3 spots you expect him/her to score from (in order of importance), and you should be spending time in practice each day where they're training from those spots.
Players, if you don't know what your defined SCOT is, go ask your coach! Alignment is key on shot selection, and in-game is not when you want to learn what your coach thinks about yours.
3. Stop Settling for "Good"
I found that at the high school level, most players are satisfied with taking “good” shots and most coaches allow “good” shots to be the ones that are consistently taken by their team. Not our teams. We wanted our players to pass on the “good” shots and take advantage of the “great” ones. So many times a “great” shot is just one more pass away, and teams fail to take advantage of it.