One thing that makes basketball such a great sport to practice is that you get a little physchological reward every time the ball goes through the hoop.
It's a small effect, but this little release of dopamine in the brain actually makes you feel happier.
Every little success makes you feel positive and spurs you on to greater things.
Make sure you read the Get the most out of your practice page first. It's important to practice in a way that will help you to progress and this means knowing what stage of the process you're at to start with.
We're aiming for the movements, the 'mechanics' of our shot to become automatic so that we don't even have to think about it, it just happens.
This means repetition.
There's just no point in repeating the wrong movements and making them automatic because you'll have to spend hours, weeks, years trying to unlearn it later when you find that your percentage is just not improving.
Watch this video about Steph Curry and you'll see what I mean.
There are endless videos on Youtube about how to shoot correctly. Not all of the coaches agree on all aspects but, if you watch a few, you'll quickly find the things that they all do agree on. With the other stuff, you can experiment and see what works for you.
This video is by a woman. This a good thing because women are characteristically less beefy than men and so they have to get the mechanics right in order to get range. If you can't make the distance then it's not your triceps you need to work on, it's your form.
Everybody loves the half court shot. Practice out of your range, though, and you'll ruin your mechanics. It's really important that you start close in whenever you practice your shooting and then extend the range as you start to 'get your eye in'. The low block is a good place to start.
If at any point, you're having to put great effort into making the distance then you need to go back to your mechanics and work out what's wrong.
Free throws are important for winning games and they help to improve your shooting form. When you go to the line in a game you don't have ten shots to get 'zeroed in' so you should shoot them in 2's when you practice.
Whenever there is a natural break (after 20 shots or when you move from one distance to another) then take two free throws. If you miss one, take another until you hit 2 in a row.
This is a version of 'Around the world'.
Take a shot from each of the spots in turn. If you make it then move on. If you miss it then you count the miss and move back a space. The aim is to get all the way around with the fewest misses.
No's 2 and 11 are bank shots. No 6 is a free throw so take your time. For No 7 it's a good idea to bank it in off the back board.
Two or three man version.
Take it in turns to take a shot and when you miss one it's the other players turn. When he misses one you go one space back from where you missed. The first to make it all the way round wins.
Why's this a good game?
Firstly it moves you between shots so each one is a different distance and a different kind of shot.
Secondly it's measurable. If you get around with 11 misses the first time then you can keep track and watch your number come down week on week as you progress.
Thirdly, you'll find which shots you're missing the most and you can concentrate on improving those ones by putting in some extra reps.
There's a bonus video here that I made for the U18's to help with thier jump shooting:Shooting Ball-path
Click on the resources below to take you to some more information on how to manage and structure your practice and for specific ideas for drills and skills.