What is a good percentage for making baskets when practicing/shooting around?

I was told 2 things for shooting by 2 different ppl. One person said since no one is guarding me when practicing/shooting around, I should make all my shots. This is very improbable since even the best pro shoots ~90% from the FT line. Another case in point, even the pros won't hit all their shots when no one is guarding (I think Charles Barkley said something about how impossible it is for Curry to have hit 70 3ptrs in a row during practice or whatever he said during the 2015 playoffs)

Another person told me that when we practice shooting around, if we hit ~70% of our shots, that's good enough. This makes a little more sense since:

  1. We're not perfect and
  2. If someone is guarding us, that percentage will drop, e.g. if I shot 10% from a spot when no one is guarding me, I'll probably be shooting 3% WITH someone guarding me

So that brings us to my original question, what is a good percentage to shoot at when practicing so that I know I have decent proficiency from that spot/area?

  • Your shooting % does not matter in practice, that's why it is practice, you want to take as many shots as possible to help increase your % during games. The more shots you take in practice the better it doesn't matter if they go in or not that's why it's practice. – Ary_Vandelay17 Jul 8 '15 at 21:25
  • I think this is not answerable. Are you Tim Duncan? Stephan Marbury? Ray Allen? Shaq? Me? Each will have a different number, and even within different areas. – Joe Jul 9 '15 at 20:58
  • Agreed with Joe. There's no way any of us could know how good you are. Your FG% will flucuate from day to day anyway. Even the best shooters have an off day in practice. – New-To-IT Jul 9 '15 at 21:41

It depends where you are shooting from, your skills, and your technique.

Below are my expectations for high school teams (boys) I have coached:

  • layups unguarded - 100%.
  • Within 5 feet of the basket unguarded - 90%
  • Free throws 80%
  • 3 pointers - 50% for those who should be practicing them

I would expect a good college three point shooter to make 60-70% of his 3s in practice however this differs by kid. I have coached kids that make close to 80% of their threes with no one on them and in games barely get to 30%. And then on the same team there is a kid who is having a great day at practice if he hits 50% of his 3s but in games hits 40%. It is a matter of how well the kid can tune out their opponent, how they handle pressure, and how they maintain and judge spacing.

Also we try to have a guarder on our practice shooters. I ask the kids when not shooting to stand 4-5 feet in front of the shooter. This really helps kids shoot better in games and one of the best routines to get in.

Now the question is - what is your form. There is no use in letting a kid sit there and take 10 seconds to shoot like they are playing horse. The whole point of practicing is letting your body learn good habits. Catching the ball quickly, quickly getting your hands in position and the ball out, 90 degrees, quick back, and then follow through... over and over.

What really separates the good shooters from the people who like to shoot is how focused they are on keeping proper technique the entire time. Over time with close to perfect technique you can get your shot off twice as fast as your average player. Meaning you more or less need half the spacing to get your shot off - which means a higher % in the games compared to unguarded.

The last part seems obvious but I haven't touched on it yet. You ask what a good shooting percentage and I gave you some baselines. But I don't just let the kids sit around and shoot. We run first. A lot. It is really easy to hit 10 shots with a slight fade to the left and back. Really hard to have that fade and be consistent when your legs are tired. On the same thought there are things that each person's body does to compensate for them being tired. Most of practicing is reducing those things. Do your knee buckle in a bit, do your hips turn up to fast, does your feet spray out? Very likely not until you get a little fatigued before shooting.

  • Just watch Stephen Curry for an example of a lightning quick trigger. For form I would look at Allen, Nash, Stockton... The #1 issue with most "shooters" is a reverse hitch. Most guys when they have the ball "even" bring it down and out a little before they cock it back. This is a REALLY hard hitch to get rid of and it kills you in game situations. – Coach-D Jul 14 '15 at 16:11

Shooting is a repetition skill. You are efforting to replicate the mechanics of the shot over time - and here time equals number of attempts. The intention for shooting is ALWAYS to make the shot and this is where the concept of "making every shot" comes from. You are trying to pitch the perfect game in order to reinforce muscle memory - and of course there will be misses.

Try not to shoot for percentage. Shoot for makes and replicate your motion until it's unconsciously competent. Get in the gym and shoot to make 300 shots. Do this from various spots on the floor and at game speed. When that becomes "easy" go for 500.

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