This piece you’re about to read, was written by one of my players a few years ago. The improvement over the years from her was truly amazing. This is her story.
Written by Laura Stokes
Every player in a team holds certain responsibilities within the team and as individuals. As a goal shooter in a team, you have the added responsibility of putting the ball through the ring and scoring goals for your team. This means that not only do you have to complete the same fitness, strength and court sessions that the rest of the team attend, but you must also complete shooting sessions.
Each coach and player have their own expectations of how accurate their shooters should be, however I have always focused on achieving 80% accuracy as a minimum. To achieve this, a goaler must do their own shooting practice in their own time, as well as practice whilst at training.
Every court session that our team does, the goalers are always there 30mins before the rest of the team. If training starts at 6.30pm, then the shooters are there at 6.00pm. During this time we complete various shooting cards, which include technique training as well as shooting practice while fatigued. It usually takes 30mins to complete one shooting card and these often involve a lot of skipping and court sprints to ensure you are shooting whilst your muscles are fatigued, therefore simulating a real match.
As an individual, I like to shoot for approx 30mins most days of the week. I generally complete a technique circuit, focusing on the ball going through the hoop without touching the ring. This ensures that the shot is a ‘perfect’ shot. Practicing the perfect shot increases the chances of performing a perfect shot whilst in a game situation. Practice is always going to be easier than match situations, as you do not have a defender or the pressure of a tight match, so you need to ensure you are performing that perfect shot during practice to ensure you have the best chance of getting the ball through the ring while under pressure in a game. Whilst practicing, each shooter should have a few key words that they say to themselves as they take the shot. This can be anything that triggers the shooter to perform that perfect shot. I like to use the words “bend and flick” to remind me to bend my knees and follow through on the shot.
On game day, I like to arrive at the stadium 90 minutes before the game. This allows me to spend about 20-30mins shooting on my own before the rest of the team arrives. This time helps me to focus on what I need to do individually, and helps me feel settled in my shot. Each shooter should try and have a pre-game routine to help them feel confident in there shot. It may be that you put up some shots earlier in the morning on game day, or you arrive early at the game and shoot on your own for 20mins. Finding your own routine helps you to feel confident going into the game that you have done everything you can to be the best shooter you can be for your team.
As with any skill, the more practice you do, the easier it will be when in a pressure situation. Shooting is a skill that needs to be practiced and repeated regularly, so that in a game it is almost an automated shot. Consistency in your shooting routine is the key to accuracy on court.