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By Jon Dyer | How I taught my son to shoot:  a parent's and coaches' guide

Prelude by Janx

Over the coming months I am very excited that I will be enlisting some guest bloggers. This is very exciting indeed. I will leverage some great people I know to provide highly specialised insights into areas of interest for broader audiences.

I wanted to get a blog up for parents and coaches alike who are looking to support their athletes/children become better shooters and I could think of no one better to do this than Jon Dyer. Even if you are a coach, with your own children, that you want to help, then Jon will provide some great insights for sure.

I've recently met Jon and gotten to know what a great basketball guy he is. With a strong passion for the game, he has played both locally and internationally, whilst a good player at junior and state league level he would suggest he is a bit of a basketball tragic with his extreme-passion for the game.

I currently coach Jon's son. His son's team won the U14 National Championships last year, emerging as the best junior team in Australia, and his son has been noted as arguably the best shooter in Australia. Watch the video above. This kid is an "elite" shooter for his age group as the video above will show.

His son is self-driven, with a similar love for the game as Dad and you can see they share a very tight bond. I've now seen Jon's son shooting a lot over the past 6 months and I have hardly ever seen a bottom aged U16 player with his shooting ability or great technique. I know that Jon has done a lot of work with his son's development, so I have asked Jon to write an article on developing shooting technique which I think will appeal to both parents and coaches too.

Over to Jon

I was recently asked ‘What made your son an elite shooter?’ I pondered on this for a while and realized it was actually a process that started several years ago. It didn’t just happen.

It is a progression, it’s taken thousands of hours to become a great shooter, not one main skill or drill.

When he was 7 we started with small goals and games that revolved around form shooting close to the basket then holding his follow through until the ball had hit the ground. Make ten, make 20, make 30. This has been the foundation of his amazing shooting and accuracy. One handed, elbow in, follow through at your target, arc your shot, aim for the back of the rim!

Then we moved to jump shots off the pass outside the charge circle and focusing on your arc and target. Make 40, make 50, make 60. Then learning to catch the ball off a spin out and he worked on foot work to be ready when you have received the ball. Make 70, 80, 90. Free throws were a different challenge and I enjoyed showing the free throw routine of NBA players. What they did, what it looked like, where are their eyes, is it an efficient style. This was also a great chance to have a laugh about weird and unique styles. My favourite style was always MJ, three bounces, ball spin then swish the foul shot! My son has learnt to create his own routine and rhythm rather than copy someone else but he was inspired by the greats.

When he was about 10 years old and strong enough we decided he could attempt shots from the three point line. I am a huge advocate for waiting to include three point shooting into a young athletes repertoire. It brings a whole new set of challenges, more legs, less margin for error and discipline to keep form and not ‘throw’ the ball when trying to make the distance.

To make practicing even more engaging we painted a chalk board next to our hoop at home. We videoed his shooting on the iPad and then reviewed and this included any game film we had. My son loved the challenge of improving and beating his previous shooting percentages score and eventually trying to beat mine. In 2012 he had a very smart coach who had them record every shot make they did while practicing. In the first 6 months 2014 he shot and recorded over 10,000 shots. He was age 12 at the time and has maintained this work ethic and discipline.

He is 14 now and learning to make quicker and better decisions. Shot selection and wanting to be a scorer all over the court not just at the three point line.

He is learning that shooting is a confidence skill as well as a physical skill and both can be mastered with discipline and work ethic. My biggest tip for parents is to encourage your child to record their shots and percentages, try to improve, work at it, reflect on what you can do better, encourage your child to self-teach and self-correct.

The process has been amazing for my son and me. We have had good times and tough times, good shooting performances and bad ones. We have had tears and hard conversations but through this process he has never quit trying to improve and is now more determine than ever!

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