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Shot Charts and Individual Improvement

I saw this on ESPN True Hoop:

“In addition to a rigorous offseason training program, Wizards forward Caron Butler attributed his career-high 21.5 points and .481 shooting percentage to the work of shooting coach Dave Hopla, who joined Washington’s coaching staff this season. One of the elements of Hopla’s expertise is shot charting, which is new to Butler and his teammates. It allows a player to see the spots on the floor from which he’s shooting well or poorly. It lets me know what I need to work on,’ Butler said. And with the percentage now, I know from the floor, I’m shooting like 80 [percent] from 16 on in. It gives me confidence. I can come to a spot on the floor and know it’s a good shot. I can be like Coach, I’m shooting 80! It was a good shot!'”

Don’t all teams do this? During my first year as a high school assistant coach, we used shot charts during and after games. I assumed everyone did.

As I interview coaches from different areas for my Hard 2 Guard Player Development Newsletters, few have systems for measuring players’ improvement. When I train players, I track the shots during our workouts and keep a notebook for the players. I know the number of shots attempted in an hour, where they shot from and how many they made. Without these numbers, how do you judge improvement?

With varsity, college or pro players, how do you know if a player is improving if you do not track their shots? Are they shooting a higher percentage because they shoot better shots? Are they only shooting open shots? Have they extended their range of consistency? Why are they improving or not improving?

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