The Method Used Only By The Worlds Best Shooter


Photo courtesy of Steve Johnson

The man I’m referring to when I mention the ‘worlds best shooter’ is none other than Dave Hopla. Hopla regularly shoots 98+ percent from the floor. A number the rest of us mere mortal coaches and players can only dream of.

Yet as great as he is, for some reason players aren’t copying the methods that he has used (and is still using) to become a great shooter.

The worst thing about it all? It’s not a secret. He’s not hiding it from anyone. He talks about this method on many videos he features in and in many articles published about his shooting… Yet I still see barely any players copying his methods.

Want to know his secret? Here it is…

Dave Hopla records every single shot he takes… Every. Single. Shot.

Something every player needs to start implementing to drastically improve their shooting ability.


5 Reasons Why Recording Your Shots Will Make You a Great Shooter

1. You Cannot Improve What You Don’t Measure.

The best way I’ve found to convince players to start recording their shots is by referring to the weight room. How many people go to the gym without a plan and a record of the previous weight they lifted so they can improve on it? Not many.

Everyone that goes to the gym has a plan and records their completed sets and reps accomplished.

Why do they do this? Because they want to keep improving. If they didn’t record the amount weight they lifted and for how many repetitions then they wouldn’t know if they’re making any progress or not.

Imagine going to the gym and just chucking on the closest weight you can find. Think you’re going to make any strength gains doing that? Doubt it. But it’s basically what’s happening every time players are going to the gym and to ‘get up some shots’. Players head down to the gym and start shooting from where ever they feel like that day.

Why would improving shooting ability be any different from the weight room? Why do we keep track of our training in the weight room but not on the basketball court? It doesn’t make sense.


2. It Makes Every Shot Important

When your players are just in the gym getting up shots most of the time they mean nothing. They’re not at game speed. The player isn’t mentally locked in. There’s no pressure on the shot. And all this ends up with players shooting half-hearted not really caring whether the ball goes through the hoop or not.

How much is that going to help improve your shooting ability? Not very.

When you’re recording your makes, every single shot is important and your brain knows it. You’re locked in. You’re concentrating on your technique.


3. You Can Set Goals

Each day the player steps into the gym they’ll have a goal to strive for. You’ll know your previous best and your average and will want to perform better than both of them.

By setting goals you’ll be able to challenge yourself each time you step onto the court.

And when you get down to the last couple of shots you’re taking to achieve your personal best it’s not much different to shooting the ball in crunch time in a real game. That’s pressure you won’t get from regular shooting.


4. You Will See Improvements

The problem with improving is that it’s a slow and gradual process. And because the improvements players make are so gradual, players will hardly ever notice the improvement they’ve made in their shooting ability.

This can be a motivation killer for a lot of players.

How often have you heard a player comment “I put in so much effort but it’s just not working!”. Little have they realised that they’ve gone from shooting 60% from the free-throw line to 70% but haven’t even noticed a change.

The change is so gradual that they will adapt to it along the way without noting the success of the hard work they’ve put in.

By recording your shots you’ll see the undeniable proof of the improvement in the data.

Players will be able to look at the data and see that the extra shooting practice they’re putting in is worth it and it will encourage them to do more and keep improving.


5. You Will See Your Weak Areas

The data doesn’t lie.

I’ve talked to many players that claim to be great three-point shooters, but if they started recording the makes and misses they actually shoot, I’m sure a lot would take back that statement.

Recording your shots will tell you the areas of the floor you should be looking to shoot from during games, and also the areas you need to focus more on improving in practice.


What’s next?

If you’re a coach and want to see your players improve their shooting ability, you should share this article with your players. That could mean sending them this article via e-mail, printing out copies to give to your players at training, or sharing it on social media sites.

If you’re a player: Take this advice and use it. It will help you improve. The greatest shooter in the world does it. Why don’t you?

PS: If you want to connect with Dave Hopla, you can do so by visiting him on his website or on Twitter.

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  • RJ

    Poor shooting mechanics is ruining the game. Too much dribbling too.

    • As soon as the 3-point line got brought in things went downhill…

  • Nathan F

    I go to a gym every morning by myself and do different shooting routines. I fully agree with this post because I organically arrived at the same conclusions. I initially started with just shooting around. then I started sessions where I would keep moving until I hit 100 mid-range jumpers. So, a jump shot from top of key goes in or not, you jog to get the ball and dribble it back out to mid-range area and shoot again. You keep going until you have made 100. Then I would graduate to doing 200. I also would do the same game but with three-pointers. My problem with that is the extra long rebounds and running and the difficulty in doing more than 50. After stagnating with these drills, I realized it was because there was no tangible downside to a missed shot. Yes it would be a wasted opportunity and would cause me to run to the rebound but there wasn’t a negative I could quantity. So, I then started tracking my percentages, saying I do the mid-range running game but need to hit 100 shots and at least 50%. If I am below 50% and have hit 100 shots then I need to keep shooting till I climb to 50%.

    I know it sounds simply but its not as easy to keep track of while running around (and listening to podcasts, which I do while I shoot with headphones) so I started doing the +1/-1 for each shot. The same mid-range running routine however a +1 for a made shot and -1 for a missed shot. And +2/-2 for 3-pointers.

    So, I absolutely agree that there needs to be meaning to each shot. My accuracy has absolutely improved, as well as my motivations. I would love to implement the idea of tracking each shot bu I don’t see how that is practical without someone else doing it for you. Are there any tips or creative ways to track shots that I haven’t thought of? Any help would really be appreciated because I am essentially the exact person this blog (and many of these posts) are speaking to.

    PS I started this routine after being out with a knee injury for a long while. I didn’t have surgery but was away from the game for 2 straight winters so I started this routine to get my game back to an acceptable level prior to playing in a competitive game. And once I got going, I feel in love with the time alone and my ability to hone my shooting skills.

    • Hey Nathan,

      First, thank you for taking the time to write such a long and meaningful post.

      I agree that shooting that many three-pointers in a row without a rebounder is a daunting task. Do you have any team-mates or friends that need to work on their game? Then you could make 20 each and keep switching over.

      But I do disagree that there is no tangible downside to missing the shot though. When you start tracking makes/misses there is pressure on every shot. Everyone wants to shoot better than the previous time they were in the gym.

      I have my players carry a print-out page of their workout and a pen to all of their individual practices to keep track of their shots. I’ve never found them to have many problems with the tracking. It would be much more difficult for you though since you like to listen to podcasts as you shoot. Maybe you need to get rid of the headphones? 😉

      I hope I answered all of your questions Nathan.

      Let me know how you go.

      – Coach Mac

  • Ah of course 🙂 Sorry must have mis-read that.

    In my experience, yes. Unless you’re lucky enough to have someone else there helping you. Check out one of my shooting workouts on this blog. I don’t get players to make 100 in a row which would make it hard to keep track. They usually only need to make about 8 – 10 before moving onto a different shot. Which is a lot easier than keeping track of 100!

  • That’s awesome! Keep up the hard work Nathan. Love when players push themselves.

    Good luck!

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