Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson set the record for the most threes scored in a single half: 52 points on January 23, 2015. Seattle Storm shooting guard Jewell Loyd set the record for most points scored in a WNBA Finals game: 38 points on October 4, 2018. Part of both players’ key to success is their ability to get their shots off quickly: watch Klay’s release here and Jewell’s release here. A quick release allows you to get your shot off before the defense can react, giving you a better chance of scoring. This is particularly important when you have a limited amount of time on the shot clock. So today we’ll reveal a few of our favorite basketball shooting drills for a quick release.
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The best ways to develop a quick release for basketball all involve putting constraints on yourself during drills which means playing against a clock or a partner. So grab your best outdoor or indoor basketball and let’s get to work! (If you need a new ball, we recommend the Evolution – size 7 for men, 6 for women, 5 for kids.) Keep track of how you do with each drill below (one of the best basketball apps – Nike’s Homecourt can easily help you track your release speed on every shot – and the basic level is free!) so you can see your progression over time.
This is a partner shooting drill. One player stands on the block at the key, the other stands at the three. The player at the three is the shooter. They dribble in place. The player on the block is the defender. Whenever the defense wants, they run at the shooter for a close out. The shooter tries to make the shot. Switch positions if it’s a miss. If it’s a make, the shooter gets to go again. Play up to whoever gets 3 points first (all threes are 1 point).
This drill is also a partner drill and very similar to the first one. This time the defender starts at the middle of the foul line, while the offensive player is in a mid-range spot. The other difference is that this time play starts on the offensive player’s go. The offensive player dribbles in place. Then whenever they want, they get into a side-step shot. The defense tries to block the shot. Switch positions if it’s a miss. If it’s a make, the shooter gets to go again. Play up to whoever gets 3 points first (all threes are 1 point).
This basketball shooting drill is super simple but effective. And you don’t need a partner. In this drill, you’re going to shoot as many threes as possible in one minute. You can shoot from the same spot or multiple spots. Keep track of your makes, and try to get better each time you do it. As an added challenge, you can also do this same drill with one-dribble pull ups from three or mid-range.
For this drill, you’ll need a partner. You’ll both start at the three line, about 10 feet away from each other. Your goal is to get by the other player and get to their starting spot and make a three first. Your partner’s goal is the same thing. As you dribble by each other, on the way to your new spot, you can both try to knock each other’s basketballs away. Play up to whoever gets 3 points first (all threes are 1 point). Watch this video created by True Point Guard showing this drill in action.
Part of having a good release is developing great, consistent shooting form. This drill will help you do that. Start at the top of the three, with the ball in your non-shooting hand. Get in a low seated position, and pass the ball from your off hand to your shooting hand under your leg (on the side you’re shooting on). Not a bounce under the leg, literally pass the ball in the air from your left hand to your right under your right leg, for example. This forces you stay low and stay in your seat, so it’s easy to rise right into your shot off the one-drill pull up. Pass the ball through your leg, take one dribble with your shooting hand, and then shoot. Get 10 makes to the right and 10 makes to the left. Now, for an extra challenge and to work on your release timing, add in defense if you have a partner. Have the defense start on the lane block and on the offense’s go, rush at you to close out. Switch positions if you don’t score. And play up to 3 points (each basket is one point).
The best day to start improving your release speed is always the current day! So get out there, and get after it. To improve all aspects of your shot, check out the best shooting drills, or basketball shooting drills to increase your range.