4 Shooting Machine Tips for Young Basketball Players

You're not guaranteed a quality workout just because you've got The Gun. As with any piece of equipment, there are ways to maximize the machine's benefits.

"The Gun" by Shoot-A-Way is a shooting machine that has revolutionized the way basketball players train on their own. The machines can be found in gyms everywhere because they help players achieve a larger volume of jump shot repetitions.

By collecting rebounds and launching passes, The Gun eliminates the need to have a parter to get in an efficient shooting workout. But you're not guaranteed a quality workout just because you've got The Gun involved. Like any piece of equipment, there are ways to maximize the machine's benefits. With that in mind, here are four shooting machine tips for young basketball players.

1. Quality>Quantity

You can find lots of evidence of basketball players posting pictures on social media of the large number of shots they took using The Gun (because the machine can track and display shots taken and shots made). And part of the beauty of The Gun is that, if you want, you can get 300, 400, 500-plus shots up in a pretty timely manner because you simply have to stand, catch and shoot.

But taking hundreds of jump shots, especially in a monotonous fashion, can cause fatigue and negatively affect your form. So it's important to remember that though repetition is important, the quality of the rep is even more important. Sloppy reps with poor form can do more harm than good by creating bad habits. As you train with a shooting machine, be conscious of the quality of your shooting form. Am I getting lift? Am I following through? Is my release fluid? These questions will help you pay attention to the quality of your shots and ensure you're always improving.

2. Have a Plan

Your shooting machine workout will be much more efficient and effective if you go into it with a specific plan. First things first, you should plan to make rather than take a certain number of shots because makes will be more indicative of quality repetitions. Plan how many shots you want to make, what spots you want to use, what types of shots you want to take, and finally how many of each type of shot you want to make at each spot.

For example, you might say:

"I want to make 100 shots using five spots on the floor—both baselines, both wings and the top of the key. So that is 20 made shots at each spot, and I would like to split that evenly between midrange shots and 3's so I will make 10 midrange shots and 10 3-point shots at each spot."

You can make it even more specific by incorporating pull-ups, step-backs, etc. until you accomplish exactly what it is you want to work on.

3. Adjust the Settings

The most basic shooting machine still allows you to adjust the time elapsed between each pass and the strength at which the machine launches each pass. Make sure when setting up The Gun, you alter these settings so you are receiving a good pass and not having to bend too low or reach too high before getting into your shot. Also, make sure you are receiving passes at a fast enough pace so you are not waiting too long for each pass and can shoot in rhythm, but not so fast that you can't land and hold your follow-through for a second after each shot.

4. Mix it Up

Shooting many shots from one spot before moving on to the next can be quite productive, but The Gun also has a helpful "Position B" setting that can help you practice shooting on the move. In this setting, the machine will launch one pass and then rotate so the following pass will be in the next spot over. For example, the machine could pass it to you on the baseline, then the next pass will be at the wing, then the top of the key, then the opposite wing, then the opposite baseline, etc. This forces you to shoot on the move while also incorporating some conditioning, which can make your workout even more effective.

Photo Credit: Shootaway.com