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Paul Westhead Drill

A combination of visualizing and actual shooting

Purpose – To develop:

  • hand-eye coordination;
  • “muscle memory” (using physical and mental practice to create an automatic shooting motion)

This drill is adapted from Paul Westhead. He has been a college and professional basketball coach for about 30 years. He coached Magic Johnson and the Lakers to the championship back in 1979-80, Magic’s rookie season.

This combines real practice and visualization for helping you to become a better shooter. The combination of real shots and visualized shots and shots with your eyes closed will build muscle memory, so that when you are shooting in a game, it will be like a natural reflex.

The drill:

  1. Shoot five shots (physical practice)

  2. Picture five successful shots in your mind (mental practice)

  3. Shoot five more shots (physical)

  4. Close your eyes and picture five successful shots (mental)

  5. Open your eyes and shoot five (physical)

  6. Take five real shots with your eyes closed (physical and mental)

  7. Open your eyes and shoot five (physical)

When you start doing this drill, stay close to the basket and go at a nice slow pace so you can focus on using the proper shooting techniques with your footwork, release, and follow-through, etc.

As you become successful doing this drill, you can gradually go faster toward game speed and move out further on the court. Over time, you’ll build your muscle memory so that your shooting routine will be a natural reflex.