Former NBA shooting coach gives local players a free lesson

  • Shooting coach Dave Hopla gave a free clinic for local basketball players on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, July 03, 2017 11:29AM

Over 100 local basketballers got a free lesson from a former NBA shooting coach at Conant High School on Thursday.

Thanks to Jaffrey referee Dennis Wright, Dave Springfield’s Pure Shot Camps expanded to host Dave Hopla, who up until the end of last season was the shooting coach for the Detroit Pistons.

Hopla preached positive thinking and terminology, hard work and lots of practice to the packed gym — all the while, hitting shot after shot.

“Think about how hard that is,” said Springfield, no slouch of a shooter himself. “If you had to give a speech and think about what you were going to say, but also concentrate on making every shot?”

A foul shot? Save those for the likes of Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan. A positive-thinking shooter will take a “free shot” from the charity stripe, Hopla said, instructing the young campers to visualize a swish on every shot.

Hopla said he’s kept track of every shot he’s taken since he was a teenager, and he kept that up on Thursday, handing over his notebook to starry-eyed future ConVal player Hannah Goen.

“It was crazy, it was insane,” Goen said of the shooting display. She marked down every make and miss, and at the end of the hour-and-a-half talk, Hopla had made 333 of 340 shots.

The affable-yet-abrasive Hopla pulled no punches.

“[The worst thing a young shooter can do is] run out to the three point line immediately,” Hopla said. “Especially with Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, with Steph having unlimited range, but they don’t realize all the work Steph worked on that – and his father never let Steph shoot outside the key until he got older.”

Curry has bred a generation of young players who live for the three-ball, but Hopla said if players really want to emulate a distance shooter, they just have to look one slot over in the Warriors’ lineup.

“Klay Thompson — look at his 60-point game,” Hopla said. “He only had 11 dribbles.”

The presentation had young and old alike fired up to go hit some shots, in hopes of improving their stroke. And will Hopla’s advice make them better shooters?

“After I practice, yeah,” Goen said.

To sign up for the remainder of the Pure Shot Camps, visit jaffrey.recdesk.com.