There are a lot of great shooters in the game of basketball, and most of them have different variations in there shot. Some may jump a little higher, shoot it more centered in their body, step 1-2 or hop into their shot, etc. My point is that there is not one exact way to be a great shooter. That being said, there are absolutely details that will increase or decrease your shooting percentage as a player. Great shooters have different variations in their shot, but they all have mastered the details of what goes into a great shot, and that is what we are going to focus on.
Practice Makes Perfect...or Does It?
We have all heard the phrase, "practice makes perfect" and it sounds like a good saying at first. Unfortunately though, it is not true. A more accurate saying would be, "practice makes permanent." This means that if you have bad habits in your shooting form and you continue to practice and practice without correcting them, you are not going to perfect your shot, but instead ingrain those bad habits even further into your shot. This is why it is so important to make sure you are shooting the basketball with the correct form and fundamentals. After you have this then you can start to work on developing muscle memory; "Perfect practice makes perfect."
The Details of How to Shoot a Basketball
When evaluating a players shot I like to use the idea of a plus/minus scoring system. Every good habit that a shooter has is a plus, and every bad habit is obviously a minus. The same thing goes with shooting percentages. For example: if a shooter doesn't get squared up before the shot, stay balanced, doesn't hold their follow through, etc. it all adds up and takes away from the chances of the shot going in. On the other hand, if the player is mentally engaged and is focusing on all the details that go into being a great shooter, their shooting percentage will increase. Great shooters have spent time working on the details, and they are now muscle memory for them.
Here is a breakdown of the shooting details that you should be focusing on.
- Show hands and be down ready before the ball comes to you.
- Consistency in coming into your shot. Whether you hop or 1-2 into your shot, it should be the same way every time.
- Great footwork and balance before EVERY shot will really help to improve the quality of the shot.
Shooting the Ball
- Load the basketball in the shooting pocket. Wrist should be cocked back before the ball gets there.
- Bring the basketball up your body in a straight line. This will allow you to keep your arm under the ball and give you power behind your shot.
- Execute the shot in one smooth motion. Don't pause on the way up. The smoother your shot is, the better range you will have.
- Use your legs to generate power in your shot. You shouldn't feel like you have to push with your arms.
- Land in the same area or slightly forward as you jumped from (unless purposely fading away to get your shot off).
- Hold your follow through until you make or miss, don't pull your follow through or let your hand drift off to the side.
- Try to land on both feet at the same time. Don't kick one leg out as you land, be balanced.
Here is a video that is going to breakdown and highlight some of these shooting details.
How to Shoot a Basketball with Confidence
Shooting is more than just physical skills. It takes mental toughness and having confidence in your shot. Great shooters have the ability to take and make big shots regardless of the pressure. Don't get me wrong though, a lot of confidence comes through the time you spend working on your shot in the gym. That being said, there are going to be nights where you may miss 3 or 4 shots in a row and you need to have the confidence to step up and make your next open shot. Great shooters have a short memory whether they have made or missed their last shot.
Another big part of shooting at a high level is shot selection. If you are shooting low percentage shots, there is a very good chance that you are going to be a poor shooter. It is important that you try to find shots that compliment your game and will be a high percentage shot for you. This means being able to score within the offense and using teammates to help get yourself open.
Conclusion on How to Shoot a Basketball
Great shooters are not made over night. As mentioned before it takes learning the right way to shoot, and then spending hours in the gym perfecting your craft. If you want to be a great shooter you must be willing to get in the gym and spend the time needed.