8 Keys to Becoming a Great Shooter in Basketball

8 Keys to Becoming a Great Shooter in Basketball

This article was written by Basketball HQ co-founder Kyle Ohman. Coach Ohman is a skill development trainer, high school basketball coach, and camp director/instructor worldwide. Kyle also has a background in playing as well. He was a 1,000 point scorer at Liberty University and was ranked the 19th best shooter his senior year by Fox Sports. After college, he played professionally in Europe. 


1. Mental Toughness as Shooter

  • Confidence
  • Short Memory
    • Realizes that the only shot that matters is the next shot
    • May miss a few shots in a row, but doesn’t keep you from shooting the next quality shot that comes their way
  • Fight Through Fatigue
  • Desire to Take Big Shots
    • Actively looks to take the big shot at the end of a game
    • Wants the ball at the end of the game and trusts their shot


2. Basketball Shooting Fundamentals

  • Shot Preparation
  • Shooting the Ball
    • Catches ball in the shooting pocket with the wrist cocked
    • The ball comes straight up the body
    • Shoots the ball in one smooth motion
    • Uses legs correctly to help improve shooting range
  • Follow Through
    • Lands in the same area as they jumped from (unless purposely fading away or drifting to get the shot off)
    • Hand in the basket until the shot is made or missed
    • Doesn’t practice poor habits like kicking a leg out

3. Shot Selection

  • Quality of Shot
    • Understands the difference between a high and low percentage shot
    • Understands personal shooting strengths and weaknesses
    • Avoids shooting the shots that they are weak in, i.e., step back, hang dribble, etc. (this list is different for each shooter)
  • Trust Teammates
    • Is willing to give the ball up early in a possession to get it back later for a better shot
  • Heating Up
    • Knows when their shot is falling and how to be aggressive when it is
    • Knows when an easy shot is needed to get going or to get back on track


4. Basketball Game Flow

  • Time and Score
  • Momentum Score
    • Can make a big shot to answer the other team’s run
    • Can make a big shot to put the dagger into the other team


5. Game-Speed Basketball Shooting

  • Shooting Drills
  • Types of Shots
    • Works on multiple types of shots
    • Doesn’t avoid weaknesses when training

* List of Basketball Shooting Drills


6. Move Without the Ball

  • Uses Screens
  • Hard Cuts
    • Reads their defender and then makes the appropriate cut to get open
  • Spacing
    • Creates a passing lane for the passer by sliding up or down on penetration and post feeds


7. Basketball Conditioning


8. Exploits the Scouting Report Defense

  • Penetration
    • Can make the defense pay on an over-closeout
  • Efficient Use of Dribbles
  • Shot Fake
    • Recognizes scouting report defense and uses shot fake to exploit it
    • Use the shot fake to get past the defender and also to draw fouls



8 Keys to Becoming a Great Shooter in Basketball Conclusion

One of the words that can be closely associated with a great shooter is efficiency. There are many shooters out there that average a lot of points, but they are also averaging a lot of shots. These players are”volume shooters,” and they are rarely associated with winning basketball teams. Great shooters can take and make shots at a high percentage, which helps their team win games. They recognize that this is their “role” on the team, and they do their best to help the team win.

As you can see from this list, a great shooter is comprised of many different things. Some good shooters check off some of these points, but only great shooters have really mastered all of these different areas. If you desire to be a great shooter, look through this list and figure out which areas you are strong at and which areas you are weak at.

After this, it is up to you to spend time working on these different areas. Don’t avoid your weaknesses when you go to the gym to do your basketball training. You want to maximize your strengths as a shooter, but you also want to limit your weaknesses. The only way to do that is by spending time working on your weaknesses.

If there is one thing that you take away from this basketball article, take this. GREAT SHOOTERS ARE MADE IN THE GYM. Some shooters are more naturally gifted, but there has never been a great shooter in the history of the game that hasn’t put countless hours into their shot.



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13 Responses

  1. Muscle memory is acquired through repetition. In a game when you shoot the ball without thinking about it, you rely on muscle memory. Game speed is determined by how you fast you would shoot the ball in an actual game. You want to practice at game speed so you are prepared for the way you should shoot in a game.

  2. Can you explain how to shoot a one motion shot like Stephen Curry, is rhythm created when there’s no pause between raising the ball and the release, and how to correctly use the legs?

  3. Could you explain how to shoot a one motion shot like Steph Curry and how to correctly use the legs? Also is rhythm created when there’s no interruption between raising the ball and releasing it?

  4. Shooting in one motion is about preparation before the shot. I always try to drill into our kids the ideas of “hips down” on the catch so they are ready to catch and shoot. The same would be true on kids trying to use the dribble to create the shot; sink your “hips down” as you move into your shot to create better rhythm.
    The other idea of preparation is for kids to use their feet to catch a pass. A quality shot is created by a quality pass, but not every pass is going to hit the shooting the shot pocket. Drill kids to catch an imperfect pass with their feet active rather than leaning their body to catch a pass that is not perfect. This will quicken their shooting time to what is needed vs. quality opponents.
    To generate game speed on the shot in shooting drills, have kids say to themselves “game speed” as they catch the ball. This way they are thinking about catching and shooting at a faster pace.

  5. It is true that players acquire muscle memory through repetitions. However , the brain does not differentiate between correct and incorrect form of the shooting action. This is why letting (young) players shoot from the 3 point arc too soon, is so detrimental to them developing a great shot as the brain is bombarded with incorrect data as they try to compensate for lack of strength and timing.

  6. You build up confidence in your shot once you get a good enough where you could pull up and hit 28 out of 30 every practice.

  7. great post coach apart from two points i don’t agree on. 2.2.2 i always prefer players to dip the ball off a catch to create a rhythm. 2.3.1 i like player to have a sway in their legs on the shot therefore landing slightly in front of where they took off from. could also mention a slight turn on the feet on the shot.

    At some point the old school coaching of shooting needs to catch up with how players are shooting in basketball these days.

  8. I thank for this article furnished to me. Practice the right way is the most important aspect.

  9. Kyle, Curious a key breakdown of muscle memory is getting the shot release the correct same way to start/begin the learning process. Once the sequence is started, correctly in that from finger to foot, all aligned up, then develop the motion in sameness, doing it the exact same way EVERY time, then motion is learned. Next comes the body positioning. In that we again start by slow motion skill working the sameness, every time, again. Lastly the speed and sameness of motions, such as the shooters of merit today, create a game speed shot flow. Speed is developed over a long time. Use of a product to align the upper body which in turn aligns the lower body, like The PerfectShot by The Perfect Sports Group, does this with the living coach giving small pointers along the way. This devices allows the brain, the storage unit, and the muscles, the creators, to talk with each other. Try it-you will like it! http://www.theperfectsportsgroup.com

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