You can't seem to make a single shot [and it seems like only yesterday you were lighting up the backboard]. You could be at the onset of a shooting slump. The good news is you can choose to reverse it. Here are three keys to help you nip slumps in the bud:
Michael Jordan says, "The mental part—the hardest part—separates the good players from the great players." If you are too hard on yourself when you slip into a slump, it will only be more difficult to break it. If you think back to when swishes came more easily and then try to clear your mind completely [taking a few deep breaths even], you can avoid getting caught in negative momentum.
Try to get back into a positive swing. Get in some extra gym time when you're not under pressure from teammates or a coach. Take a look at your grip on the ball; fingers should be spread and the ball should be resting on your finger pads—not on the palm. Try starting beneath the basket, shooting 10 or so shots with one hand in three different spots, focusing on your form. Then gradually work your way back. Remember that consistent shooters rely on the fundamentals. Keep these basics in mind:
- Always square up, with hips and toes pointed toward the basket. Have a balanced posture. [Yes, shooting off-balance is very LeBron-like, but it's not good form. Instead, be like Ray Allen.]
- Use a basic "L" arm-shoulder release, with elbow tucked in. Power for the shot should come from your legs and hips, not your arm.
- Have a balanced follow-through. You should jump and land in the same spot.
Check out Shooting Form With Ray Allen's Coach for more of a breakdown.
As you become more comfortable, keep practicing. Do as many drills as possible, keeping form in mind and remaining calm when you miss a shot.
Try J.J. Redick's Range-Finder Drill to start:
In a game situation, don't hesitate. You know you're a shooter, so set yourself up and shoot. Self-doubt only brings down your game.
Use these other STACK tips to avoid slumps:
Bust Your Team's Slump
Drew Brannon on Getting Over a Slump