In today's style of basketball, most players want the glory of dunking over a defender or crossing someone over. Shooters create more space for the offense so that opponents can't help as much on defense. This means that players who can shoot the ball well are more valuable than ever.
During my senior year at Liberty University, Fox Sports ranked me as the 19th best shooter in the country. If there is one thing I like to do, it's shoot the basketball. During my playing career, I picked up several tips on becoming a better shooter. Below are five that are guaranteed to help you. Take them, use them in your game, and you will improve your shooting percentage. Put in the work to develop your shot, shoot the basketball with confidence, then take and make good shots.
Great shooters know how to get their work done before the ball gets to them. This is probably the most important shooting tip I can give you. If your body isn't squared up, or you are fading away when you catch the ball, your shot percentage will go way down. Shot prep makes your shot quicker. If you have to catch and load before you shoot, your defender has a better chance to recover and contest the shot.
- Drop your butt
- Show your hands
- Get your momentum moving towards the ball
- Step into your shot
- Don't dip the basketball
If you're always changing your shot, how can your body develop muscle memory? When you shoot the ball in a game, your body should be so trained to shoot that it just does it naturally, without your having to think about it. Decide how you are going to shoot and then stick with it.
Easier said than done if you have just missed five shots in a row, but the best shooters have short memories. They never worry about their last shot. If you are a shooter and a good shot presents itself, don't hesitate: shoot the ball with confidence (unless it's a special game situation). As a player, I always tried to judge myself on the quality of my shots rather than on makes and misses. Don't just shoot to shoot. Shoot to make the shot.
If you're shooting on the move, your footwork should be a big focal point. It can be the difference between a make and a miss when coming off a ball screen. Players like Ray Allen do a great job of getting their footwork right and squaring up to the basket after coming off a screen. If you're having trouble with your footwork, here are some great drills for improving it.
- Foot Ups
- Foot Ups Side-to-Side
- Figure 8 Drill
- Boxer Jump Rope Drill
- Staggered Stance Jump Rope Drill
This is my final shooting tip but it's important. How you finish your shot has a big effect on whether the ball goes in, especially with more difficult shots. Hold your follow through, land in the same spot you jumped from, and stay in your shot until you make or miss it. Of course, there will be situations where you have to fade away, land off-balance, or whatever; but don't develop bad habits and do those things when you don't have to.
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