28 February 2011
Last Updated on 28 February 2011
To become a good or even a great shooter a young player has to dedicate him or herself to becoming so. Shooting is the most complex skill in basketball, but once mastered can look as easy and natural as shooting layups. There are many physical skills that need to be worked on to achieve this, but more importantly are the skills you develop that you cannot see, like mental toughness, developing confidence, and creating good habits. Below I go over some of the skills that helped me achieve a high level of success at the AAU, high school, college, and professional levels.
- Base: Feet, shoulders, head need to stay squared and do not move from the squared position throughout the entirety of the shot
- Hand placement: top half of hand and fingers on the ball – no palm, so when you follow through you see a good rotation coming back to you. If you get this rotation you know you are developing touch on the ball which ultimately leads your success as a shooter
- Elbow in: Your elbow should be in a comfortable position, not too far in or out, ideally straight up from your hip. If too far out or in, your hand placement will be off and will cause you to compensate your follow through in a different direction. This leads to inconsistency.
- Lower body and upper body working together: Before you start your follow through, your lower body needs to be working with your follow through in one motion, not two separate motions. The right amount of power from your legs needs to be given into your shot each time.
- Focus: you need to have great focus at all times and pick a spot on the rim that you zero in on
- Starting point of your follow through: If you start too low (coming up with the ball from your base) your shot will be easy to block, hard to get off with good defense, and you will not be able to get the support from your shooting hand that you need. If you start to high or too far past your head (ball behind your head) you will have a hard time with getting your hand in a position to control your follow through and will compensate by catapulting the ball forward which creates a flat shot
- Control your upper body and head: Many young players develop a bad habit of tilting their upper body and head backwards as they shoot, this will lead to the follow through being rushed and flat. Players need to learn how not to move their upper body or head throughout the shot.
- Follow through: Release point of the ball should be when your shooting arm is fully extended (release point on your jump should be when you hit your highest point on your jump shot)
- Remain balanced throughout your shot and on your landing: Players starting out should always land in the same position as they started their shot. As players get older and learn how to fade on their shot to create the necessary space against athletic defense, they will still have full control of their body and be on balance through the shot.
Repetition: You can separate your shooting training into two categories: technique shooting and game shooting.
- Technique shooting will develop your correct form. This needs to be developed before or early on as you start to develop your game speed shooting.
- Game shooting is when you are practicing your shot at game speed. Too many players practice the right techniques but practice too slow and have a hard time shooting in games due to the level of speed. When developing this part of your shot, footwork becomes critical. How you are setting up the defender and setting yourself up on your shot and then practicing it at game speed. (Our next blog update will be on how to get yourself open.)
You are either practicing good habits or bad habits, there is no in between
- Consistency: Each shot should look and feel like the one before. If you are doing something different each time, it will be impossible to develop yourself into the shooter you want to become.
- Confidence: A good shooter has a short memory and always thinks the next one is going in. Coaches coach, fans yell, and shooters shoot regardless of how many they are making or missing. A good coach will help shooters pull in the reigns when he/she is taking too many or a bad shot in the offense. Your job is to shoot.
- Mental toughness – Mental toughness goes hand and hand with confidence. As a shooter you need to learn how to shoot and when to shoot, execute, and repeat. Too many players can get caught up into things out of their control: what will my coach think, what will my teammates think, I am shooting too much, etc… If you start having these thoughts you need to quickly get rid of them. Mental toughness is knowing what you have been trained to do and doing it.