Shooting is the most important skill in basketball. The other skills of basketball like passing, dribbling, defense, and rebounding may help you get a high percentage shot, but you must still be able to make the shot.
That is why it's important to learn how to shoot a basketball. A large part of shooting is the mental attitude. In addition to shooting skill, you must have confidence in yourself to make shots.
The combination of mental and mechanical aspects of shooting equals your shooting success. The basketball tips I have for you below will help to guide you into becoming a successful shooter.
Reasons For Learning How To Shoot A Basketball Better
Makes You Harder To Gaurd
Being a great shooter will increase your ability to drive to the basket. Not only will you make more shots from the perimeter, you'll also be able to drive to the basket much easier. How many times have you seen Steph Curry almost walk to the basket for a lay-up?
When you're a great shooter, the defense has to stay close to you all the time to stop you from getting an open shot. The defense being so close gives you a huge advantage because the defender has a lot less time to cut you off from a cut to the rim or a drive to the basket.
Makes It Easier For Your Teammate's To Score
Learning to shoot a basketball better will help your team score just by your presence on the court. By simply being a scoring option from the perimeter, you will help your teammates score by creating more space for them to beat their man without your man helping.
Since your defender will be forced to stay close to you to prevent you from getting a shot, it's difficult for them to be in a position to play help defense. For that reason, there will be more space to finish at the rim, more space for cutters, and more space for driving lanes.
Gets Your Team More Points
The winner of any basketball game is the team that scores the most point, so you need to put points on the scoreboard to win. And I cant think of any skill more important than shooting that does that!
If a player is able to make 35% of their three-point shots, they'll score more than a player who makes 50% of their two-point shots if they shoot the same amount of shots. For this reason and the ones above we're seeing more and more teams attempt more three-point shots.
What You'll Learn In This Post
- 25 tips for shooting a basketball
- How to shoot a basketball
- Shooting mistakes to avoid and how to fix them
- Different shooting techniques
Things To Remember If You Want To Learn How To Shoot A Basketball Better
It Requires Hard Work
Being a consistent knockdown shooter is great, but that only happens after you invest many hours of hard work into improving your shot. And when you get your shot to a great level you have to continue to work to keep it there.
So if you come across supposed online basketball tips on shooting that will show you how to shoot a basketball better that requires "no work" or is "fast and easy" or sounds too good to be true, get out of there. Because even if these basketball tips works it will take much practice for you to do it naturally without thinking.
All the real online how to shoot a basketball courses that actually work require a lot of time and effort.
The good news? It's not as hard as you may think which you'll discover in these basketball tips below in a second...
1. Keep Your Eyes On The Target
There are many basketball tips on what you should look at when you shoot the
basketball. I have had many coaches, teammates, and students that have had success looking at different targets.
This leads me to believe that what you choose for your target is not the main factor but more so that you're consistent with keeping it your target.
If you're constantly changing the target you're aiming at, it's nearly impossible for you to become a consistent shooter.
You have to pick one and then allow your shot to develop using that target.
The most common targets are
The Front Of The Rim – This target can sometimes hurt your shots distance and arc. If you use the front of the rim as your target, I would suggest you visualize the ball dropping down over the front of the rim.
The Back Of The Rim – This target usually works for players who often shoot the ball too short. One of the problems with this is your target may be blocked from your view.
The Imaginary Centre Of The Rim – This is the target I prefer and use. It involves picking the spot that the ball will pass through for a perfect swish. This method takes a great deal of concentration, but if mastered produces the best result.
To improve your accuracy, locate the target as early as possible. Keep your eyes on the target and do not follow the flight of the ball. Keeping your eyes on the target is very important!
2. Have Good Balance
Most players think that learning to shoot a basketball better is mostly to do with your shooting form. This is simply not the truth. Great shooting always starts with the base.
If you don't get the base of your shot correct, then it's very hard to become a consistent shooter.
To have a well-balanced base your feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
Your feet should be in a slightly staggered stance that is comfortable for you. Your shooting foot should be slightly ahead of the non-shooting foot in a comfortable position.
Have your weight equally distributed on each foot you don't want to lean one way or the other when taking a shot.
Once you develop a comfortable stance, line up your feet the exact same way on every shot. Whatever stance you use, consistency is critical.
I sometimes have students tell me this NBA player or that player does not shoot on balance and there a good shooter.
My response is that I'm sure they have mastered the fundamentals of shooting before they were able to shoot off balance successfully.
3. Consistent Shot Pocket
The shot pocket is the area a player is most comfortable starting the basketball from when beginning their shot.
This will usually be around the stomach area and will usually be in the middle of your body or slightly to the shooting hand side.
You must find what feels comfortable for you.
Each time you catch the basketball to shoot, you should bring the basketball back to your shot pocket before rising up into your shot.
Since the shot pocket is often low, this will give you a much better rhythm to your shot as you go up for your shot.
Keeping a consistent shot pocket helps you shoot the basketball the same way with rhythm every time.
4. Limit Your Guide Hand
Growing up people always called your none shooting hand your guide hand which is weird because it shouldn't be guiding anything.
Your guide hands only job while shooting a basketball is to help hold the ball on your shooting hand until you release the shot.
Your guide hand should be on the side of the ball and should not add force or spin to the shot.
The palm of your non-shooting hand should always face inside and should never turn with the shot. This will keep it from interfering with the shot causing you to miss left or right.
5. Use Your Jump To Power Your Shot
Its called a jumpshot for a reason, your upward push from your legs play a huge part in a successful shot.
You should release the basketball before you reach the top of your jump. Your jump is a great way to increase your range without changing the form of your shot.
When you get out of your range your form starts to change causing you to miss more shots. A good way to increase your range is to jump more with your shot.
But You must shoot on the way up, this will allow you to shoot further away without changing your form.
6. Hold Your Follow Through
This is one basketball tip I heard often from coaches growing up and for good reason, this very simple act can help your shot greatly.
Holding you're follow through reminds you of proper shooting form. The ball will always go in the direction that the hand sends it.
If you're squared up, knee and elbow aligned, the ball will go in the direction of the release.
Analyzing your follow-through and the direction of your release is a good troubleshooting tool for diagnosing your shooting problems.
7. Shot Preparation, Be Ready
Being ready to shoot before you catch the ball can be the difference between having enough time to take a good shot or getting your shot blocked by a defender closing out.
Being a great shooter starts before you receive the basketball.
Have your knees bent in an athletic position. If you catch the basketball with straight legs, it will take extra time to bend your legs before raising up for your shot.
Get your hands up ready to catch the ball. Showing your hands to your teammates shows them that you're ready and exactly where you want them to pass you the ball.
You'll never be more open than when you first catch the basketball. As long as you're within your comfortable shooting range, you must be mentally prepared to shoot on the catch.
8. Analyze Your Grip
Your shooting hand should be behind the basketball and your guide hand should be on the side of the basketball. Your fingers should be spread comfortably wide on the basketball.
Upon catching the basketball you must be able to quickly adjust your hands to the correct positions on the basketball.
Only let the top half of your palm touch the ball. The ball should be controlled by your fingers at all times. This helps with controlling the direction and having good backspin.
Your shooting hand controls the ball and The guide hand is used for balance, and control up until you release the ball. Make sure that your guide hand is on the side of the ball and not in front or on top, in the way of the flight of the ball.
9. Get Your Elbow Under The Ball
Your elbow on the shooting arm should be close to your body and lined up with the target. If your elbow moves out and away from your body it may change the direction of the flight of the ball.
Players who flare their elbow out while shooting will often miss to the left or right because they're not shooting the basketball straight.
10. Confidence is the Most Important Factor in Shooting
This is number one among all the basketball tips. Believe in yourself, You want to have confidence in your ability to make the shot every time you shoot. Confident shooters control their thoughts and feelings. They believe every shot is going in.
Shooting is much more than good mechanics. It's the feeling, thoughts, and belief in your self that comes first. Basketball is a mental, as well as a physical, game. Developing the mental aspect is a key to enhancing shooting as well as performance in all fundamentals.
The only way to develop true confidence is through practice, hours upon hours of practice. When you make a certain shot from a certain spot thousands of times you can't help but believe you can make it when it counts.
"I've been working on that shot my whole life."
That was Kevin Durant's response to Doris Burks question "how did you walk so confidently into a 3 when you are down and a finals game is on the line"
11. Shoot in Rhythm For Higher Percentages
Rhythm is the Second Most Important basketball tip of Shooting. Your shot should be smooth and free-flowing. Mechanics are important, but you want to have good mechanics without being mechanical.
Your shot should be smooth and rhythmical rather than mechanical. All parts of your shot should flow together in a sequential rhythm.
12. Shoot With Enough Arc
It is important to have a good arc on the ball. This increases the chance of making a shot, by increasing the area of the target that will be a make. A flat shot has to be a near perfect shot to go in.
It's incredibly difficult to shoot a basketball better if you have a flat shot.
Most of the time this occurs because a player pushes the basketball out towards the rim from their chest instead of shooting the basketball up into the air.
13. Don't Push The Ball With The Guide Hand Thumb
The guide hand stabilizes the basketball until near the point of release, and then the dominant hand should be doing 100% of the shooting.
Often new players and young players fall into a bad habit of using their guide hand thumb to provide extra power on the shot.
This happens when a player is young or doesn't have the strength to shoot with the traditional method. Instead, they compensate for this lack of strength by shooting with two hands.
As players grow older and develop more strength, they must transition away from the two-handed push shot and learn to shoot without using two hands.
14. Spread Your Fingers
Spread your fingers comfortably wide on the basketball. The closer the fingers are, the less control you will have when you shoot.
And the opposite is true the wider your fingers are spread the more control you have over where the ball goes. But you don't want to spread them to the point of being uncomfortable. Because if something is uncomfortable you usually won't stick to it too long.
15. Make Sure You Have Proper Backspin
The ideal shot has a backspin on the ball, this backspin is what gives you the
good touch on the ball making your shot softer.
With good rotation, you increase the chances of getting a shot to bounce in that otherwise would miss. Rotation is created with your fingertip control and follow-through.
You can check your rotation by lining the seams of the ball perpendicular to your fingers and shooting the ball up to check the rotation.
Shooting a basketball better just like anything else, if you practice doing things the correct way over and over again the more you do it the better you become at it.
The great shooters separate themselves from the rest of the pack by spending thousands of hours shooting in the gym.
If you want to learn how to shoot a basketball at a high level, you must be prepared to put in the work to achieve it.
And it's not all about the number of hours you practice, it's about the number of hours your mind is present during that practice.
17. Warm Up Close To The Rim
Every time I'm in the gym it never fails kids come in and immediately start throwing up three-point shots.
Don't underestimate the importance of starting close to the rim and making a lot of easy shots focusing on your form to begin your shooting practice.
This allows you to get into a good rhythm, focus on your shooting technique, and build confidence by making shots.
If you want to be a great 3-point shooter, you have to be a great shooter from five feet first.
18. Shooting In Team Practice Is Not Enough
Here is the deal team practice is geared more toward preparing the team for a game by getting everyone on the same page.
There is time for individual skill work but its divided up between all basketball skills, and its usually only about 10% of the practice time if you're lucky.
In Practice, coaches need to work on offense, defenses, game situations, plays, and plenty of other things that will be placed ahead of shooting drills.
So if you are to become a great shooter it will happen outside of team practices.
19. Have A Plan
If you have a measurable goal, for instance, be able to hit 70 out of 100 dribble-up elbow jump shots consistently at game speed.
Then you put together a plan to get yourself there. You're much more likely to reach your goal then if you go to the gym and casually shoot while joking with friends.
Create a plan and track your progress along the way. Then when you get to the gym, you'll know exactly what you need to do.
20. Track Your Workouts
Tracking your shots is an absolute must if you plan on improving your shot. How else will you know if you're improving? Tracking your makes and misses lets you know exactly how fast or slow you're improving.
There is a saying that goes you cant improve what you don't measure, and that's certainly true, tracking you're shot also makes your workout a fun competition and more challenging to beat yourself daily.
21. Practice Shooting When Tiered
You're going to get fatigued while you're playing basketball. So if you want to be a great in-game shooter, it's incredibly important that you replicate this feeling during your shooting workouts.
If you're wondering why you can always shoot great while shooting before practice but not so well in games? This is likely the reason why being able to shoot the ball after you've expended a lot of energy at the defensive end of the floor is an important skill.
22. Work On Finishing At The Basket Too
Kyrie Irving is one of the best shooters in the NBA but that one dimension does not make him great. He is also one of the best ball handlers and finishers in the league. This is what makes him one of the best offensive weapons in the pros.
When you do learn how to shoot a basketball better, the defense is going to start defending you differently.
They will be forced to play you closer, they'll jump at more of your shot fakes, and they'll fight over screens instead of slipping under them.
And this will lead to many more drive opportunities that wouldn't usually be there for a player who struggles shooting from outside.
Make sure you're able to take advantage of these opportunities by being able to finish around the rim.
23. Know Your Hot Spots
Every great offensive player has spots on the court where they feel most comfortable. A place that they know if they can get there they will surely be able to get off a shot that they feel good about the chances of it going in.
Shooting percentage is just as much about decision making as it is about technique. It's important for you to understand which areas of the floor are good shots for you. You should be able to make 7/10 from a spot unguarded in practice before you make it one of your hot spots during games.
All the correct fundamentals are not enough if you do not have good
Concentration is the ability to focus attention on the task at hand and not be affected or disturbed by internal or external distractions. Selective attention involves being able to pay attention to specific things going on and to ignore others.
To be successful in competitive situations you must have the ability not to react or be disturbed by potential distractions. Instead, learn how to focus attention and control your thoughts.
It's about being totally in the here-and-now. Peak performance occurs when you are able to voluntarily concentrate on the target and execute a shot that is within your ability to execute.
25. Don't Expect Instant Results
The last basketball tip is that you're not going to become a great shooter overnight. You'll feel like you're not making progress at all. You'll feel like you want to give up.
But if you're consistent, the results will come.
This means working on your shot for weeks and months, not a few days of practice. The process takes time but if you have read this far I'm sure you're dedicated to putting in the work it takes to improve your shot and you will learn how to shoot a basketball better.
Are You Ready To Become A Great Shooter?
No matter where you are in the world, if you have desire and access to a ball and a hoop there are ways you can become a great shooter.
There are a lot of factors that go into you learning how to shoot a basketball better but for me, practice and confidence are paramount to your success as a shooter. Set your self some S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Specific) use these basketball tips, Track your progress and you will be a lights-out shooter in no time.
There is no time like the present to start taking action.
Tell me in the comments if you need more help.
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Wilson X Connected Smart Basketball- Ball tracks your makes, misses, and distance. It also has some fun games as well.
Stephen Curry Teaches Basketball- Great skills training program taught by one of the best players in the game today Stephen Curry.
Old School Grit- The willpower to persevere with passion and a sense of purpose is what matters most in whether a person succeeds or fails, is what this book is all about.
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