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How to Overcome Shooting Slumps

Below is an excerpt from our Basketball Shooting System.

No matter how much you practice or how good of a shooter you usually are, there will be times when you find that you are having trouble making your shots. Left untreated or reacted to wrongly, these slumps can turn into major confidence busters and can distract you so much that you are not effective in other aspects of the game either.

What can you do about slumps during games?

During games, you need to depend on your coach to guide you through a tough shooting night.

If the coach directs you to keep taking the open shot, then that's what you should do. Realize that you can contribute to your team's success in more ways than making baskets, and keep trying your best. That attitude is all that your coach and team can expect from you.

There are many stories about players who have had terrible results for a whole half, only to make almost every shot during the second half, ending up at 50% or higher for the night! Other players can go into the tank after only two or three misses, passing up open shots or tensing up so much that their shot gets uglier and uglier along with their attitude. If you can learn to depend on your coach, you stand a much better chance of ending up in the first group.

How do you work your way out of slumps?

99% of the time, shooting slumps are completely MENTAL.

On rare occasions, the slump can be caused by a mechanical flaw in your shooting motion. If that's the case, then having someone videotape you will help you to pinpoint your issue. In conjunction with working with a knowledgeable coach, this should put you back on the right track pretty quickly.


Here are 4 ways to break you out of MENTAL shooting slumps:

We've used these techniques over and over to break kids out of shooting slumps that, left untreated, could have become season-long problems.

  1. DON'T HESITATE!

    When you catch the ball, immediately go into your shot motion without hesitating. Sometimes a fast-break jump-shot or a quick shot are the ones that you make. If you get in your shot motion quick enough, you won't have time to think. Don't rush; just catch and shoot immediately.

  2. PRACTICE.

    The best place to deal with a slump is in a practice setting. Without the pressure of a competition, you can focus your energy and attention on getting out of your slump. The best way to deal with a slump during a practice session is to groove your shot with form shooting close to the basket. This will rebuild your confidence and establish a positive momentum in your attitude and confidence. Move back a little at a time as you meet with consistent success at each increasing distance. Of course, you can also use form shooting during half-time of a game to try to get yourself out of a slump. Your time, however, is pretty limited.

  3. TRY THIS UNIQUE TRICK THAT CLEARS YOUR MIND. If you have a really bad slump that you just can't bust out of, try this technique…

    This unique process erases the "negative shooting memories" in your mind and replaces them with good ones. This can break you out of even the WORST shooting slumps!

      Step 1 - Shoot 5 shots about 8 feet from the basket.

      Step 2 - Now shoot with your left hand (or weak hand), 5 shots.

      Step 3 - Go to the free throw line. Again, shoot with your left hand (or weak hand), 5 shots.

      Step 4 - Step back behind the 3-point line. Shoot 5 shots with your weak hand.

      Step 5 - Go to half-court. Shoot 5 shots with your strong hand.

      Step 6 - Stand on one leg. Shoot 5 shots with your strong hand. Concentrate! Try to make the shots.

      Step 7 - Close one eye, while standing on one leg. Shoot 5 shots with your strong hand. You probably won't touch the rim, but that's ok, keep trying to make it.

      Step 8 - Now switch to your weak hand. Close one eye, while standing on one leg. Shoot 5 shots. Seriously try to make it. Do your absolute BEST to make the shot. Concentrate!

      Step 9 - Now, go into your shooting range and shoot some mid-range jump shots with your right hand. Don't worry if you make any shots. That's not important. Just shoot, don't think. The shot should feel really easy for you now.


    Stroke some nice easy shots for a while. If you have more range, step back a little bit and stroke a few more shots.

    Every time you shoot, say under your breath, "Nice shot. I can do better." Don't worry about making the shot. Tell yourself that it doesn't matter.

    You have probably already snapped yourself out of your slump. Those "negative memories" have now faded. Have fun with your shot and just shoot, don't think.

    If you start slipping back into your slump, try this routine again. Usually, one routine will fix the problem. If not, two or three times will most certainly do the trick.

    People watching might think you're crazy, but this silly mental compression trick can break you out of even the worst shooting slump.

  4. ATTITUDE.

    Keep a watch on your attitude as you work your way through slumps. If you find yourself muttering negative comments after misses, counter that with some positive phrases and make it a point to say them after every shot, make or miss. Remember that you will be a more accurate shooter if you are relaxed. If you are down on yourself, you are certainly not relaxed and not even heading in that direction.

    Watch your attitude toward teammates, too. If you encourage your teammates through their shooting struggles, you will be building a team camaraderie that will help you if you run into a rough night.


Comments

Mike says:
12/2/2008 at 2:32:31 PM

Hey thanks a lot! Those are some really good tips.


Hadi Sherazi says:
12/7/2008 at 2:52:54 AM

Thanks a lot.
This helped


Tia says:
1/27/2009 at 8:15:19 PM

Thank you so much for the tips!!!

I am a 85% 3-pt shooter that is in a slump. i when from 20 pts per game to 6 pts per game. I really feel like this is messing with my confident''s. I really appreciate the suggestions and will get them a try.

Tia


Alex says:
2/3/2009 at 8:24:10 AM

hey thanks man im going to use this and see if it helps me.


Tim says:
2/3/2009 at 9:05:17 PM

These tips seem to be accurate for where I am at in my shooting slump i went from averaging about 16 points a game to about 5 a game and im really hoping this technique will work for me


chris says:
3/18/2009 at 5:53:41 PM

i never go into slumps: all of you suck.


ZAK says:
4/15/2009 at 10:45:56 AM

he thanks man this really worked for me i just dropped 32 in my last game


Jordan says:
11/12/2009 at 10:38:42 PM

Hope this works...I'm a great shooter, but ever since the school year started in September, I've really been in a horrible slump and the basketball season is about to start!


Tanner says:
12/13/2009 at 12:11:32 PM

i need to learn how to get my shot off quicker!!! ive lost major playing time because im not producing the way i should. any tips??


Sugar Shane says:
12/19/2009 at 8:00:51 PM

aha nice tip.....yo de call me Suga cuz my jumpshot so Sweet...o baby!


Joe Haefner says:
1/7/2010 at 10:54:24 AM

Tanner, there are plenty of shooting tips in this section: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/shooting.html

To develop a quicker release, take a look at this article: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/shooting-quicker-shot.html


reid says:
2/2/2010 at 9:16:14 PM

thanks, i will try this.i was a 65 percent three point shooter last year in my junior season for varsity. i hit over 60 threes last season and half way through this season i have only 8. and now i am shooting 15 percent. i am really struggling and have even had trouble drawing iron in some shots. ive had trouble with my form and mostly confidence so i hope this will help


Coach H. says:
3/10/2010 at 7:55:37 AM

Joe and Jeff,

I´m a Under 18 coach and I´ve used the mind clearing trick, in a slight different way, by letting 2 players who wanted to improve their shooting, do a routine similar to it, and keep repeating it each practice. One of the two guys saw his in-game percentage go up from .270 to .431, the other guy never even shot a three during games, untill last weekend. He had 28 points, 3 on 3 beyond the arc, and 4 on 7 on midrange shots.

This trick really helped getting my team to the next level.


Innovative Athletes says:
3/24/2010 at 5:47:43 AM

Great stuff here, but I would like to add one other thing you can do. Simply watch game tape, do a comparison of a game in which you shot the ball well and one of which your shooting slump was current.

Seeing yourself shooting the ball successfully can be highly productive and a great confidence builder, it reminds the player that once upon a time I made shots consistently. Because we all know that when we are in the middle of a shooting slump we don't think clearly.

Take your time, think positive and stay disciplined.

Dan
www.innovativeathletes.com


Aaron Macchietto says:
7/13/2010 at 2:59:40 PM

thanks!


Evv J says:
8/9/2010 at 5:29:45 PM

Thank u guys these tips seem really good.i am a great shooter but lately I have been in a slump.thank you SO MUCH!!!you guys are awesome


Drew says:
12/15/2010 at 3:03:23 PM

Hey thanks a lot man, i averaged 10 p.p.g my sophomore year and 16 p.p.g last year. I think i have over 200 3 pointers in my career in high school. I am a senior and after my first game this season, which i had 24 points in, 7 three pointers, i have been in a terrible slump the last few games. I am going to try these new tips! they sound awesome, ill comment back and let you know how they were for me.


Kyle says:
12/21/2010 at 10:00:54 PM

Hey thanks man, this shooting slump im in is messing with my confidence a lot and im excited to give these a try.


luke says:
1/5/2011 at 7:21:36 PM

At the beggining of the season i was shooting 39% for threes now im shooting 23% What should i do about that?


Joe Haefner says:
1/7/2011 at 10:49:45 AM

Make sure you're taking uncontested shots. If you start taking bad shots, then your percentage will go down.

Get in the gym and get plenty of shots up. This will help you get through your mini-slump.

Keep shooting. Some players stop shooting after they miss a few shots. You need to keep shooting through that, so you get hot.

If your shot feels off, try to get to the free throw line. This helps players get in a rhythm.

Also, try the tips in the article above. They should help.


Andrew says:
1/30/2012 at 4:12:10 PM

I will try these and see how they work. I know that my shooting slump is mental and I can feel myself getting down on myself. However, its not just shooting really, its just scoring in general. It seems that now I can't even get a layup to get in, and I am getting bad rolls every time. Last year I averaged 15 a game and 40% from three. Now, I am just above 25% from three and eleven a game (however the 11 is because I am forcing more shots). I started out the first two games hot from three with 18 in both games and ever since a game where I went 1 for 8 I havn't been myself out there and now my teams has lost 6 out of our last 7. Hope these work I need my shot back


Ken says:
1/30/2012 at 4:21:54 PM

The first thing you have to do is clear your mind and STOP telling yourself that you cant hit a shot.

This article gives you some valuable advice / tips.... try to work your way out of this.

Break your shot down to the very basics... FORM... do a lot of form shooting and then start shooting from very close... work your way back as you see success. As you work your way back, make sure you keep the same form and don't go any further back until you have a lot of success. Just keep doing this until you get your shot back.

In games, when you are having problems shooting... get yourself to the free throw line where you can check your form.

Do they take films of your games? If so, ask the coach if you can watch some of them.... ask him what he sees also.


Ken says:
1/30/2012 at 4:21:54 PM

The first thing you have to do is clear your mind and STOP telling yourself that you cant hit a shot.

This article gives you some valuable advice / tips.... try to work your way out of this.

Break your shot down to the very basics... FORM... do a lot of form shooting and then start shooting from very close... work your way back as you see success. As you work your way back, make sure you keep the same form and don't go any further back until you have a lot of success. Just keep doing this until you get your shot back.

In games, when you are having problems shooting... get yourself to the free throw line where you can check your form.

Do they take films of your games? If so, ask the coach if you can watch some of them.... ask him what he sees also.


Ken says:
1/30/2012 at 4:24:28 PM

By the way, don't worry about how many points you are scoring... that might be the reason you are shooting poorly.

Don't force shots, let them come to you and above all, have a positive attitude about the game, yourself and your shot.

AND, practice, practice, practice with good form.

Good luck


Lindsey says:
2/13/2012 at 5:43:12 PM

Hi coach,
I am having a lot of trouble with my freethrows this year and I'm a post so they are realy important. It seems like the ball is always hitting the rim but it never goes in. Do you haave any suggestions to help me get better?
thanks,
Lindsey


Ken says:
2/13/2012 at 5:57:39 PM

Lindsey -

Is it hitting the front of the rim? That might mean you need to get more of your legs into the shot?

Are you finishing up on your toes a bit? That could also have something to do with it,

I take it that your shot is dead on but just short?
Is your shot flat? Its hard to say since we cant see your shot.... but.... as you are releasing your shot, is your elbow by your eye/ear?

Those are some of the things that come to mind for me. Check some of these things out and lest us know. Good luck


Andrew says:
2/22/2012 at 11:47:53 PM

I will try these tips. I was on top of my game with a 19 point game with 5 three pointers, a 26 point game with 8 three pointers to, and a 20 point game with 4 three pointers. In the next game I had 3 three pointers and hit a tying three with 15 seconds to go to send my team into overtime and we ended up winning. Since then i have been 1-15 from 3 point range. I have been trying everything so hope this works.


Ken says:
2/23/2012 at 8:53:57 AM

Andrew -

It sounds like you a pretty good shooter... don't forget... everyone has bad games... so don't let a game or two bother you...
One thing I told my better shooters when they were having bad nights.... get yourself to the free throw line and staighten out your stroke.
Its the one time you can think and practice FORM before you shoot.

Think of this.... there are a lot of baseball players making millions of dollars and they are hitting .250 - .300 ... that means they are failing 70% of the time or more.

Keep a positive attitude... that goes along way for being successful. Don't forget there are other ways for you to contribute in games... rebounding, playing great defense, taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls etc. Be a complete player and let the shots come to you.


Matt says:
3/11/2012 at 10:19:45 PM

I have in a funk for a while now i hit 16 threes one weekend( Played for 3 games that weekend) I was getting noticed by everyone in the gym even caught the eyes of some college players and there was a AAU coach there. After my final game he came up to me and told me how much of a great shooter i was and he was interested in me. In the weeks following my shot wasnt the same i went to the gym everyday to work it out but during games it wasnt working fianlly the AAU stopped coming to my games and i am without a team for this summer . Hopefully this will work and i will go back to being myself and being a knockdown shooter. God Bless


Ken says:
3/12/2012 at 8:31:00 AM

Matt -

As I said to Andrew ..
It sounds like you a pretty good shooter... don't forget... everyone has bad games... so don't let a game or two bother you...
One thing I told my better shooters when they were having bad nights.... get yourself to the free throw line and staighten out your stroke.
Its the one time you can think and practice FORM before you shoot.

Maybe you started putting some pressure on yourself after hearing all the compliments..... forget all the junk, go out and have fun, don't force your shots, let them come to you.

Work on your FORM a little bit and then do A LOT of shooting at game speed. GOOD LUCK


Connor says:
5/12/2012 at 2:16:48 PM

Thanks man:)


Reuben James Domingo says:
5/28/2012 at 7:47:31 PM

I will try this. Thank you! Sometimes I shoot with a different kinds of awkward forms. It sucks. Sigh. Hope that'll work. Thank you, again! :)


Chidi says:
7/4/2012 at 10:12:16 AM

i started the season scoring 12 ppg and lately ive been in a slump. ive went scoreless in my last 2 games which is unlike me. i cant get to the freethrow line and i find myself making stupid mistakes. I think it is because i made transition from playing guard to bigman just because of my height. Any tips for me to get back to scoring ?


jake says:
8/11/2012 at 7:58:41 PM

Hey, so for the past like 3 weeks I have been practictcing by myself cuz its the offseason and i can hit my shots but my follow through just aint feeling right !! when i go and play pick up games after i shoot i just feel like i dont feel my follow through. ill try this next time im out. any tips?


Ken says:
8/12/2012 at 3:29:58 PM

Jake -

Why don't you practice some FORM shooting, start against a wall using just one hand.... that way you can focus on your form and follow through. Shoot 50 or so.... then go to the basket and shoot some shots, block, middle and block, 5 of each just to work on FORM and follow though.(one hand) Work your way back as you start to feel comfortable.

Chidi -

Moving from guard to being a post player can take some time, so be patient. I cant see what you are doing but maybe you can get your coach to help you out on this. Make sure you meet passes and have good balance..... learn one move, probably a drop step would be the best one to start with....

Jake -
Why don't you practice some FORM shooting, start against a wall using just one hand.... that way you can focus on your form and follow through. Shoot 50 or so.... then go to the basket and shoot some shots, block, middle and block, 5 of each just to work on FORM and follow though.(one hand) Work your way back as you start to feel comfortable.
Chidi -
Moving from guard to being a post player can take some time, so be patient. I cant see what you are doing but maybe you can get your coach to help you out on this. Make sure you meet passes and have good balance..... learn one move, probably a drop step would be the best one to start with....

Check this out -

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/postplay.html

Videos of Skills & Fundamentals
Drop Step, Lay Up
Drop Step Counter Move - Drop Step, Inside Pivot, Shot


brendan says:
8/13/2012 at 11:34:35 PM

Im 12 years old and averaged about 23 points a game and im really known for leading my team a shooting slump isnt going to be good for my team to follow someone in a shooting slump and this advice worked thanks!


Ken says:
8/14/2012 at 9:22:20 AM

Brendan -

23 PPG? You can play for me anytime. :-)

Don't worry about slumps... everyone has a bad game here and there.. it goes with the terrirtory. IF you are having problems scoring in a game, get yourself to the free throw line - that way you can check out your FORM.

By the way, make sure you are having FUN too.


Marquise says:
10/5/2012 at 10:47:05 PM

I've been in a slump since FEB'12, its now SEP'12 when I was told I had a torn shoulder, I realized that I was messing up my form a little to give way to the pain...now I have the pain under control but my shot is like crap...I was 8 for 10 from the field now I'm more like 2 for 12...it sucks really bad...I tried out for the NBA's D-League like this...I was very dissappointed... my confidence went down dramatically, especailly seeing that others no my shots not falling and are guarding me as such(know that driving or passing is my only option) it has dramatically changed my game for the worse...I will try these tips....and respond at a later time...Thanks again!


daraven says:
12/28/2012 at 3:57:46 PM

it helped me im a teen and i play good but now i feel invincible like i can go to the nba thanks


kjames says:
1/21/2013 at 2:36:02 AM

awesome tips yeah!


emma says:
2/26/2013 at 11:54:58 PM

I hope these tips work! Over the past week and a half (after having my best game of the season) I can't make anything! Not a layup, free throw, or jumper. My confidence has always been an issue with me so I need to work on that and hopefully this will help


Zach says:
3/15/2013 at 3:01:06 PM

I am really known for being the best shooter in my school league. I average 21ppg and 7ast. After a game were I had 9 three-pointers (which is my career high) i have been in a slump ever since. My form feels right but all of my shots are short. Any tips?


Ken Sartini says:
3/15/2013 at 6:46:33 PM

Look at what I said to Brendan - all players have slumps.....

I might add this...... get to the free throw line in games, that way you can make sure your form is right.... with all that being said... being short all the time tells me that you need to get your legs in to your shot more... maybe you are tired? Tired legs can cause your shots to fall short.


Jack says:
11/29/2013 at 10:32:47 PM

Last season I averaged 18 PPG and had an unbelieavle season, i was unstoppable, full of confidence, a trash talker, had it all going. Everyone saw me as the best player in the area. Shot at about 70% from the field. I'm not so much a driver i'm more a 3 point shooter and mid-range pullup jumpers. But this season, which just ended today, i averaged 7 PPG, and shot at about 35% FG, major shooting slump and it wasn't just a 2-3 week thing, it went on all year, i only had about 3 good shooting days. At training i hit 15 3s in a row a couple of days ago, but come gameday theres a lid on the ring that just won't go off. What do i do?


Ken Sartini says:
11/30/2013 at 11:43:31 AM

Jack -

We cant see your shot so all we can to do is to give you a few tips that might work.

Since your season is over you can go back and work on your form.... last year you shot well... maybe your shot selection was better? Don't force your shots.... since you were shooting well in practice you had to be relaxed... think about that when you go into a game... relax and have some fun.

When you are struggling with your shot, get yourself to the FT line, that way you can think about your FORM and be more relaxed. Sometimes all it takes is to knock down a few and then things will fall in place.

Players that go into major slumps are probably doing too much thinking.... IF you are working on your shot it will become automatic ... or what we call muscle memory. Go back and rebuild your shot... start in close and work your way back as you are successful.

Do yourself a favor.... FORGET the THRASH TALKING and play the game.


Tyler H says:
3/31/2014 at 12:43:00 AM

I have been in a dead slump ever since i stoped talking trash, i did it out of respect and i went from leading the league in 3PT% and averaging 25 ppg to 13 ppg and only 25% from downtown. I do not know what to do when i go out on outdoor courts and start talking i play fine but my coach wont let me talk shit what do i do


Tyler H says:
3/31/2014 at 12:48:30 AM

Last Season i led the League shooting 52% from Downtown a league record with minimum 100 FGA i was also 3rd in Threes made 139 averaging 6.5 a game, i talked alot of shit, this season i have a new coach, first game i was benched for shit talking, my new coach cant stand it. Well now i ride the bench and shoot 25% from downtown, when i play anywhere else i talk shit have fun and shoot like usual but none of that matters it isnt a league, i feel like i just over-think every shot unless im talking shit WTF do i do HELP


Ken Sartini says:
3/31/2014 at 9:47:06 AM

Tyler -

Do you think you are talking yourself OUT OF being a good shooter because you want to TRASH TALK? " I cant shoot well unless I trash talk? "

You have a new coach and IF you want to play, you have to do it his way. Concentrate on your game and not the talking. Have some class, obvioulsy your coach is trying to teach you that.

What level do you play at? High school? IF thats the case, what college coach do you think is going to look at you IF he sees you acting like that? There 100s of good shooters out there. College coaches want good students and good people, so its up to you to make the decision.

You can always go talk to the school social worker and maybe he can help you get past the need for trash talking.

I had a great shooter that started to do that.... and I just told him..... LET YOUR GAME DO THE TALKING. That ended that and he shot well... 3s ... automatic from the line etc.

I think you said it yourself.... YOU are overthinking your shots. Good luck


Caleb says:
6/3/2014 at 12:02:03 PM

I've been in a slump for 3 weeks now and I don't know what's wrong with me. I was the best shooter in my grade and now it's bouncing off the rim. And if it's not bouncing off the rim it's an air ball. Please help I want my shot back!


Ken Sartini says:
6/3/2014 at 3:50:26 PM

Time to relax a little bit Caleb... everyone goes through slumps. I told my players to get themselves to the free throw line so they could check out their form in games.

What level are you playing at? How often do you work on your form and shooting? Be patient with yourself and ask your coach what he thinks you are doin wrong.

IF you can get someone to film your shooting workout you might be able to see the problem yourself. Consisency with your form is the key.


Ken Sartini says:
6/3/2014 at 3:58:04 PM

Check these two videos Caleb -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9s_ukMz0e0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfTxHGOQdEc


alex says:
6/14/2014 at 11:32:41 AM

IM really counting on you guys i was shooting 74% from downtown and now 47% and my confidence is wearing away my coaches trusted me now last night he just said I'm starting to doubt you i was mad , now i need help !!!!!


Ken Sartini says:
6/14/2014 at 2:09:12 PM

Alex .....you wont find many pros that can shoot like that. 47
5 from the arc is great shooting, so, as for him saying that he is beginning to doubt you.... have some confidence in yourself.

Look at these tips on shooting.
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/shooting.html

By the way, there is more to playing the game than the 3 ball.



San Antonio - which was the league's most accurate team from 3-point range during the regular season, the third time in four years that it's held that distinction - is shooting an NBA-best 40 percent from beyond the arc so far in the playoffs. Miami is right behind the Spurs, shooting 39.7 percent. It seems likely that both teams will be looking to add to those totals Sunday night, when the Spurs host the Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

"To me it's not basketball, but you've got to use it," Popovich said Saturday. "If you don't use it, you're in big trouble. But you sort of feel like it's cheating. You know, like two points, that's what you get when you make a basket. Now you get three, so you've got to deal with it. I don't think there's anybody who is not dealing with it."


Tyrell says:
7/1/2014 at 2:26:59 PM

I hope this works


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