By Jeff Haefner
Tip #1 – Locate Your Target (the Rim) Earlier
Getting in the habit of locating your target (the rim) earlier will improve your shooting percentage. Why?
Locating the rim just a split second earlier gives your brain more time to subconsciously calculate distance and focus on your objective. Your eyes should be on the rim as early as possible. To make this little trick work, you need to develop this habit in practice, which carries over into games.
Tip #2 – Always Hold Your Follow Through
You’ve probably heard this a hundred times but there’s good reason for it. Holding your follow through solves a multitude of shooting problems. This simple movement helps you maintain good basketball shooting technique without even thinking about it.
Tip #3 – Finish with a Relaxed Wrist
A common mistake is for players to follow-through with a tense wrist. Your wrist should be as relaxed as possible. Your hand should finish on line and even bounce a little during the follow-through.
Tip #4 – Use a Colored Ball to Improve Rotation
To improve the straightness of your shot, try a colored basketball during practice. This makes it easy to see the rotation and direction of the ball. The immediate feedback makes it quick and easy for you to adjust and improve your shot.
Tip #5 – Don’t Shoot like Kobe (By Hanging In The Air)
TOO many kids try to copy Kobe and end up with bad shots for the REST OF THEIR LIVES!
Youngsters have no business trying to hang like Kobe and shoot. Kobe is a freak of nature! You should shoot as you’re going up (at least 1 inch before you reach the top of your jump). Trying to mimic Kobe’s shot will just earn you a place on the bench and lots of frustration.
Tip #6 – Stop Thinking about Your Shot During Games
One of the worst things you can do is think about your shooting mechanics during a game.
Thinking about your shot is for practice, NOT for games! In fact, you should only think during certain parts of your practice. It’s ok to think during a form shooting session or when learning a new skill, but once you start developing rhythm and get further into practice, don’t think!
During games, train yourself to think about other things or nothing at all.
You’re going to miss a few. So what! Don’t think, just shoot the damn ball!!!
If you adopt this mentality, your shooting percentage will go UP.
Tip # 7 – Eliminate Negative Thoughts with this Simple Trick
Eliminating negative thoughts can dramatically improve your basketball shooting percentage.
To stop thinking and eliminate bad thoughts, you can try this little trick…
Before each game, practice, and shooting session, tell yourself that you don’t care if you make any baskets. Say it out loud or in your head several times.
THEN, when you go to shoot (right as you’re catching the ball), say something to yourself like, “Nice shot. I can do better.” In other words, try not to care if it goes in or not.
This simple little trick helps you to relax into the process and not think about the result. Using this technique will be enough to break you out of mini slumps and restore your confidence.
Tip #8 – Develop Optimal Arc
DID YOU KNOW that a shot with a flat 35 degree arc only has .6 inches of margin for the ball to clear without hitting the rim? The shot has to be almost perfect to get a swish.
BUT a shot with a 45 degree medium height arc has a 3 inch margin of error!
That’s right. Just by increasing the arc of your shot, your margin of error could increase as much as 500%!
How many shots bounce OUT of the basket because you missed by just a fraction?
As a general rule of thumb, finish your follow through with the rim clearly visible beneath the fingers of your shooting hand. That way you will ensure that you have a decent arc on the shot. Shots with proper arch have a much better chance of going in.
Just don’t go too high. Because if your arc gets too high, you’ll loose your distance control.
Tip #9 – Watch DVDs
Simply by watching great shooters groove their shots over and over, you can improve your confidence and form.
The good habits and examples can be contagious. As you watch, the good form becomes ingrained in your mind.
Tip #10 – Use a Partner to Tune your Shot Alignment
Spend a little time during each practice lined up along a court line about 20 feet from a partner, shooting back and forth and trying to have the ball bounce as close to the line as possible. This simple practice technique will help you to fine tune your control of the precision of your shot.
Tip #11 – Land In Front
Balance is a very important aspect of shooting. You achieve balance primarily through a proper stance and footwork.
After your shot, you should land in front of where you started. You can do this by making sure that your momentum is going towards the basket on every catch. You should also establish good balance from your stance.
Tip #12 – Film Your Shot
You’d be amazed at how filming your shot in both games and practices can help you.
The most common response from players is… “That’s how I shoot!!??”
That’s right. Most players haven’t seen their own shot before. Seeing your shot on film can help you to detect poor mechanics and motivate you to make commitments for improvement. Bottom line– it’s a great way to refine your shot.
Tip #13 – Get a Partner
When possible, try to shoot with a partner. Because when you’re alone, you end up chasing the rebound before following through properly.
This is important. Think about how you practice…
You shoot and then you start following the shot immediately so you can get lots of reps. Guess what? This can mess up your follow-through. You need to FINISH each shot and hold your follow-through. That’s why we recommend getting a partner to rebound for you. Now just because you can’t find a partner you can (and should) still practice by yourself. Just be aware of holding your follow through.
Tip #14 – Fix Bad Habits by Immediately Correcting Your Shot
This is one of the easiest ways to break bad shooting habits. For example, let’s say you forgot to hold your follow-through. Well, immediately after you shoot, raise your hand back up and put your hand in the correct follow-through position. This simple technique will help you quickly correct the bad habit
Tip #15 – Use a Return Device
Using basketball rebounding and return devices can literally double the number of shots you can take in practice. Just think how much time you spend chasing the ball when you practice. A return device solves that problem and lets you take more shots in less time.
Tip #16 – Get To Set
When you catch the ball, you should get the ball to your set position as quickly as possible. This will speed up your shot. Your set point can be anywhere between your hip and your shoulder.
Tip #17 – Don’t Fall for Gimmicks
Too many players spend their hard earned money on shooting gloves and gimmicks, thinking this will make them great shooters.
You can’t use these devices during a game so it really doesn’t do you much good. You need to learn how to shoot effectively without these devices. There is NO magic pill.
Tip # 18 – Keep Your Shot Motion Balanced, Fluid, and Consistent
A fluid motion means that there are no jerky movements or stopping points, just one constant flow from start to finish.
Consistency can’t be stressed enough. Your feet, arms, set point, and jump height should use a consistent motion every time you shoot. All the greatest shooters in the world have amazingly consistent movements.
Tip #19 – Groove 50 Shots Before Every Game
Before every practice and game, face the basket and shoot 50 EASY shots about four to ten feet from the basket.
Not only does this improve your shooting form, but it helps to develop phenomenal confidence.
You’ll quickly become very good at grooving these shots over and over. You’ll see the ball going in the basket over and over. You’ll swish the ball repeatedly and probably shoot 60%, 70%, 80%, or more, which is great for your psyche.
Why do you think that NBA players do this before games? Why do you think that Tiger Woods starts all of his practice sessions by making 100 three-foot putts?
Because it works! Don’t overlook this powerful strategy.
Tip #20 – Quickly Chart Your Shot to Determine Tendencies
Head to the gym and shoot a bare minimum of 50 shots. Ask your partner to chart your shots. The KEY is to chart the detailed results of each shot. You will track how many shots fell short, too long, to the left, and to the right. This information will help you to determine what you need to work on.
For example, if you consistently miss short (like many players do), you’ll need to work on your power and distance control. If you consistently miss to the right and the left, you need to fix the mechanics of your foot and/or arm alignment.
Tip #21 – Work Game-Like Movement into Your Practice
To make game shots, you need to practice game shots. You should use good shooting drills and practice movement off screens, cuts, chairs, and pivoting in both directions.
Get to the Gym and Apply What You’ve Learned
There ya go… 21 simple ways for you to improve your basketball shooting percentage. Now get to the gym, apply what you’ve learned, and knock down more shots!!
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