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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

If you would like organized shooting workouts and all-around skill development workouts, check out the Attack & Counter Workout App.

It has over 300+ drills, 80+ pre-designed workouts, and the option to customize your own workouts. You can access it on your smartphone, computer, or anywhere with Internet access.


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Kyrie says:
5/31/2022 at 1:16:05 AM

Okay so when I was in High School I was one of the best shooters in the state and now I’m about 2 years out and have been in a slump for the past year I do not know what’s going on but I’m just not hitting shots how I use to


Talan Backlund says:
1/6/2022 at 2:24:19 AM

I am a very good shooter, shooting is the main thing that I do, but as soon as the season started I just started missing all of my shots out of no where, I have been getting to the basket but I really want to knock down my open 3s again. Any tips?


Cam rss says:
2/13/2021 at 3:25:50 PM

I don’t know because I am good at basketball and I have some days like this so just don’t give up


joey monroe says:
10/13/2020 at 9:15:27 PM

So im a shooting guard i shoot like 80% threes, playing pick up ball but when i get in the game i tend to miss my shots i forget everything that i learned. i shoot like 100 three-pointers a day but why can i not make them during the game its actually annoying idk what to do i might not make my varsity team because of this.

  1 reply  

Kayle says:
12/22/2020 at 7:11:56 AM

Many factors could play into this. The setting may need to change or you just need to practice more. Install the new mechanics into your mind so you'll start doing them without even noticing it. It takes a whole lot of practice to get to that point so o suggest after pickup maybe do some shooting alone, focusing on changing your mechanics.


Abhyuday says:
5/10/2020 at 7:56:20 AM

These are side effects of acute fatigue. The thing that is needed is complete rest and avoiding basketball for a couple of days and getting that fresh mind and zing back. You will jump back to your original form afterwards.


Griffin says:
1/11/2020 at 2:03:06 PM

Whenever I’m in a bad slump I stop shooting and pass more. But then when I decide to shoot, I hesitate really bad and my shot gets worse and worse. And then after the game, I’m in a really bad mood and do nothing about my jumper. Any tips on how to get rid of a negative attitude?


engarde says:
9/2/2019 at 7:43:56 AM

What I'm doing when I have a shooting slump I start to drive and attack the basket. To get myself going, try to get hot again.

One of the great things about doing that is that the basket gets really big. You gain a lot of confidence that way quickly and easily.

Then I can mix it up and pull up a few jumpers in between drives, gradually moving further and further away from the basket. Additional advantage of alternating your offensive options is it keeps defence on it's toes. After a couple of made drives and shots you start knocking down threes and you're on fire.

I also try to concentrate on other aspects of the game, passing, off-ball-movement, rebounding and defense to get my mind off thinking about the shooting slump.


Casey says:
1/3/2019 at 7:20:24 PM

Also I have a lot of haters and teammates that wont pass the ball to me because I Made a travel team and bumped one of their friends down to the lower team and they think I am bad but obviously I am good if I made the team over 20 other players. Any tips on how to ignore or overcome these challenges?

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
1/4/2019 at 8:18:03 AM

Here's mantra for you.... "Focus on what you can control. Don't worry about things you can't control."

As you probably know, there are lots of things you can't control in basketball and life... the coach, your teammates, the refs, and so on.

It doesn't do any good to worry about things you can't control. Instead just focus on things you can control... your attitude, your effort, your kindness to people, etc.

In time, if you have a great attitude, play selfless, and be a great teammate... you will have some positive influence on your teammates and that should help. But ultimately you can only control how you handle things.

  1 reply  

anonymous says:
1/13/2018 at 7:21:18 PM

i am a really good shooter and a great overall player in practice but when its game time i can''t play the same.. idk why but i just can''t play well.. this has been bothering me a lot.. any tips?

  1 reply  

Casey says:
1/3/2019 at 7:16:05 PM

I am a very good player and I suck in practices but am amazing in games, One big tip is to think to yourself while in practice(this practice is a game for me) and if that does not work than you should just play like it is your last time you will play basketball.


Benny ballin says:
11/14/2017 at 9:47:32 PM

Yo I went from averageing 4 pts. On jv to averaging 39 on varsity after reading this. I single handedly led our team to a state championship and now I am said to be the greatest player ever to play basketball. I also hit a state record of 32 threes the game after I read this. This stuff works


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