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.

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.





Comments

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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.

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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?

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  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.

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  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?

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  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.

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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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Angie says:
3/2/2017 at 10:10:52 AM

My daughter has had a very rough season. She is a really strong player. Last year she was a top point scorer, strong defender, and untouchable under the basket. This year she is completely different kid. Shots are way off. She is still strong in defense and rebounding but not with the same passion. I have struggled all season to help her out of this funk but nothing seems to work. I am not her coach or even her assistant coach. Her coach and assistant coach don't seem to do much but tell her to get her head in the game and to bench her. What can I do to help my daughter get back to the strong player she used to be?

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  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
3/2/2017 at 11:38:54 AM

As a parent I'm not sure there's much you can do other than support her and encourage things like... resilience, hard work, being proactive, and so on. It's up to her to work through it.

Maybe not what you want to hear but she should communicate with her coach and ask... "what should I work on? what can I do to get better and help the team?" Hopefully these questions can help her get specific things she can do. Because there are so many things that could be causing the rough season that I could only guess.

Sometimes old habits that used to work, stop working as players get older and move up in levels. Sometimes it's a confidence thing. Sometimes it's other factors. It could be anything so I would suggest emphasizing character with her and telling her to communicate with the coaches.

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Carter says:
2/22/2017 at 4:20:36 PM

Hope it works... Best player on my team and only averaging 15pts. Before the season I was supposed to average at least 25...

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Carter says:
2/22/2017 at 4:20:36 PM

Hope it works... Best player on my team and only averaging 15pts. Before the season I was supposed to average at least 25...

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saulo lopez says:
12/3/2016 at 10:28:18 PM

I had a really bad game today going 0 for 7 on shots I don't always go scoreless on a game but when I do I feel like I'm not helping the team even though I do good on defense I feel like I'm really lacking , I really get on a bad mood and just want to stay home and nap , but just by reading this it got me going and I feel way better it got me really pumped for my next practice ..... thanks alot I feel like I'll do much better now

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joseph says:
5/24/2016 at 1:10:08 PM

I am just 12 years old and have only got into basketball a few months ago, I play at school and am pretty good. I noticed last week I was a complete shooting god and made almost every shot I took the whole week. But today and yesterday I shot the ball and it all felt so weird as if I had never shot a basketball before. I missed almost all the shots i took today and yesterday, is this a shooting slump? is this me getting worse? I will try these tips.

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  1 reply  

LOL says:
11/2/2016 at 3:56:57 PM

Thanks for the tips, I was in a really bad slump and I couldn't shoot at all, but the advice helped a lot.

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Ethan says:
2/20/2016 at 9:53:04 PM

The part about shooting with your weak hand and half court shots was from usab.com.

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  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
2/21/2016 at 7:15:14 AM

That's because we wrote the article for usab.com. Go look at the author.

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