How To Improve Shooting Accuracy In Basketball? A Different Approach


 

It is one thing to shoot consistently by yourself in the gym and what seems like a completely different skill to shoot well in a game and then being consistent game after game can seem impossible.

How do you improve shooting accuracy in basketball? In order to improve shooting accuracy in basketball, you must consistently shoot every day while constantly working on making sure you shoot with correct form. Your shooting must stimulate game shots which are high intensity and a degree of shooting difficulty.

If you have not already read my first shooting guide called “How To Become A Better Shooter In Basketball: Ultimate Guide” You can click on the link to do so.

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Information Overload 

There used to be a time when if you wanted to research a topic you would go to a library, although they still exist there is a much quicker way to do research and find an answer to your question, it is called the internet. Google, YouTube, and various message forums give you information at your fingertips. 

Some people say the internet is actually making us more stupid. I think we just become lazy and have resulted to the easy way hoping for instant results. We are bombarded with so much info we are confused as to what to do or where to start.

 What does this have to do with improving your shot you ask?  I see posts all the time in message forums and comments under the YouTube videos about shot form, improving shooting accuracy and scoring. I do believe that most of the comments are from people who sincerely are trying to improve their basketball game but get confused with the amount of information that is out there that they don’t know what to do with it or where to start.

Things back in the day seemed a lot easier, a coach would show you how to shoot the ball and you go practice shooting. You would shoot thousands of shots and you would just figure it out. It is called hard work and is still as called that. 

I am not saying the internet is a bad place to try and improve your basketball game. I am saying it is used poorly. Most watch a video say they are going to try that and move on to a hundred more videos forgetting the video that they just watch and was suppose to try.

When they do implement a drill it is for a couple of reps and then they stop and forget about it. It takes hundreds if not thousands of reps to instill a skill in your basketball game till it becomes instinctive.

Basketball skills when first learning shouldn’t be treated like music songs that you shuffle through your playlist and listen to it once and then move on to the next one.

My advice is to take one skill or drill, this can be for shooting dribbling and beat a dead horse. You practice it all week until you are extremely comfortable with it until it is second nature.

 

You must put in solid hard work and consistent practice pumping out repetition over and over again, day in and day out to improve. There is no such thing as an overnight success, it can take a very long while to get to where you want to be. 

Discipline is doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, as well as it can be done, and doing it that way all the time

– Bob Knight

Improve One-shot Mechanic Watch Your Results Improve

There are so many guides out there and ways to shoot a ball it is really hard to change a players shot writing a few words while not being able to see what their form is like in person.

Think of a basketball shot in a simplistic way, not like a golf swing, that is just too confusing. Humans have a tendency to complicate things and over-analyze everything, keep it simple. How can I better my form to easily put the ball in the rim?

Here is a list of common problem areas of players shots that I see often, you can diagnose yourself and fix these problems. The common issues are as follows

 

Ball On The Palm Not On Your Finger Pads

I see this a lot with young players and strongly believe when the ball stops resting on the palm or shooting with the palm you will hit more shots. You want to have a space where the ball and the palm are when the ball is in your hand ready to shoot.

When the ball is now on your finger pads it forces your hand span to become wider, giving more control of the ball while creating a straight backspin. The ball has less of a chance to create side spin and all sorts of problematic issues when shooting.

 

 Straighten Out That Elbow

That elbow is ugly, fix it, you just have to look in a mirror. Straighten the elbow so that the elbow is 90 degrees and the arm is straight up and down with your body and not chicken winging out to the side. keeping my hands out in front of me and my shooting elbow against my gut,  from there it’s straight up and down. You should feel that the ball is directly underneath the elbow when your about to extend the arm to shoot.

 

Balance

With balance will come stability, power, and consistency. If you are not balanced your shot will miss right or left and proper weight on the feet will not be distributed evenly.

 What is your stance you ask? You should be in an athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Anything more narrow you won’t have enough power behind your shot while shooting leaving most of the work for the arms, Shooting involves the whole body to work together. A stance much wider than the athletic position and it might be difficult to maintain consistency over time.

 

I would tell players to relax and never think about what’s at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus.

— Michael Jordan

 

Where Should My Feet Be Pointing?

Every coach has a different way to teach how the feet should be pointed while they shoot. How I teach the feet is pointed slightly opposite to the shooting hand. If you shoot right-handed your feet will be out slightly to the left and vice versa. 

Some coaches teach in line with the basket such as shoulders squared with the basket they also teach feet squared with the basket which is fine see which works for you.

Those are just a few common errors I see. More importantly, do not focus on all of them but choose one. Use it in your shooting practice.  Work on it continuously for a week before doing anything else or until it becomes natural then choose another skill. You will make far greater progress and improvements doing things this way than jumping back and forth from skill to drill, or not doing anything at all. 

 

One Skill A Week

If you were to practice 1 skill a week, every week a different skill and work on it for a whole year it would be amazing to see how much a player could improve by the end of that year.

This could potentially be anything shooting, dribbling, left-hand layups, with the idea of continuously practicing those skills that you just learned throughout the year. 

For that one week, you would have to put in an insane amount of repetitions.

 

Looking At The Rim Longer

I have never heard anyone talking about this, Why is it when players are wide open for a shot they make it more times than not. They have obviously more time to shoot and relax but also they are able to dial in by looking at the rim longer. This will better their chance of making the shot.

Now if you are saying well, of course, I say then use this to your advantage, How so you ask?

When I struggle in games to shoot well in a game, I do my best to try and look at the rim a little longer. I do this in 2 ways. The first is when I am anticipating that I will be receiving a pass (one pass away) and I’m in scoring position, I will look directly at the rim before getting the ball and then receive my pass and fire away. I feel this helps me as I have a picture of the rim in my head before I get the ball. Then I just need to make my move, follow through. I feel as if I am tricking myself into thinking I have been wide open.

The second way I do it is, I will dribble in open space or the to the place I know I can get a shot off and continue to stare at the rim as I am pulling up to shoot. Now your thinking, of course, I already do that. But I challenge you to pay attention and watch other players as most of them don’t actually look at the rim until they are about to shoot at the last second or are in the air then they look.

So if you are struggling during a game, see if finding ways to look at the rim just a little longer works for you. So simple but can very effective, it definitely helps me, it may help you.

 

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

 

You Don’t Need A Hoop To Improve Your Shot?

You don’t need a hoop to improve your shot, you don’t even need a ball. What do you mean you don’t need a ball? Some professional athletes will go to the free-throw line and mimick their form right before they are going to be passed the basketball by the referee. They are practicing their pre-ritual free-throw routine right before they shot.

Visualization is everything, in life and sports, if you can not see yourself doing something how can you complete the task. This serves two purposes to the shooter, they are practicing their form as the player knows that proper form will help them make more shots at the line. Secondly, they are using visualization to see the ball going through the hoop, giving them added confidence in making the shot.

Studies have shown if you use visualization to complete a skill movement prior to the task your more likely to be successful, something to think about.

Now what I do at home sometimes with a ball and without, is sit on the floor against the couch or laying down with the ball it doesn’t matter, while watching TV, I will shoot the ball up towards the ceiling. I envision myself playing on my favorite court shooting on my favorite rim playing in a basketball game.

I’m seeing myself in the first person as if I was really on the court and shooting the ball while seeing it go towards the rim and making it, SWISH!!! Sounds too easy hey, sounds too good to be true. You have probably already heard about this but never really tried it, give it a shot.

Every year for the past 10 years I go down to a basketball tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I always do my best to get game-ready before the tournament, putting up extra shots, playing a lot more basketball even though it’s tough with the time coaching and the family.

This past year I was injured, I had a nagging glute injury and Achilles tendonitis in my left foot.  I really wanted to play because the prior year I suffered an injury to my abdominal muscle in which I pulled it playing in a pickup game a week before the tourney and couldn’t play so I was out of commission.

So I was itching to play since last year and I thought I’m playing regardless, it is too good of a time being with friends unwinding and have an overall good time trying to win. Anyhow cause of my injuries I didn’t play or shoot much so I just practiced my shooting form at home. Just like the above, I mentioned, visualizing opponents in my face and cashing it in.

How did I play? You Ask. I shot the LIGHTS OUT!!! We didn’t win the tourney but again I had fun playing and did so while injured and could barely move after the second game on the second day. I shot better than any of my years down there and I knew I would. So much better than I heard a crowd of people cheer when I missed a shot, which wasn’t often.

You are probably thinking it’s just a coincidence, probably not. The Central Nervous System doesn’t know the difference between actually shooting a basketball or visualizing yourself shooting, it’s the same thing.

You could technically shoot more shots in your mind if you really wanted too.

 

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

 

The Power Of Form Shooting

I like to use the golf swing to paint the picture in the mind of the reader and relate it to shooting form. A pro golfer will take 2 or 3 practice swings before actually hitting the ball upon teeing off. It is obvious that a golf swing is way more technical than a basketball shot as they have to use a golf club to hit the ball where they want it to go. Don’t even start with how small the hole is that’s another topic.

How can we learn from a golf swing? We can practice form shooting for 5 minutes before a game or at home. Golfers, even the terrible ones know how important their swing is to their golf game, they invest thousands of dollars on clubs, coaches, and instructional videos to hit like the pros do, while working on it constantly. They become obsessed, don’t become obsessed to the point it becomes counterproductive.

When practicing form shooting, keep one of the key skills in mind from the list that I included above. Stand a few feet away under the basket and use one hand and shoot. When you become good at that, trying swishing it not hitting the rim. When you become good at that, move one step back and or add the guiding hand.

You can practice form shooting anywhere, will it look weird, Yes!! Does anyone care, No! not asking you to do it in front of everyone on the bus. But you could if you want too.

So remember if you want to be a better shooter and your spending a lot of time and energy which is great. Do not get caught up with the number of videos you need to watch or time searching for pointless drills you are not using. Use your time and energy wisely.

Do not over complicate the shooting mechanics, you will make things harder on yourself and more confusing that you will end up losing focus on the goal at hand. Take the A and B path, not the A, C, G, H,  and B, path.

Don’t confuse the fundamentals, keep the shot form simple, slowly change it, one shot mechanic, at a time doing so will give you better improvements and motivate you to continue. Changing everything will completely mess things up. But be obsessed with putting in reps.

I feel as if this is worth repeating again……… I was never gifted with amazing natural talents and athletic ability but every skill that I felt I was head and shoulders above everyone else were skills I became obsessed with. Working at them non stop to be better than everyone else and have an edge in that skill over everyone. Consider that for a moment.

 

So the next time you are looking to improve a skill keep it simple, first dedicate the time and give yourself the opportunity to improve. Remember skills and drills are like tools that a player can use to improve their basketball game, there are no magic tools, just hard work.

 

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