Ways to Improve Your Basketball Shooting Percentage
Excellent basketball players are born through relentless effort both on and off the court. However, when it comes to improving your basketball shooting percentage, running sprints and doing jumping jacks won’t provide much help. If your numbers are lacking and you want to perfect the mechanics of your shot, you must reevaluate your technique by going back to the basics and incorporating the following basketball shooting tips into your practices and pre-game warm-ups.
Catch in a Shot-Ready Position
Whenever catching a basketball, you should immediately move your body into a shot-ready (or athletic) position. When in a properly balanced shot-ready position, your knees should be bent and your torso hinged at the waist—as if you are squatting before a jump. For an open shooting stance, place your shooting foot forward and your non-shooting foot behind. If you’re more comfortable with a squared stance, position both feet shoulder width apart and point them toward the basket.
Setting the shot-ready position as your default catching motion will help you improve your reaction time, add extra power to your shot, and get the ball off as accurately and quickly as possible. To practice your catch, simply have a teammate pass you the ball. If practicing solo, stand five feet away from a wall and repeat your shot-ready catch by bouncing the ball off the wall to yourself. You should also practice correctly gripping the ball immediately upon catch. Make sure you receive the ball against your shooting hand with your fingers spread while the palm of your other hand firmly supports and balances the ball from underneath.
Stay On Target
When shooting, you should face forward and focus your eyes not on the flight of the ball, but on your target: the rim of the basket. Locating your target just before you shoot will improve your shooting percentage by allowing your brain the split-second it needs to subconsciously calculate the distance, arc, and trajectory that the ball needs to travel to reach its goal. To accurately hit your intended target, look straight ahead and position your shooting arm and hand to form a “C” shape with the ball raised up above your head and the bent elbow pointing toward the basket. To perfect the position, practice the motion in check yourself in a mirror or have a friend check you from the side.
Identify Your Shot Pocket
Your shot pocket is your most comfortable body position when shooting. Shot pockets are different for just about every player. Some like to shoot the ball from the center of their forehead or when their arms are fully extended, while others prefer to shoot just to the upper left or right of their heads. Whichever position feels right is the correct position for you. Once you get in the zone and discover a pocket that works, stick with it.
Loosen up When Shooting
Precise shooting requires an instantaneous and harmonious positioning of your body, feet, arms, hands, and gaze. Such focus and footwork can only be achieved by practicing a relaxed and fluid shooting motion. To make your shots more consistently accurate, you must practice a fluid shot that’s free of hesitation and carries a single, constant flow from your fingertips to the rim.
Always Follow Through
Many have witnessed pro ballers holding their arm in the air after they have thrown a free throw as if they are posing like a statue. While they may look silly, they are actually following through with their shot. Following through is when you hold your body’s throwing position until the ball connects with the hoop, rim, or net. By simply retaining your shooting form by following through, you can help improve your throwing technique, increase your shot accuracy, and aid in building muscle memory without even having to think about it.
Practice Your Arc
Players who throw level shots decrease their odds of making a basket and often have their shots bounce out because they lack optimal arc. A shot with an optimal arc follows a 45-degree, medium height that adds curvature and height to the path of the ball. By increasing the arc of your shot, you can increase your margin of error by several inches—giving the ball extra room to clear the rim. During practice, have a teammate stand directly in front of you to help force your shots up. However, try not to shoot too high. An over-arced shot can be just as ineffective as a flat one.
Land Properly After Shooting
When taking your shot, you should always shoot the ball while you are mid-jump. Let the ball release from your hand before you reach the apex of your leap and land just in front of where you started. Doing so will add momentum and reach to your shot, propelling the ball towards the basket with greater force.
Film Your Practices with a Friend
Set up a camera or have a teammate record your practices so you can see how you shoot. You may be surprised by the results. Watching your shots on film can tell you a lot about your form, posture, follow-through, arc, and mechanics. You’ll be able to detect any bad shooting habits that you’ll need to correct to increase your basketball shooting percentage.
It’s also beneficial to practice with a friend or teammate so you’re not having to chase the ball after each shot. Not only will a practice partner save you time by rebounding you the ball, but they can also help by observing your shot posture and giving you live pointers—allowing you to make corrective adjustments in the moment. If no partner is available during practice, you can always invest in a ball return device to double the number of shots you can take in a single practice.
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Watch Game Films
While classic basketball films like “Hoosiers,” “He Got Game,” and “White Men Can’t Jump” have inspired and influenced many players over the years, they mostly only offer entertainment. When it comes to improving your shot accuracy, you should really be watching game film of the pros. From recorded NBA games to instructional YouTube videos, there are many media resources to assist you with bettering your form, stance, and technique.
Warm-up with Practice Shots
Your basketball shooting percentage is calculated from the number of times your ball enters the hoop. To get that number up, you simply need to practice, and practice does indeed make perfect. To warm up, shoot a minimum of 50 shots at each practice and, if possible, before each game. Shoot from anywhere on the court and track the results of each shot. You’ll begin to notice deficiencies in your shot mechanics such as whether you shoot to the left, right, too high, or too short. By charting your shots, you’ll be able to determine what areas of improvement you need to focus on, such as alignment, power, and distance control. This powerful strategy will help you improve your basketball shooting percentage and develop phenomenal shooting confidence.
Don’t Dwell on Your Missed Shots
Statistically speaking, you won’t make every shot you take. So whether during practice or a game, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a basket. Dwelling on your failures does nothing to help your shooting percentage. Focusing on your mistakes will distract you from your goal and cause you to make more errors. You must learn to let it go, keep your head in the game, and move forward. You will always have another opportunity to correct your shot and redeem yourself, so ignore any thoughts that can negatively affect your game time confidence and performance.
Wear Your Confidence
Another proven strategy for increasing game time confidence is investing in custom basketball jerseys. Players who suit up in stylish team uniforms adopt an undeniable swagger that helps to calm their nerves and enhance their shooting game. The proven benefits of a well-tailored and comfortable custom basketball jersey can help players improve their numbers by giving them the self-assurance to shoot the rock and start hitting threes like never before.