The 2 Keys to Great Basketball Shooting

by Dannie Evans

Image of basketball shooting 101What is the ultimate goal of shooting a basketball?

To get a round, 9.5″ diameter orange ball to go through a round, 18″ diameter rim.  Simply put: to make the shot.

So what are the two most important elements for consistently making shots?

The simple, and surprising, answer is…

  1. Connection to the target (the basket)
  2. Controlling the flight of the ball towards it

This may seem overly simplistic, but therein lies the beauty.

Simplicity is a critical trait of good shooting.

Just remember that having a strong connection to the goal and your ability to control the flight of the ball toward it ultimately lead to your success or failure shooting the ball.

I learned this way of looking at shooting after my collegiate basketball career had ended.  I spent countless hours practicing shooting and working on my shot.  But it all came together after I started to really study shooting and basketball skill development from the likes of Rick Torbett and Tom Norland.

Connect and Control for Great Basketball Shooting

As you prepare to shoot, it’s critical to see and connect with the hoop with a single mental focus of  making the shot.  Confidence is crucial to exceptional shooting.  If you doubt your ability or let your mind wander, you’ll create interference.  That interference is what causes otherwise good shooters’ mechanics to breakdown.

A clear and calm connection to target helps eliminate mental and even physical distractions so your body can do what its been trained to do – shoot correctly.  In order for that to happen, you must quickly fixate on a single spot at the basket with unwavering concentration, relax your mind and always maintain a positive mental picture of your perfect shot before and during the shot.

That’s the connection and mental part of shooting.  And it needs to be trained just as much as your shot mechanics.

Image of the flight of the basketball

Controlling the flight of the ball is the physical aspect of shooting.  What’s important is accuracy and distance control.  Better stated, getting the ball to fly straight toward the center of the basket with the appropriate arc and distance.

That’s what great shooting is all about…

Putting the ball through the basket with accuracy and consistency, using an easily repeatable shot motion.  And to do so with any kind of shot, in any situation and under all sorts of pressure.

The problem: we often find ourselves so focused on seeing the ball go through the net that we forget that the essence of great shooting is the step-by-step process that precedes the ball leaving our hands.

How Do We Build an Accurate, Consistent and Repeatable Shot?

With these two simple principles in mind, we can now drill down into the nitty gritty fundamentals of shooting, step by step.  We’re now in a better position to fully understand and appreciate the specific techniques  that lead to great shooting.

For example:

  • Shooting stance and balance
  • How to power your shot
  • Grip and hand position
  • Shotline
  • Where to focus your eyes
  • Set point
  • Up and out or “pushing” shot motion
  • Your pure release
  • Follow through
  • After the shot

From here, I’ll be starting a series called “Basketball Shooting 101.”  We’ll examine how to build an accurate, consistent and repeatable shot step by step, one that is simple and free of unnecessary variables that throw your shot off.

Once you get that down and you begin to shoot better, increased confidence will follow. You will want to shoot more, even under pressure.  You will have more trust in your shot.  And that is when exceptional in-game performance becomes a consistent reality, not just infrequent hot streaks.

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