5 Things Great Shooters Have in Common

by Dannie Evans

Image of basketball shooting 101Let’s quickly dispel this basketball shooting myth…

What is perfect shooting form?

That is a common question based on the widely held myth that perfect form actually exists.

It doesn’t.

There is no such thing as cookie-cutter perfect form for all players. What I mean is, every player doesn’t need to shoot identically or have what is perceived to be mechanically perfect form to be a good or great shooter.

Skill acquisition occurs through deliberate training, exploration and personal creativity.  While deliberate training tends to get much of the focus, each component is critical to effective development.

For an example of this, picture these 10 great shooters in NBA history:

  • Larry Bird
  • Reggie Miller
  • Ray Allen
  • Steve Nash
  • John Stockton
  • Chris Mullen
  • Steve Kerr
  • Hubert Davis
  • Peja Stojakovic
  • Mark Price

Those are 10 of the best shooters of all-time, past and present.  Do they all shoot exactly the same way? Do they their shot mechanics look the same? No!  They all have distinctly different shots and mechanics.  That’s because great shooting doesn’t mean you have to be a robot.

5 Traits of Great Shooters

With that said there are 4 things all great shooters have that lead to their success shooting the rock.

1. Consistent & repeatable shot mechanics that get results

Whether you have picture-perfect form or your elbow sticks out to the side, it’s critical that you shoot the same way every time.  Inconsistent mechanics lead to inconsistent results.  You want a shot that you can easily repeat time and time again without fail.  If your shot isn’t broken and you are a shot maker, chances are your form is good enough.  What’s important: shooting your shot every time.  That’s what leads to consistent performance shooting the ball.

2. Comfort

When I was learning to shoot, all I would hear is “Get your elbow in.  Tuck it under the ball.”  While that is decent advice, it was uncomfortable as hell.  It didn’t feel natural and forcing myself to shoot that way lead to inconsistency because I was always thinking and forcing my elbow in.  Not smart.  Thankfully I got over that, and recently learned that having your elbow perfectly positioned under the ball is not only unnecessary for good shooting but potentially counterproductive.

The point: Follow sound guidance and shooting fundamentals.  But also explore different shooting techniques as well.  Find your own comfort level with your shot mechanics.  Doing so allows you to shoot the same way every time with the least amount of effort and thought.

3. Feel

I am a big believer that shooting has a large degree of “feel” to it.  Sure there are many technical components of good shooting which we’ll cover.  But if you were to ask many of the best shooters they probably couldn’t tell you why they are so good.

Feel develops through all your practice and repetitions combined with a high level of concentration.  It’s knowing the shot is going in as soon as it leaves your hands because you felt that way before when making similar shots.  More importantly, your feel helps you correct your shot when you miss so you don’t go into long slumps.

4. Confidence

Your mind is what determines how good you will be as a shooter.  You need to believe that every time you put up a shot it’s going through the net.  You need to trust your preparation.  Doing so allows your mind to get out of the way and let your body do what you trained it to do.

You can have great shooting mechanics and perfect footwork.  But when the game is on, if you aren’t confident in your ability, all that gets tossed out the window.  That is how powerful your mind is.  It can screw up something you have practiced for years.

Develop your consistent and repeatable shot – and believe in it!

5. No Hesitation

This is a direct result of trait #4.  Great shooters never hesitate when they have a shot.  They put that bad boy up and drain it just as their minds eye envisioned it.  Hesitation leads to failed shot mechanics, which leads to missed shots which kills the confidence of many shooters.

Don’t let this happen to you.  Put it up!

Now let’s be clear, you want to practice good shooting form.  But you shouldn’t be looking for a magic bullet in terms of perfect shot mechanics.  What you want is to develop YOUR perfect shot.  One that is unique to you and gets consistently good results.

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