How to Improve Your Jump Shot (Practice Guide)
Shooting a basketball is the the most fundamental aspect of the game, and improving your shot is a never ending journey. The process of shooting, and getting better, comes from repetition and muscle memory.
This guide will walk you through a shooting workout that will help teach the repetition necessary to build your individual mechanics.
To become a pure shooter, you must stop thinking about every shot, and train your body to follow the necessary steps each time. Taking your mind out of the equation makes your body shoot exactly as you’ve practiced.
It might also benefit you to find a good indoor court to practice on.
Here are the drills and shot charts of a good shooter’s workout.
Proper Shooting Form
Your feet should be about shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent.
This solid foundation is where your shot begins. We want the power of our legs to push straight up and into the shot.
This should be one fluid motion up and into the release.
Your toes should point towards the rim. A lot of players angle themselves just a bit, but later on in advanced drills, this will hurt their performance. Running to a spot and then squaring up to shoot requires you to face your target, but if you are angled the wrong way, it could lead to your body being angled as well.
A perfect shot requires you to jump straight up and come straight down. This is the foundation of any great shooter.
Hand Placement on The Basketball
Your weak hand will form a guide for the ball on the side, while your strong hand will perform the shooting mechanics.
Your strong hand will “cup” the ball ever so slightly, not allowing the palm to touch the ball. By keeping the palm away from the ball, you leave all of the control in the fingers.
As you practice this form, try to make sure that you don’t bring the ball down below the chest.
To get a shot off quickly, you’ll want the ball to be as close to the release point as you can.
Bringing the ball down to the waist or below will slow your shot and allow defenders a chance to block or defend the shot better.
Here is a great video to help you visualize hand placement and form.
We want our shooting arm to be as straight up and down as possible. Once we bring the ball up above our forehead, we will use the “window” just below the ball to look at the rim.
Through this view we want to focus on the point where the net meets the rim. Looking away or looking at the defender will cause you to misjudge the shot.
Focus on that point of the rim until after the ball is released.
Extend your shooting arm up in one smooth motion, using the momentum from your legs pushing up, and roll the basketball off of the middle finger while flipping the wrist towards the rim.
These are the fundamentals of shooting, now let’s take a look at how and where we should practice our shot.
Where to Shoot
We want to be no more than 5 feet from the basket when learning to shoot or improving our form. Do not start with free throws or three pointers. You will overcompensate for the flaws in your form the further you are away from the basket.
Spend at least 5 minutes or 20 shots at each of these spots on the court.
Pay attention to your form throughout these shorter shots. You do not have to jump on these shots, but you should at least have the momentum to be up on the toes when releasing.
Focus intently on releasing the same way on every shot.
Do not use the backboard.
The next position is a little further away and adds more angles.
These positions will require a little jump to give you the momentum to complete the jumper.
Spend at least 8 minutes or 30 shots at each position.
That’s a lot of shots!
Make your body conform to the rules we stated above. Do not allow yourself to regress to the way you shot before.
If you are new to shooting, continue with these two drills and locations until you are fully comfortable with shooting a basketball.
The next spots on the court are even further away, but not quite to 3 point range.
While the 3 pointer is very prominent in today’s game, we are not quite ready to shoot it yet.
Getting extremely proficient from this range will open up your game. It will also strengthen your shot and allow you to move further away from the basket.
Spend 10 minutes and 30 shots at each location. Focus on keeping the form you had closer to the basket.
Use your legs to make the shots easier and keep your form rigid on each shot.
Deviating from what you’ve done before will cause misses and inconsistencies in your shot mechanics.
Once we have mastered shooting from here we can move out to the 3 point line.
Shooting 3 point shots can have an effect on your mind.
Stepping beyond that 3-point line changes how some people view the shot. You should focus on keeping the exact same mechanics as before. Making 3-pointers is no different from anywhere else.
Drive your body upward with your legs and release just as you did 5 feet from the basket. Never let your eyes leave the point on the rim where the net attaches.
Spend 12 minutes and 30 shots at each location.
These shooting drills will get you the pure shot that you’ve always strived for. You must focus on using these drills consistently and make sure to keep your form perfect. Your jump shot is pivotal to becoming a deadly scorer. Don’t ever stop working on this aspect of your game.
We strive for perfection and don’t give up till we have attained it.
Once you have completed these drills multiple times, you’ll start to feel the muscle memory taking effect and you’ll start to get the shots off faster with less thought.
Practice like you play, and never stop shooting!
Tell us what works for you when you practice your jump shot, we also want to know if you are putting these best practices into use. Comment below!