In today’s game, the Jumpshot is the most important skill you can learn to have. Every position on the floor needs to be able to shoot from the point guard to the center. In the NBA, big men are averaging nearly the same 3pt field goal percentage as the guards. If that doesn’t make you want to become a better shooter I do not know what will. The beautiful part about shooting, is anyone can learn it! As long as you have the right techniques and are willing to put in the work, you can become a very good shooter. Here are a few pointers to get you started and the rest will be up to you!
Most coaches preach hand placement and follow-through which we will cover below, but they skip the importance of your stance. Much of the power generated before a shot comes from your legs. This is why we tell young kids to refrain from shooting fade-away and one-foot shots from distance until they are strong enough in the lower body to do so. Having the same shot from head to toe will be your best bet when trying to perfect your jumper.
Start by keeping your feet shoulder width apart with your strong foot slightly in front of the other. If you are right handed this would be the right foot, if you are left handed it would be the left. Once you have the foot placement correctly situated, bend into a quarter squat. You do not want to squat too low as if you were attempting a dunk, just a slight bend that gives you enough power to elevate works fine. The key to the stance is balance. Finding balance and feeling comfortable enough to elevate into your Jumpshot will put you on the right track to being a consistent shooter.
There is much debate on this topic and shooting coaches have unique philosophies on hand placement. I will give you the basic principles, but it will be up to you to find your comfort zone. Some of the best shooters ever like Reggie Miller and Larry Bird had unique shots, but they followed the core principles.
The strong hand should be in the middle of the ball. Your hand should not be on the side where all the seams connect, this will give you a lopsided shot. Keeping the strong hand in the middle, place your weak hand as a guide on the side of the ball. Make sure your hands are not too close together where it turns into a “push shot”. The majority of your shot is generated from one hand and the other is just a guide.
Follow Through and Target
Sometimes referred to as the stroke, your follow through is the last part of the perfect Jumpshot. It is the beautiful goose neck you see shooters hold up long after they just drained a swish from beyond the arc. As you elevate into the shot, extend your arms in one motion and release with a strong flick of the wrist. This will give the ball the strong back spin you need to have that “shooters touch”.
As a bonus, I wanted to make sure you knew that having a target before taking the shot is extremely important. Most shots are short because players either lack the leg strength, are lazy, or do not have a target. Avoid that by focusing on the back of the net or the back of the rim. It is just like shooting a gun, you focus on a target and hit it. Focus on dropping the ball in a high arching way on the bottom of the net, and more often than not you will.
You have the tools you need to start practicing but unfortunately, I cannot do it for you. Get to the gym and put up 250-500 shots every single day if you want to see this technique pay off. What are you waiting for? Go!