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Why Is My Jump Shot So Bad?

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Why is the act of shooting so difficult? Why is my jump shot so bad? Understand that putting a ball in a hoop at a consistent level is a hard task because it requires extreme precision. But, to be a great shooter you need good form and technique, and put in the hours of repetition.

Form, technique, and shooting mechanics are very important to your shooting journey. The habits you build on your shooting form is your foundation. If the foundation is weak or flawed, everything can crumble down. If you have bad mechanics, your potential shooting percentages can cap. You will not become as good of a shooter as you would have if you focused on perfecting your shooting technique

What should I focus on for technique?

Speed.

Before anything else, ask yourself if your jump shot can be utilized in any game situation. Can you get the jump shot off? The jump shot must be optimal for every given situation in a basketball game. For example, it should be quick enough to shoot off the dribble. Fast enough for catch and shoot with a defender closing out. Too slow and you run the risk of getting contested, or worse, getting blocked. 

Speed is not the first priority, but it should be considered by means of compatibility. If your jump shot cannot get faster with more repetition, the form is not optimal for progression.

Release point.

Just like speed, you want to get your jump shot off in a game setting. With that comes where the release point of your jump shot is. If it’s at your side or chest area, it can be harder to get off against taller defenders. Typically a good release point should be right above your eyes. 

Jumper Pose Elite

Guide hand

The guide hands purpose is to be the off hand that stabilizes the ball so it can accurately shoot straight. It allows the shooting hand to not veer off its course. 

Make sure that the guide hand follows other hand in synchrony. Both the guide hand and shooting hand should be at the highest point. 

Also, make sure you are not shooting with the guide hand or pushing in any way. Remember to shoot the ball with only the shooting hand. 

Jumper Pose 2


Ball placement

What also matters is where you bring the ball up to shoot, which can affect your jump shot speed. Try to bring the ball up no lower than the lower chest. This minimizes the split seconds it takes you to bring the ball up if you start at the waist. It also makes your jump shot less indicator-like, as defenders will not have as much time to react. 

jumpshot example 1

Rotation.

Make sure you are utilizing rotation in your jump shot. The last thing you want to shoot at the rim is a floating rock. Spinning the ball towards you is very important for improving percentages. It allows the ball to hit the rim and have a higher chance of going in. Every shot you shoot will not be perfectly on target, so this implementation will be vital.


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Arc.

Arc of a jumpshot is the case of the Goldilocks dilemma. You do not want a shot to be too high or too straight. Finding a balance and good arc can increase your percentages.

What is the arc balance?

Try not to shoot much higher than the backboard, but not much lower than the backboard either. Make sure the ball is entering the rim at an optimal angle. Too high or low it needs to be perfectly accurate. Just right and there is more room for an accuracy mistake or margin of error.

Soft touch.

Using your elbow, and using little arm strength, makes a jump shot drop lighter. Avoid too much of a pushing mechanic. Treat it like you are trying to gently put the ball in. That mindset will help your form. Wrist for mostly rotation, elbow for mostly power. 

Do not shoot with 2 hands, utilize a guide hand

This one should be obvious, but you do not want to shoot with two hands being used. Make sure to have a guide hand. The guide hand is the key to accurate jump shots. If you shoot the ball with two hands, there is no control factor to your jump shot. Guide hand makes sure the ball is steady and on the right trajectory. This point was already made but it needs to be reiterated. 

two handed jumper

How should I approach jumping?

Jump, but not excessively. 

You want to add some lift to your jump shot, as it is called a ‘jump’ shot. However, find a balance. Make sure you have some lift, do not shoot a set shot, unless you are 7ft tall.  You do not want to jump too high as well, as that is not replicable over the course of a game or training session. Jumping fatigues you. Jump high enough that your release point is slightly higher. Also, use the jump to give some light power to your shot. Think of jumping as the first step to shooting a jump shot. Using the momentum from the jump, then transfer that to the elbow, then the wrist. 

Do what is comfortable. 

If everything just mentioned falls in line with what jump shot form you currently have, all is well. Do not think that you need to replicate Klay Thompson or Steph Curry’s form to be a great shooter. Yes, form matters, and their forms are great, but your form can be great as well if you follow that blueprint. Outside of the technique, what makes a great shooter is consistent work.


Repetition

Now that you have a good technical foundation, it is time to put in the work. Build the framework. Shooting has a variety of scenarios needed to be practiced. From catch and shoot, to off the dribble, to fadeaway midranges, shooting requires working on every shot outside of the paint. 

How should I approach practicing and getting shots up?

Work on one thing at a time. 

If you want to get better at shooting from the corner off of catch and shoot, get a shooting buddy. I recommend you get 20 shots up from a spot where your buddy passes you the ball and rebounds. Then alternate spots, where you become the rebounder and passer. 

Same thing goes for off dribble shots, do a particular move you would do in game, replicate it hundreds of times consistently, and shoot the ball out of that particular dribble move. Every NBA player has a size up they do before a shot. An example would be a double under the right leg to a quick pull up. Do 100 reps of that one move, you master it and unlock the ability to utilize it in a game.

Do not just shoot without purpose. Many basketball players will go to a court and shoot around mindlessly, not having an idea of what to work on. Have a purpose when stepping on a court to get better. You work on a couple of things, a couple of shooting scenarios, in a couple of months to a year, you have almost every scenario down to intimate detail. 

How many shots should I get up every practice session?

basketball shooting machine

NBA players and elite shooters will take upwards to 300-500 shots a day. This is obtainable by means of shooting machines and trainers and rebounders. For someone who is alone, or with a shooting buddy, realistically aim for 100-150 shots per training session.

Especially if you are just starting out, 100-150 shots will make your arms turn to spaghetti. It takes time for your muscles to get used to a shooting workload. If you do not have the privilege to play indoors, those double rims will make your ball go some distance. You know your limits, try to exceed them. 

The important thing is to remain consistent. If you shoot 500 jump shots one day, then do not shoot for an entire month, you will lose most of your progress. On the contrary, if you shot 50 jump shots and spread it out to 10 different days over the course of a month, you would probably see more progress than one 500 jump shot day. Same number of reps, different result. 

How will I know when I am finally a good shooter?

The 40 percent club.

The great shooters at the highest level make at least 40 percent of the shots they take in game. Law of averages, open to extremely difficult and contested shots, they shoot 40 percent. This number is always their average over the course of a basketball season. If you track your shooting percentages and you shoot at least 40 percent on jump shots, you are becoming an efficient scorer. Elite level shooters like Klay Thompson, Steph Curry shoot that percentage. 

Steph Curry Jumpshot (GOAT)

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