5 Ways to Improve Your Basketball Shooting Percentage

There are many game changing dynamics in basketball, but among the top is shooting percentage. A team that includes several individuals with a high shooting percentage has serious advantages. Here are a few:

  • Good shooters spread out the defense. When the defense knows that there are multiple above average shooters on the floor, they will stretch out their defense to cover more ground. 
  • Even a small increase in shooting percentage will win more games. A better shooting average means that your team will require fewer attempts to meet their point target. Low shooting averages can only be made up by stellar rebounding and forced turnovers. Both are much more difficult than simply increasing shooting percentage by a few percentage points. 
  • High shooting percentages win scholarships. Short players, slow players, and defensively challenged players have scored scholarships by scoring points. Coaches know that players with the highest shooting averages have the most dedication and will be the greatest assets. 
  • Players who can shoot get more playing time. Players with consistent shooting will see more time on the court. Improving your shooting percentage by 5% can mean the difference between being a starter and watching the action from the bench.

Now that you know how important shooting is, what can you do to improve your shooting percentage? 

1. Shift Your Focus

A small change in your focus from an internal to an external one. What does this mean? An internal cue is a technical cue about where the elbow goes or where the wrist goes or where the feet should be, and reference the body.  

An external cue would be the motion of the ball, it would be the interaction between the ball and the rim, the trajectory of where we want the ball to go. Anything outside of the body is external. 

Instead of trying to memorize a checklist of mechanical needs your body must do to make the shot, focus on the target and the flight of the ball. Just like in the Inner Game of Tennis, letting our bodies shoot our shoot the way we're comfortable shooting will reap benefits far beyond trying to conjure up textbook mechanics during every practice shot.

2. Practice Visualization

Reinforcing positive visuals can help to eliminate game time jitters and the negative thoughts that follow. Copious amounts of research have shown that visualization can improve your shot without ever stepping foot on the court. You can literally practice shooting in your head every day and increase your shooting percentage. 

3. Film Yourself Shooting

With so many apps available, like Home Court and Coach's Eye, it is a must that serious basketball players video and critique their shot. Most players haven't seen their shot before. Once it is slowed down and you can analyze each frame, you will be able to detect poor mechanics and make corrections.

 4. Don't Try to Hang 

Chances are, you will never be able to defy physics and hang in the air while shooting a perfect shot. The ideal point to release the ball is on your way up. Focus on strong and consistent mechanics rather than flashiness and you will see more playing time. 

5. Focus on the Rim Earlier

Players who have practiced locating the rim sooner have improved shooting averages. Every time you shoot, in a fraction of a second your brain estimates the distance and and angle to the rim. The more time your brain has for this calculation, the more accurate the estimate. Get into the habit of putting your eyes on the rim as early as possible.

Applying these tips will ensure that your shot has an increased likelihood of soaring through the hoop. Push past bad form and a negative mindset and practice, practice, practice.