Sharp Shooter Secrets: Become a deadly jump shooter – Pt. 1

Posted on August 12, 2014
By: hminami

Part 1 Topic: Introduction

Have ever heard the saying: “work smarter… not harder”?

This is part 1 of our crash course on how to quickly become a true sharp-shooting sniper on the court. By the end of this series, you will likely be hearing the phrases:

  • “Hand Down, Man Down”
  • “Splash”
  • “Yak Yak”
  • “Buckets”
  • “Got ‘em”

or any other assortments of chants every time you shoot the ball.

We are going to start from the ground up and assume that your jumper is as broke as Kesha’s voice. While this is a shortcut secret to becoming a better jump shooter, hard work and consistency will go a loooong ways towards seeing better results.

We are going to go from A-Z on how to become a better shooter.  This will include information on form, drills, scenario preparation and mental toughness building exercises.  If you’re a more advanced shooter, make sure you follow along later in the series (it will be posted on our Twitter Account @HoopConnect), I guarantee there are some pointers that you will find EXTREMELY useful (even as a seasoned shooter).

Some things to discuss before we get started…

Preface I: NOT a Fan of Rebounding Machine Workouts  


First off, I have never been a big believer in using those rebounding and basketball feeding machines. Yeah, I’ve seen tons of great shooters using these machines, but I feel like the results you get are minimal compared to the work you put in. Here are a few reasons why I think that is:

1. Repetition over form 

These machines rely much more on volume shooting rather than focusing on your form.   People start chucking up shots with terrible form towards the end of their workout when their tired.  Because of this, you see a lot of bad habits being picked up from over shooting and disregarding the process of fine tuning your form.

2. Unrealistic Passing

The machine usually spits out the ball in an awkward forward rotation or with no spin at all.  Not only that, the passes are often thrown at your feet, over your head or off to the side.  This forces the player to condition themselves to catching bad passes.  While this practice can be somewhat useful for real in-game situations, it is actually preparing you for ONLY the worst kind of passes.  So, when you do get a decent pass (which is what you should be getting from the majority of your teammates), the way you catch, set and release your shot will all be different from how you practiced.

3. Unnatural Surroundings

Everything about these practice rounds are completely unnatural.  First of all, it takes tons of time to set up the machine.  Secondly, you now see this giant trampoline guard like net that surrounds the hoop.  Third, you hear this awkward buzz just before the ball shoots out at you.  And to top it all off, when a ball bounces outside the cage, you have to chase it down, grab the next ball that is shooting out, quickly throw them back into the machine and reset.  All of these weird additions to the environment does nothing but distract and misguides your preparation for the real game.

4. False Sense of Confidence 

When you put up 1000 shots, you’ll feel pretty good about yourself.  If you made a majority of your shots, you’ll feel even better.  You’ll be bloated with confidence, which by the way is extremely important for all shooters.  The problem is, when your shooting percentage is not as high as your practice rounds (due to all the issues mentioned above), you go into panic mode.  Frustrations surface along with a lot of cuss words and morale takes a dive.

*Disclaimer: Rebounding machines might work for some people, but for the reasons mentioned above, I don’t believe that they are an efficient tool for working on your shot.  Some people swear by them, but I think if you get back to form and basics, you will see exponential results in comparison.

Preface II: Being Fit Helps

JJ Reddick

You can practice form and basics, but what really gets you to the next level is being in great shape. Working out and keeping your core strong is key to having a nice jumpers that lasts ALL game.  Here are a few pointers to consider:

1. Leg Power is Key

Close of 90% of the power from your shot should be coming from your legs.  For this reason, you need to have legs that are conditioned to endure for the entire game.  This does not mean that you need to jump high on your shot, it simply means that most of the momentum you use to putting up a shot all starts with your legs.

2. Muscle Restriction and Repetition

This is purely hypothetical and is my own personal belief.  I believe that working out tightens your muscles, which somewhat restricts movement.  Therefore, when you develop a solid form for your jump shot, your muscles will get used to that movement and start to restrict itself to that path.  With the addition of practicing a repetitive motion both on and off the court (when you’re working out with weights), your body will get used to keeping a consistent form.  Again, this is all completely unscientific and theoretical (Bill Nye back me up here).

3. The Body Works Together

Shooting a ball correctly requires your entire body to work together.  The entire motion of shooting is a full body exercise.  For this reason, a good balance between upper and lower body strength is important. Balance is going to be extremely important for shooters

Preface III: Maintenance is Easy, Building Takes Time


It’s important to remember that getting a truly consistent, killer jump shot might take a while. We are going to offer as many shortcuts as possible (we want to be as efficient as possible), but it takes people a long time to perfect this skill. It’s not just the mechanics and repetition that we have to worry about, your confidence level and shot selection are also vital aspects of becoming a great shooter.  It will take time to get the building blocks down, but once you have it… maintenance will be a lot easier.

1. Solidifying Basics Takes Practice

Getting comfortable with the right form and motion takes practice.  This is especially true if you’re a beginner.

2. Working Out Bad Habits

Shaking off a bad habit is going to be challenging for a few reasons.  One, if you have seen some success with your funky form, then you will find it difficult to undergo the process of having a failing jump shot as you adjust your form.  I remember when I changed my form.  It took a year before I was hitting shots consistently again.  However, I became a much much MUCH better shooter in the long run.

3. Unconventional Approach

While there is textbook form for shooting, I personally don’t believe that there is only one way of shooting for everybody.  We obviously are going to try to teach the textbook form, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust things for your personal game.  Look at Dirk Nowitzki!  Awkward form, but it works.  This crash course will give you some basic foundations and awesome secrets that can be applied to any shooter.

Follow on Twitter @HoopConnect to get updates for when we release the next part of the Sharp Shooter Secrets series.  In the next section, we are going to talk about getting the right form for you.

So are you ready to get that deadly jumper?

Comment down below for thoughts and questions.

Here is a little something to motivate in the meantime…

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