Encouraging Health and Happiness

Perfect Your Jump Shot

By Danny McLartyOn March 29, 2011

If you were to walk into just about any gym in America to watch kids warming up before the start of practice, do you know what you’d see? You’d see a bunch of young basketball players heaving up shots from behind the 3-point line. This is the last thing they should be doing! At such a young age, these players aren’t strong enough to shoot the ball from this distance with proper mechanics. What happens is that they develop bad habits that quite often stay with them when they reach an older age. So, if you are in 6th grade or younger, don’t worry about the 3-ball just yet (with few exceptions). Start at a close range, and follow the tips below.

The Perfect Jump Shot
Take a look at the players with the best jumpers in the world, and you’ll see a number of things they have in common with their shot.

  • They square up to the basket. This means that all 10 toes are facing the rim, as are the shoulders
  • Their feet are about hip-width as they prepare to shoot. This will help keep optimal balance.
  • They keep their shooting elbow (right hand in the case of both Ray and Dirk) in, as opposed to letting it flare out to the side.
  • They spread their fingers out when placing it on the ball while preparing to shoot. The last two fingers to touch the ball at the release of their shot are the middle and index fingers.
  • They follow through and hold their follow through for a second or two after releasing the ball.
  • They keep their head still and eyes on the rim as they prepare to take a shot, and they stay that way until the ball is released.
  • Their feet land in the same spot that they shot (or slightly in front of the place they shot) the ball.

As I mentioned above, CONSISTENCY is the key. This means that to become a great shooter, you need to practice the way you play. If you do NOT abide to the above “rules” when practicing, then you’re shooting form will be subpar when it comes to shooting the ball in the game while going up against defenders.

The Pros
Now, you may be thinking, “But I see Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant fading away when they shoot some of their shots.” This is true, but I guarantee that it took them years and years of practicing the above mentioned “basics” before they were skilled enough (and strong enough) to consistently make off-balanced, fade-away jumpers. So for now, follow the tips I gave you above and master these basics. Before you know it, you’ll be draining 3′s!

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