The 5 Main Pillars of a Great Jump Shot
Let’s start by defining jump shot – shooting the basketball from more than 3 feet away from the basket. A jump shot can be simple or highly complex based on mechanics.
Anyone can be a great jump shooter!
I too struggled for many years trying to develop a consistent jump shot that I could shoot from anywhere on the court. I truly believe that anyone can be a great jump shooter with practice and time.
A good number of players’ professional and amateur struggle to perform this fundamental action that leads to 2 or 3 points which is the name of the game. Putting points on the board as many times as possible from anywhere on the court.
To truly understand why some players make jump shooting look so easy we must peel back the layers and understand the 5 different pillars needed (when all working together) to produce consistent results.
The number one way to improve your jump shot percentage is to increase your confidence in your abilities. I know it is very frustrating to shoot the ball and only make 1 out of every 10 shots.
A positive mental attitude will improve your performance alone without any practice. Mental visualization will also help you improve your performance without any practice as well. Everything starts with your mind. If your mind is not thinking right your jump shot and most other aspects for your game will produce questionable results.
Key Point: You get what you expect. Expect your shot to go in 50% of the time, and more times then not it will happen.
2. Vision / Focus
The number two-way to improve your jump shot is vision and focus. Just before you shoot the ball, where are you looking and what are you thinking about. Are you looking at the front of the rim or at the backboard?
Are you thinking about how good the defender is or how good your offense is? Your mind should be clear and relaxed when you are shooting the ball. Your muscle memory should take over as you confidently watch the ball go through the NET.
Key Point: Focus on the front of the Rim and Clear your mind of all negative thoughts. Making the basket should be the only thought in your mind.
The number three-way to improve your jump shot is balance. This includes foot placement, shoulder placement, hand placement and your overall center of gravity when you go through the motion of shooting the perfect jump shot.
All great shooters have great balance, which affords them the opportunity to make such a high percentage of jump shots. Observe Richard Hamilton (Pistons), Ray Allen (Celtics), or old school legends like Larry Bird (Celtics) or Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers).
No matter what your jump shoot looks like if you have good balance you will shoot a higher percentage. When you practice shooting around pay attention to the way you set you feet, which direction your shoulders are facing, how you are holding the ball, any one misplaced aspect can cause friction and upset your balance.
Key Point: Your jump shot should feel right when you shoot the ball. If it doesn’t, make small adjustments till it starts feeling good.
4. Small (Micro) Adjustments
Your jump shot will live or die by the adjustments you make while shooting the ball. These small adjustments are necessary and all great shooters have made adjustments to fine tune their techniques.
Look at yourself as a piano tuner. The piano tuner makes minor adjustments to all the piano wires until the piano is in total harmony. Your jump shot is like a piano and you are the tuner. Keep tuning until you can feel the internal harmony.
Key Point: Don’t be afraid to make small adjustments, but whatever adjustments you make they must feel right and the ball must go in the basket at a higher percentage.
5. Rhythm & Harmony
Like a great symphony orchestra and the flows of nature your jump shot is a work of art plain and simple. Many artistic works are beautiful, abstract, and some are considered strange. In most cases great jump shooters have natural God-given skills that have made the sport of basketball come easy to them.
Everyone must find their own special rhythm on the basketball court that works for them, but it has to be in harmony with your teammates or you will not be making beautiful music together.
Key Point: If you Shoot in Rhythm you will make more shots.
In conclusion; with some fine tuning and a little practice anyone can develop the skill of shooting the basketball. By paying attention to these five pillars and by doing a little self-evaluation your jump shooting will improve and you will find your confidence growing with every new jump shot you take.
Coach Duane Waits
PS. Leave a comment if you have a special jump shooting technique that helped you improve your game.