This is a guestpost by Kyle from BasketballHQ. Make sure to check out his blog!
What does it mean to be able to shoot under pressure or to be “clutch” at the end of the game? There are a lot of players that can shoot in an empty gym and make shot after shot when there is nothing on the line, but only a few can hit those same shots when the bright lights are on them. I have been fortunate enough to play Division 1 basketball at Liberty University as well as professionally in Europe and what I was known for was shooting. Going into my senior year at Liberty I was ranked the 19th best shooter in the country by Fox Sports. I have put a countless number of hours into my shot, but it is more than just time that makes you a good game shooter. Here are 4 tips that I have picked up along the way to help you shoot better in a game while the pressure is on.
Repetition Builds Confidence
Spend time in the gym working on your shot. You have to be able to build that muscle memory so that in a game you don’t have to think about it when you shoot. In a game if you catch the ball and have to think about; elbow above eye, hold your follow through, etc. you are most likely going to miss. Also if you have put the time in working on your shot you earn the right to make the shot. You have a confidence in your shot because you know all the extra time you spent in the gym working on becoming a good shooter. Here is a great drill that you can use to work on your shot and help to simulate some game pressure.
Peer Pressure Partner Shooting Drill
What you do before the basketball gets to your hands will usually determine whether you miss or make the shot. Be down ready, show your hands, and then step into your shot with confidence. If you catch the ball and then think, “oh I am open, maybe I should shoot it.” you are not going to have very good success. Shot preparation is a big key to being a good game shooter. Watch the video below to see how you should prepare for a catch and shoot shot.
Have a Short Memory
The reason that most players don’t shoot well in a game is because they are scared to miss. Maybe they have missed a couple of shots or they are scared to let down their teammates with a miss, whatever it is stop! Shooters must have a short memory. If you miss a shot put it out of your mind and be ready to shoot the next open shot. One of my coaches in college used to tell me, “you may miss 5 shots in a row but keep shooting because you may make the next 5 in a row.” If you are open and it is a good shot shoot the ball with confidence.
This is something that a lot of players don’t take advantage of and they are really missing out. We have all heard people say that so much of shooting is mental. Well if that is the case then why aren’t shooters spending more time working on the mental side of shooting? With positive visualization you are working on it. Take 5-10 minutes during the day to visualize yourself making a big shot or making a great play. When I was playing I used to visualize myself making big shots or big plays before every game. This helps to build up your confidence in yourself.
“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot … when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.” -Michael Jordan