If you don’t have confidence in your shot when you shoot the basketball you are most likely going to miss, it’s as simple as that. The best shooters in the game of basketball might not make every shot, but they believe that every shot they take is going to go in. Being a good shooter has a lot to do with your mental outlook.
Developing confidence in your shot requires a combination of both physical and mental training.
Having been blessed with the ability to play basketball both in college and professionally overseas, I have picked up some tips on developing confidence in your shot. Here are three steps that you can use to help develop your shooting confidence.
The first step in developing confidence is learning the proper way to shoot the basketball. This is important because if you can get the fundamentals of shooting down early, you will give yourself a much higher ceiling as a player. Proper shooting fundamentals include: being down in the proper position and ready for the shot, jumping straight up and down, and holding your follow through.
A great way to learn how to shoot the right way is to watch a player that already has good shooting fundamentals, and then try to imitate them. Ray Allen or Kevin Durant are two great examples of players to watch and try to emulate. Not every player is going to shoot the exact same way, but it is important that you develop some key fundamentals in your shot, and this is a great way to practice this.
VIDEO: How to Shoot a Basketball
Repetition and Muscle Memory
Once you have learned the fundamentals of shooting, it is time to build muscle memory for your shot. Muscle memory is being able to do an action with your body without having to think about it. For example, if you picked up a ball right now and threw it to your friend you wouldn’t have to think: "bring my arm back, step forward, bring arm forward, and release the ball." Your body would just do the motion because you have already trained it and it remembers the motion.
The same thing holds true with shooting a basketball. You must train your body to shoot the ball the right way and then it will start doing it naturally. In a game, if you have to think about how you are going to shoot, then you are most likely going to miss.
At this point you have already mastered the fundamentals, now you need to spend time in the gym training your body. It takes repetition to build good muscle memory. Shoot every shot the same way and at the same speed that you would shoot in a game.
The first two steps to developing confidence are physical, but the last and final step is mental. In order for you to be a good shooter you have to believe in yourself. If you have followed the first two steps then you have already spent time in the gym working on your shot. That time in the gym has earned you the right to have confidence your shot.
You must believe in yourself and your shot. Even if you have missed the last five shots you have to believe that you are going to make the next one. Good shooters know that another important shot is coming up and they must be ready for it. Don’t let a previous miss negatively affect your next shot.
Another great mental tool to improve your shooting is positive visualization.
Spend time each day visualizing yourself taking and making shots. There have been studies done in sports about how much improvement athletes have made simply because they started spending time positively visualizing themselves having success in their sport.
It is important that you exercise your mind as well as your body.
Becoming a good shooter takes a lot of time and effort but if you follow this game plan, you will put yourself on the right track. Believe in yourself and your abilities and continue to work hard on a regular basis. That is how you will develop confidence your shot.