Taking Good Shots
Taking Good Shots and Getting Them Off Quicker
Consistent shooting is a combination of technique and rhythm. Doing the same thing, the same way, every time, is what makes a good shooter. And doing that thing in a rhythm that comfortably allows all the necessary pieces to come together at the right time is just as important as technique. Trying to do anything that changes your shot technique or upsets your rhythm (such as rushing your shot or shooting off balance); will typically result in a bad shot.
I believe there are three important criteria to determine a good shot: 1) Are you open? 2) Is it a shot you can make at least 7 out of 10 times when you’re practicing by yourself in a gym? And 3) is it a part of your team offense?
If the answer to those three questions is, “yes,” then you should not hesitate and you should let the ball fly!
That being the case, how do you get your shot off quicker? Well, the answer is all determined by what you’re doing prior to getting the ball and actually taking the shot.
First, is your thought process. Too many players catch the ball and then they look to see if they have a shot. You should know if you’re going to have a shot opportunity before you even catch the ball. Know where your defense is, where your teammates are, and be in your shooting zone — an area you are comfortable shooting from where you can confidently make 7 out of 10 shots — before you even catch the ball.
Speaking of thought process….. When you’re about to take a shot, the only thought that should enter your mind is “make the shot.” Actually you probably shouldn’t have any thoughts in your mind when you shoot, but if that’s not possible, then you should never-the-less believe (and I mean absolutely convinced) that whatever shot you’re about to take, is a good one. My point is, during the actual “act of shooting” is not the time to second guess yourself. After the shot, or even after the game, is when you have some time to reflect, and that’s when you can evaluate, analyze, and learn.
Next, get your body into the correct shooting position before you receive the ball. Have your hands in a ready position, prepared to catch the ball. Make sure and catch it with your feet slightly in the air so that you land into a natural triple threat position with your knees bent and your strong foot slightly forward. When you catch it, the ball should already be in the shooting position. And you should be low and ready to explode into your shot.
Due to all these moving parts, if you’re not able to do these types of fundamental things without thinking, then you need to repeat it over and over until it’s a part of your muscle memory. It should be so natural that you do it without even thinking.
If you can get yourself into shooting position before you catch the ball, then you will be able to go right up with your shot without thinking or having to readjust anything. By creating this fundamental habit, it will allow you to get your shot off quicker, as well as keeping yourself in rhythm as you shoot.
There certainly are some other game-specific criteria that you must take into consideration before just firing up a shot – such as end-of-game situations, the team offense, foul issues, or specific teammate situations (i.e. your coach may want your post to get the ball inside the paint because of a mis-match), but learning about how to handle those situations is why you, and your team, practices every day.