The jump shot is one of the most iconic moves in basketball. With just the words “jump shot” images of game winning three point shots and powering over defenders to sink that shot come to mind. However, a jump shot can also be a fairly difficult move to perfect. While it may be easy to get the basic idea of the jump shot down, it is one of those techniques which perfecting can be very difficult. Luckily, though, a few simple steps can help anyone to improve their jump shot and their overall basketball game.
While it seems very obvious that trying to improve your shooting skills would result in a better jump shot, many seem to forget that the most important part of the jump shot is the actual jump. Remember the goal of a jump shot is to shoot over the player who is defending you. To this end, you want to make sure that your actual jump is high, smooth, and consistent. If your jump is not the same, or you cannot control how you jump and land on demand, you will not be able to shoot the same in different situations.
It may sound stupid, but one of the best ways to improve your jump shot is some simple exercise. Try doing some high intensity stretches or just working on developing your leg muscles and balance. If you can come up with a consistent pattern for exercise and stick to it, you should be able to notice massive differences in your coordinate, jumping ability and reflexes in a relatively short amount of time, probably within a month or so for those who remain dedicated.
Another way to improve your jump shot is simply by practice. No one ever simply picked up a basketball and was able to make perfect shots. One of the best and most proven ways for improving your shooting techniques is to start close to the basket and work your way out. Start by shooting close to the basket, even working on basic techniques such as lay ups and try to determine if you shoot better by aiming at the actual basket or banking the ball of the backboard. Once you have the technique down, move back a little bit. All of the time while practicing though, makes sure to remain consistent in your style and your jumping. Remember not to get lazy while practicing, it will only hurt you in the long run. Any good coach will tell you that the motto “Practice makes perfect” is wrong, and the real saying is something along the lines of “Perfect practice makes perfect”.
Remember while practicing that your basketball shot is not just a matter of moving your wrists and hands. Remember to think before you shoot, be aware of all your actions and how you perform them. If you notice that your jump is throwing your shot off, try and correct it. There is no time limit on how often you can practice. But remember to make the time that you do spend practicing count. When you practice a full shot, such as bending your knees, moving your head, using your wrists and hands, your are truly working to become a better shooter.
As you get better and more comfortable at making short distance jump shots, try moving out a little, eventually making it to the free throw line and onto three point shots. Even though everyone would love to be able to make three point shots every time they touch the ball, if you find that you are having trouble making free throws, you should wait a little bit before moving onto three point shots. If you find you are having difficulty with a particular point in the court, don’t move on before you have had a chance to master and improve what you are having difficulties with. Remember that it takes much longer than a day to master the jump shot. And if you find that are starting to do poorer and poorer after a long practice, it may be time to quit for the day. Being frustrated will not help you in any way.
In addition to moving around the court and practicing your shot, you may also find that doing a few simple drills will do wonders with your jump shot. Try this one: Starting at one side of the court, dribble (with control) at full speed down to the other side, make a controlled stop, and then sink the jumper. The goal of this practice is simple. You want to be able to make the break in a game, but still have enough control to stop when you need to, and enough concentration to land the jump shot from wherever you have to stop. Doing this drill ten or fifteen times during your practice routine should add immediate results to your in game performance.
One of the best ways to improve your jump shot is to actually think about what it feels like to take one. Over time, your jump shot should become something which is fluid and smooth. The more you practice, the more should be able to do it with a fluid motion, smoothly bring the ball from your chest to the tips of your finger, bending your knees without think about it, eyes trained to the rim, making that leap over the defender and finally putting the ball in the net. The best players are those who say that during a game they don’t have to think about their technique, and it is because they have spent so much time practicing it under so many conditions.
Remember that the jump shot is only one component of the game of basketball. Try not to focus entirely on one dimension of the game. As you improve each area of the game, you will find that other areas will improve as well. Basketball is a game in which it is very important to be well rounded, thus, create a practice routine which gives you experience with a variety of aspects of the game.
Sometimes it may seem that improvement takes a long time, or that certain skills are impossible to master. However, remember that, for the dedicated athlete, nothing is impossible, and knowing not to quit can be one of the most important skills of all.