The Anatomy of a Basketball Jump Shot

The 5 Main Pillars of a Great Jump Shot

Let’s start by defining the jump shot: shooting the basketball from more than 3 feet away from the basket. A jump shot can be simple or very complex depending on the 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 professional and amateur players struggle to perform this fundamental action that leads to 2 or 3 points, which is the name of the game. Put points on the board as many times as possible from anywhere on the court.

To truly understand why some players make jump shots look so easy, we need to peel back the layers and understand the 5 different pillars needed (when all working together) to produce consistent results.

1. Confidence

The number one way to improve your jump shot percentage is to increase your confidence in your abilities. I know it’s very frustrating to shoot the ball and only make 1 out of 10 shots.

A positive mental attitude will improve your performance on its own without any practice. Mental visualization will also help you improve your performance without the need to practice. It all starts with your mind. If your mind isn’t thinking straight, your jump shot and most other aspects of 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 than not it won’t happen.

2. Vision/Focus

The two-way number one for improving your jump shot is vision and focus. Just before you throw 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 must be clear and relaxed when you throw the ball. Your muscle memory should take over as you confidently watch the ball cross 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 on your mind.

3. Pound

The triple number 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 gives them the opportunity to make such a high percentage of jump shots. Look at Richard Hamilton (Pistons), Ray Allen (Celtics) or old-school legends like Larry Bird (Celtics) or Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers).

No matter what your jump shot looks like, if you have good balance, you’ll shoot a higher percentage. When practicing shots, pay attention to how you place your feet, which way your shoulders are facing, how you hold the ball, anything out of place can cause friction and upset your balance.

Key Point: Your jump shot should feel good when you shoot the ball. If not, make small adjustments until it starts to feel right.

4. Small (Micro) Adjustments

Your jump shot will live or die based on 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.

See yourself as a piano tuner. The piano tuner makes small adjustments to all the piano strings 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 inner harmony.

Key point: Don’t be afraid to make small adjustments, but any adjustments you make should feel good and the ball should go into the basket at a higher percentage.

5. Rhythm and Harmony

Like a grand symphony orchestra and the flows of nature, your jump shot is a work of art plain and simple. Many works of art are beautiful, abstract, and some are considered bizarre. In most cases, great jump shooters have natural God-given abilities that have made the sport of basketball easy for them.

Everyone has to find their own special rhythm on the basketball court that works for them, but it has to be in harmony with their teammates or they won’t make beautiful music together.

Key Takeaway: If you shoot with rhythm, you’ll take more shots.

In conclusion; With a few fine-tuning and a little practice, anyone can develop the skill of shooting the basketball. By paying attention to these five pillars and doing a little self-assessment, your jump shot will improve and you’ll find your confidence growing with each new jump shot you take.

Coach Duane waits

P.S. Leave a comment if you have a special jump shot technique that helped you improve your game.

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