You'll Have Them. You'll Get Out of Them.
Shooting slumps. All basketball players will go through them. What’s also true is that all basketball players will come out of them. It’s the nature of the game. Here are two reasons why you may be in a shooting slump: One, because of your shot mechanics and two, because of your confidence - or lack of it.
Let’s address how we can work out these issues, so that you can not only get out of your slump, but quickly address them when they happen again and build long-term habits to help you be more consistent.
Common Reasons Why Players Are Inconsistent
Your shooting form is how you hold the basketball to shoot. Your shot mechanics are the components in the start to finish motion of how you shoot the basketball. It’s what you do in your shot. Some of the most common shooting form and mechanical issues are:
- Footwork and balance
- Shooting hand is not under the middle of the ball
- Shooting hand elbow is out
- Hitch in your shot
Here’s what you should do if you find any of these to be an issue in your shot.
Start In Close
Focus on shooting with perfect form and isolating whatever your problem is. When I train my players or I’m working on my own shot, it’s always about starting in close.
The 5 Spot Close Repetition 100 Makes drill from the Swish Hoop® Player App is one of the most important drills a player can do for everyday shooting routines or for fixing their shot because you get to really hone in on your form and watch the ball go in.
So, when you’re addressing your mechanical issues, start in close.
Let’s say your issue is with the guide-hand thumb. Do 1-handed shadow form shooting by taking your guide hand slightly off the ball. This is going to isolate how you hold the ball in your shooting hand, which is the cause of why your guide-hand thumb is affecting your shot.
You likely haven't been holding the basketball in the middle of the ball with your shooting-hand fingers wide enough to have an equal distribution of power on both sides of the ball. To fix this, think about stretching your hand to make an "L" shape with your thumb versus a "J" shape.
In form shooting, some trainers would recommend using one hand and keeping the other down behind your back, but I prefer shadowing the guide hand close to the ball to mimic your shooting form as close as possible. You can also leave your hand down by your side. It’s a preference thing, choose what’s most comfortable for you.
Make 100 total shots from 5 spots in close and then restart the drill and put your guide hand back on the ball, focusing on maintaining your proper hand placement and ideal form. Regardless of what your issue was, make sure on every shot that you focus on maintaining your new, improved habit.
Move Back When You're Ready
When you feel comfortable shooting again, move back to the mid range and maintain that same form. If you’re a three point shooter, you can back up when you feel ready. When I’m in a slump, I don’t leave the mid-range area until the end of the workout, so again choose your preference based on how you're performing.
Do this sequence for any other form or mechanical issues you have in your shot. If you don’t know how to identify what’s wrong in your shot, see how to correct your shooting form to learn more.
Lack of Confidence
The other most likely reason you’re in a shooting slump is because of your lack of confidence. You just haven’t seen the ball go down in a while, shots that look good are in and out. It happens.
Because of this, you may be overthinking what you need to do to get out of the slump. And because you’re overthinking what you need to do, you’re now searching for any slight thing that feels off in your shot, and it's a repetitive loop of knowing something’s not right.
The good news is that it can be fixed and it will go away.
Stop Thinking About Your Missed Shots
Visualize the shot that you are shooting now going in. You won’t hit your shots unless you believe they’re going in. When you normally are shooting well, you probably don’t even realize that you have the belief in it going in, but you do. And if you can't think positively, at the least - stop thinking negatively.
If your mind is stuck on the missed shots of the past, no matter what you tell yourself about how the next shot is going in - you’ll be shooting with false confidence.
When you've missed a lot of shots, sometimes it's not about increasing positive talk to yourself, but rather stopping the negative talk.
I see it all the time with players who get down on themselves quickly. They swear, pout, raise their hands in disappointment. The energy you're putting into your frustration is not going to help you make shots.
And the thing is - you have a choice of how you respond emotionally. It's 100% in your control.
Stay neutral, believe you’re going to make the next one and that now is the time you’re going to turn things up. At the least, remove any negativity.
Shoot Game Shots
Build your confidence by making a lot of shots from in close, then back up to the mid range and three point. More importantly, you need to work on the shots that you're going to be taking in the game.
If you don’t normally shoot 3’s then move in. If you normally come off of a lot of screens, do a lot of shooting work off screens.
By practicing what you normally shoot in the game, you’re building the confidence in yourself that you’ve lost in this shooting slump. When you see those same looks in the game, you’ll know that you’ve put in the work to deserve to hit them.
Be Specific When Possible
The more detailed you are about the shots you see in the game, the better you can prepare. If you know that your league defends your team with a 2-3 zone and your shots generally come after you sprint the baseline, work on getting into your shots after sprinting the baseline. If you have access to your game film, that's a great way to see how you are defended and where your shots typically come from.
There’s nothing wrong with adding parts to your game, but when you’re in a shooting slump you especially want to stick to what you do best and often.
Start Now: A Workout to Get You Back
The Slump Doctor is a great workout from the Player App with 330 total shots from close, mid-range and 3PT to work on your consistency. It got its name specifically for players looking to get out of a shooting slump.
You can do this one on your own, but it’s ideal to have a rebounder or partner to switch off with so that you can catch and shoot.
Long-Term Solution: Build a Routine
Even the best shooters get into shooting slumps. Yes, even players in the NBA and WNBA. Lapses due to physical or mental fatigue are inevitable, so this makes being an outstanding shooter in every single game virtually impossible.
What you can do to limit the duration of them though is to build a routine that breeds consistency.
Before all of your workouts, practices and games, staying faithful to your routine can help you build confidence in your shot before you start going full speed. By incorporating those same shots you’ll see in a game into your routine, when it comes time to perform in the game, it’ll feel like second nature.
Don't talk negatively to yourself, put the work in and you’ll be back on track in no time.