Shooting a basketball is like swinging a golf club: it requires hundreds of hours of practice to develop consistent muscle memory. For a lot of young players, unfortunately, they develop flawed shooting mechanics at a young age, and the practice they put in reinforces those flaws. All of a sudden, they're playing in high school, and it's too late.
Start With The Fundamentals
The reality is that shooting is a living, breathing exercise. What I mean by that is that you need to understand and learn the fundamentals of shooting, first and foremost. From your feet to your hand placement, and your eyes to your follow through, shooting is a full body exercise that is both mental and physical.
The advice from Steph Curry below is spot on: if you start out shooting with a major flaw in your mechanics, "It's the deadliest sin in basketball."
For me, becoming a good shooter started with watching guys who could really shoot. Take a look at this short clip of NBA guard, Max Strus. There isn't a lot of wasted motion in his shot, his body goes straight up and down, and he doesn't dip the ball when he catches it. His feet are shoulder width apart and pointed at the rim.
Repetition Is Everything
Once you have good mechanics, repetition is everything. When you hear people say, "put in the work," this is what they mean. You need to teach your brain and your body that this is how you shoot a basketball every time. Not once in a while. EVERY TIME.
How good (and how fast) you become will ultimately come down to the work you put in. You simply can't take 50 shots a day and expect to see rapid improvement.
For another visual example, take a look at Devin Booker. Pay particular attention to his feet, his elbow/hands, and his follow through. Notice how he loads his wrist on the catch and practices slowing down stepping into the catch of the ball. None of this requires great athleticism. It's attention to detail, over and over again.
The Best Teaching Resources
To put you in the absolute best position to succeed, the four shooting coaches below are the best that I've come across and can add immediate value to your game. Dave is the only one with a book, but you'll get a lot of value out of watching the videos below.
When I was young, I got to witness the great Dave Hopla. Dave is world-renowned shooting coach, and his demos are legendary. He'd often start in close and then move further and further back until he was practically hitting shots from half court. Dave wrote a great book back in 2012. For a lot of young players, though, they simply don't have the attention span to read a book. If that's the case, check out Dave's Instagram feed, where he shares a lot of short video content to help you improve your shooting mechanics.
For more on Dave, check him out on YouTube as well, where he shares more advice and gets into a bit more detail.
Mike Dunn is a tremendous shooting teacher. Mike's entire Instagram account is dedicated to shooting, and I love the fact he doesn't just tell you what to do, he shows you. Mike also has more long-form content on YouTube.
Chris Matthews, aka "Lethal Shooter" works with a ton of NBA players to fine tune their shots. Similar to Dunn, Matthews has some great tips on his Instagram account that are actionable right away. He includes additional content on his YouTube page, that includes interviews with NBA players, demos, and ways to improve.
In this example, he focuses in on hand placement.
Phil Handy is an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. When he's not with the Lakers, Phil runs a lot of youth camps and has a passion for individual skill development. In this video, Phil provides some great tips in only 5 minutes.
If you have specific shooting questions that I didn't answer, please send me an email on our contact page, and I'd be happy to offer you whatever advice I can. The same goes for other basketball training questions. I can't guarantee you'll like my answers, but I'm happy to share what helped me in my career.
For more basketball content, check out the Basketball section of our blog.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
Check out healthy energy drinks from Celsius: