A Case Study: Kobe Bryant’s Shooting Mindset

Shooting the basketball is a mentally challenging task. Why?

Because every time you miss a shot you feel like you’ve failed. We automatically make judgements about ourselves as shooters because shooting the ball is so black and white.  Either you make the shot and are successful or you miss the shot which means you are unsuccessful.

There is no middle ground. “Almost making a shot” doesn’t count for anything on the scoreboard. You don’t get half points for you shot going in and out, and in certain circumstances missing a shot might even get you put on the bench!

This constant stream of feedback can easily mess with your head. What do I mean by that?

 

I mean that when you shoot the ball you are getting messages sent to your brain that tell you that you are either a good shooter or a bad shooter depending on your performance.

In my experience some players are more naturally inclined to adopt a shooters mindset than others. Certain players are confident and self-assured while other players have to develop this confidence as they grow, mature, and work on their game – as a side note I definitely fall into this second camp, this is one of the biggest reasons why I wrote my E-Book on the exact steps I’ve taken to develop a shooters mindset.

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I believe that regardless of your natural inclination, if you put in the hard work you have the capacity to believe in your abilities as a basketball player. Some of the greatest shooters ever to play the game – ex. Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant – were also some of the most confident players. But confidence doesn’t mean that you have to be arrogant. It simply means that you have a confidence that can’t be shaken by external circumstances.

Bryant in particular, embodies the kind of confidence that you need when you want to become a great shooter. He has a special mindset when it comes to shooting the basketball. Bryant’s ability to block out the negative and focus on the next shot is special. This can be a difficult exercise because many of us are hardwired to think more about our mistakes than our successes. Check out this quote from Bryant, when he heard that fellow NBAer Deron Williams admitted that he stopped shooting after he started out a game 0-9 from the field.

“I’d rather go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game…the only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.”

Obviously some players have the license from their coach to chuck up 30 shots and others don’t; Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly one of those players. The point is not the number of shots, but the ability to take the next one with confidence.

This philosophy of this mindset rings true for great shooters. For some players after they miss 1 shot in a game, they will hesitate to take the second one. The point is this: whether you are 0-5 or 10-10, great shooters should trust in their training and abilities to believe that no matter what has happened they will not become psyched out of the game.

Here are 4 specific ways that will help you develop a shooters mindset.


 

1. Set Difficult Goals and FINISH THEM!!!

This is all about your mindset when you walk into the gym:

For example I could go to workout with the goal of making 100 three-point shots or I could challenge myself to make 10 out of 13 shots behind the three at 10 spots, and each time I fail to make the goal I force myself to do 20 pushups. There are a million different ways to push your mental capacity as well as your body during workouts.

Don’t let yourself settle for mediocre. Strive for greatness in every workout and push yourself to grow mentally and physically every time you step foot in a gym. This is the key to growth, and this is the key to your shooting success.

The difference is that the second drill puts pressure on you and forces you to raise your level of focus and concentration. Here is a good drill I like to do that challenges me, its called “The Crucible”.

 

Goal: Beat the clock and force yourself to make shots when you’re fatigued

  • Make 2 shots at 5 spots in 1min and 45sec
  • Between each shot you have to run and touch half-court
  • Once you’ve made 2 shots in a spot you move to the next spot
  • A great drill to help you learn how to make shots when you’re tired
  • Shooters have to be mentally tough when they are fatigued 

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2. Give yourself positive reinforcement

As I talked about at the beginning, being a shooter is a tough job. I would know because I’ve been shooting the basketball for a living for the past 3 years as a pro overseas.

My tendency is to remember my mistakes and forget my makes, but great shooters dwell on their successes and dismiss their failures. They instill a confidence in themselves that comes from knowing that they’ve paid the price.

One exercise to boost your confidence (especially before a game) is to watch a clip-tape full of yourself making shots. Ask your coach or manager to help you make a highlight film of your made buckets. This visual reinforcement will fill your mind with positive images and remind you of what you are capable of.

 

3. Watch video clips of other great shooters

We can learn a lot by watching great shooters and how they approach the game. It’s funny. I’ll find that the days when I have my best shooting workouts are the days in which I’ve been hanging out on YouTube watching highlight tapes of some of my shooting heroes (Steph Curry, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, Klay Thompson).

Watch a full game or highlight clips of your favourite shooter and see how they approach the game. Pay attention to their technique, demeanour, and reactions to both misses and makes. Steal little things from how they shoot the ball and incorporate it into your own game.

 

4. Create a “mindset” checklist

Write down your own mindset checklist with reminders of the things that you need to focus on when it comes to shooting the ball (I run through the exact process on how to do this in my book). Review this checklist before practices and games and start to engrain these principles into your psyche.

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Make your Shooting Checklist Now


 

Finally…

If you want to learn exactly how guys like Kobe Bryant have become legendary shooters, I’ve put together an E-Book that took me over a year to write. 

As I mentioned a few times the post, it is the culmination of what I’ve learned as a shooter over the last 3 years as a pro.

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Click Here to Discover the Secrets

I wouldn’t be selling this book if I didn’t 100% believe in what I’ve written. It has taken me nearly a full year to compile this material, because I wanted to share the exact mindset and techniques that have helped me raise my shooting percentage by 5% over the last several years.


I’ve Been Blessed to Have Been…

  • A 4 year Starter at a Division 1 College ProgramSBL Willetton vs Stirling & Goldfields - 11-7-14 & 12-7-14 - QMD
  • Won a Division 1 State Championship in High School
  • Be the leading scorer (30ppg) and 3 point shooter (45%) for two straight years playing professionally in Australia 
  • To have a career 40% three point shooter in College
  • To have played for great coaches and just finished my 3rd year as a pro
  • To have spent hundreds of hours training and coaching other players

The reason I started Arete Hoops was so I could help coaches and players grow in their leadership, influence, character, and discipline. 

And this E-Book is by far the best material I’ve ever come across on how to improve both the mental side of shooting while giving you practical steps to make improvement. I hope it serves you.

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Kyle Korver’s Shooting Secrets

In the 2014-2015 NBA Season Kyle Korver...

Shot 49% from 3-point, 49% from the field, and 89% from the free throw line. 

Here's how:

Test

1

Attention to Detail

Korver's commitment to excellence is expressed through his attention to detail. He meticulously combs through every aspect of his shot to make sure that he is shooting the same exact shot each and every time. In an interview with Andrew Kulp he outlines how his pursuit of perfection has lead him to construct a 20-point shooting that he has in the back of him mind at all times. Korver had this to say:

As I’m shooting, I have this list in the back of my head, and I know I’m not doing one or two of them. Once I feel I get all 20 of them clicking, then I’m going to have a natural rhythm in my shot.”


Kyle Korver

Kyle’s checklist covers every part of his shooting mechanics from his foundation, release, posture, feet, fingers, and feeling when he releases the ball. His attention to detail is exhausting. Check out Korver’s list below.

Korver's Shooting Checklist

1. Wide stance.

2. Exaggerated legs.

3. Drop through heels.

4. Engage core.

5. Slight bend at waist.

6. Up strong.

7. Elbow straight.

8. One hand.

9. Fingers spread.

10. Slight pause.

11. Elbow up.

12. Land forward.

13. See the top of the rim.

14. Ball on fingertips.

15. Strong shot.

16. Shoulders forward and relaxed.

17. Ball and arm risen straight.

18. Hold the follow through.

19. Keep the release point high.

20. On turns, square shoulders.

Click Here to Learn How to Make Your Own Shooting Checklist

To be clear, just because you pay attention to detail in order to improve yourself as a basketball player does not guarantee success. There is no guarantee that assures success in life or the game the basketball. There are hundreds of factors outside your control that can interfere with your athletic success. Injuries, coaching decisions, school politics, other players, are a few examples of the factors outside of your control.

BUT the key is to concentrate on the aspects of your game you are able to control. Shooting is one of the skills in basketball that you have an immense amount of control over. Korver’s shooting checklist is a prime example of this.

Learn the 5 Secrets of All Great NBA Shooters. Click Here.

Instead of focusing on the things outside of his control, he makes sure to concentrate on those things he can control, including; his effort, attitude, routine, technique, repetition, and habits.


2

Gain an Edge

You are faced with choices every day. You can choose to get in extra shooting sessions, you can choose to break down film of your shot, you can choose to work on your technique while teammates are practicing trick shots, you can choose to stay in the gym until you’ve made 10 consecutive jumpers. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but it does increase your chance to be successful. Not everyone who works hard is successful, but no there are no successful people who haven’t worked hard.

More importantly, one of the greatest sign of a commitment to excellence is the desire to find an edge over your competition. About two years ago, Korver was trying to find something that would rejuvenate his career and extend his days in the NBA. This search for an edge led him to discover the idea of misogi.

Misogi is the ancient Japanese idea of pushing your body beyond its perceived physical limits to the point of failure in order to expand your sense of what is possible.

Here’s what Korver's trainer had to say about his enthusiasm to push himself in unthinkable ways:

​“He has a search for truth, fearlessness, honor. He’s warrior-like and has an adventurous spirit. But especially because he’s always trying to be better.”

Marcus Elliot

Korver’s first Misogi was a 25 mile stand-up paddleboard trip across the open ocean. Korver had never set foot on a paddleboard before. 9 hours later the group reached their destination bleeding, sunburnt, and narrowly escaping the shark infested waters (click here to read about the entire adventure).

Korver had found his edge: 

And he wasn't about to let it go.

Hooked on the idea, Korver and his crew set out one morning during the Summer of 2014. They left for a California beach at 5am to complete their second misogi. They decided to do an underwater 5k while carrying huge rocks across the ocean floor. After nearly five hours of descending to the depths of the ocean and lugging a 85lb rock along the ocean floor (for stints that lasted as long as their lungs and legs would permit) the group had finished their second Misogi.

Photo by Chris Baldwin (click here for full story)

Korver’s quest to give himself an edge took him to a place where many athletes are unwilling to go. A place of pain and discomfort, a place that begs for you to give in and take the easy path home. But a commitment to excellence is not the result of success, it sets the parameters of it. 

 A commitment to excellence infiltrates every nook and cranny of your life and won’t leave you alone. It precipitates your thoughts and actions and refuses to let you take shortcuts. It holds you to a higher standard, a modus operandi that may seems strange to outsiders. It questions your limitations and refuses to let you settle for ‘just good enough’.


3

Find your "Grind Activator"

As of the 2014-15 NBA season Korver had been in the league for 11 seasons and he knew that he needed to find a mental edge to help him get through the grind of the NBA season.

He was looking for his "Grind Activator":

Korver found that going through that kind of sustained pain and discomfort (that he experienced during the misogis) eventually forces you to adopt an etherial sort of concentration and focus - otherworldly and divine. Korver has used these experiences to fuel him during the grueling demands of an NBA season.

This commitment is what sets Kyle apart from other players in the NBA. He was taken late in the second round of the NBA draft and wasn’t expected to make much of a splash in the NBA. Korver admits that his physical gifts are somewhat limited compared to many of the other guys in the league.

“I’ve never been the fastest guy,” and “I’ve never been the tallest guy. But I know how to keep going, to grind. It’s probably not one of the sexier gifts you can get, but it works.”

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Every player needs a "grind activator"...

That one thing that you can come back to time and time again that will reset your focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on circumstances. When you are in the game and your body is hurting, you feel out of rhythm, and the refs aren't giving you an calls, how are you going to react?

I believe that the most powerful confidence comes when you can return to the times when you pushed yourself beyond your limits and were able to endure. Korver used the idea of misogi to accomplish that for him, but your "grind activator" can be anything that inspires you to stay focused despite how you are feeling.

Find your grind activator and return to it during those times when you feel the "grind" starting to get to you.


Here's a shooting drill that guys like Kyle Korver use to get better.

This shooting drill is called: +Plus/-Minus Shooting

(For more great drills like this one click here.)


Plus/Minus Shooting

Goal: Put pressure on yourself to make shots when you are fatigued

  • Plus minus shooting assigns a point value for each shot that you make or miss. The traditional way to run these drills is you get +1 for a make and -1 for a miss. You continue shooting until you reach a cumulative score of +8 or -8 at each spot (you can adjust this number depending on how hard you want to make the drill).
  • If you want to increase the difficulty, you can penalize yourself -2 or -3 for a miss. Or, you can make it so the spot ends when you reach a high positive number (ex. +15) and a low negative number (ex. -4)
  • This type of shooting can be used to practice any shot on the court and is a great way to ensure high levels of concentration and intensity during shooting.


Finally...

If you want to learn exactly how guys like Kyle Korver have become legendary shooters, I've put together an E-Book that took me over a year to write.

It is the culmination of what I've learned as a shooter over the last 3 years as a pro.

Click Here to Learn More about The Book

I wouldn't be selling this book if I didn't 100% believe in what I've written. It has taken me nearly a full year to compile this material, because I wanted to share the exact mindset and techniques that have helped me raise my shooting percentage by 5% over the last several years.


I've been BLESSED to have been...

  • A 4 year Starter at a Division 1 College Program
  • Won a Division 1 State Championship in High School
  • Be the leading scorer (30ppg) and 3 point shooter (45%) for two straight years playing professionally in Australia 
  • To have a career 40% three point shooter in College
  • To have played for great coaches and just finished my 3rd year as a pro
  • To have spent hundreds of hours training and coaching other players

The reason I started Arete Hoops was so I could help coaches and players grow in their leadership, influence, character, and discipline.

And this E-Book is by far the best material I've ever come across on how to improve both the mental side of shooting while giving you practical steps to make improvement. I hope it serves you.

Click Here to Learn More about The Book


I just wanted to say thanks.

I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for people who are seriously serious about becoming better players, coaches, leaders, and people. 

​You're the reason we exist.


NBA Shooting Secrets

The majority of this content was originally produced for Stack. You can find the article here.

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If we think about the greatest shooters in NBA history,names like Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Barry, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Steph Curry immediately come to mind. What all of these great shooters have incommon might surprise you. The secrets of all great NBA  shooters has less to dowith the mechanics of how to shoot andmore to do with how they approach their craft.

Although I believe that adopting a traditional shooting stylegives you the best chance to make shots, there are countless examples of great shooters who have unorthodox shooting styles. Players like Larry Bird and Michael Reddwere great shooters yet their technique differed from more traditional shooterslike Steve Nash and Steph Curry. The common denominator among these players wastheir ability to make shots; ultimately the goal for any shooter is to see theball go through the hoop regardless of how it looks. The secrets of all great NBA shooters, from George Gervin to Larry Bird to Steve Nash can be boiled downto three simple truths.

 

Consistency

Consistency is the most valuable attribute any shooter can possess. It allows for a player to release the ball the same way each and everytime they shoot. During thousands of hours of practice and millions of practice shots, great shooters develop habits that give them a consistent shooting motion each and every time. Ultimately, consistency is more valuable than perfect shooting technique because consistency eliminates the extra variablesthat cause us to miss.

Think about what its like to shoot in game…shooters already have to deal with distracting variables that interrupt their timing, focus, and shooting rhythm. Fatigue, defensive pressure, and hostile crowds can play a role in causing a shooter to miss shots and lose their rhythm. But if a shooter also has to account for increased variability in their shooting motion, this adds another potential distraction to the mix. Shooters make shots when they rely on the consistency they have developed in practice; when they have to adjust their technique in the midst of a game, their chances of making shots decreases.

The great shooters shoot the same shot; each and every time they release the ball. Their mechanics (even if not technically perfect) are consistent from their feet to their upper body. This kind of consistency allows great shooters to make minor adjustments to their shot if they feel something is off. Instead of having to switch between alternating shooting styles, great shooters know instinctively how to make small changes because of the consistency they have developed in practice.

 

Key Points

  • Consistency is developed through 1000’s of hours of practice
  • It is more valuable than “perfect” technique
  • Consistency eliminates in game distractions
  • Shoot the same shot every time

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Rhythm

All great shooters have great rhythm. Perhaps the most stunning modern example of shooting rhythm is Steph Curry. He is a great case study for the importance of rhythm when shooting the basketball. The rhythm for Steph Curry’s jumper starts with his feet and moves to his upper body in one seamless motion. The foundation for his shot starts when his feet act as aspringboard for the rest of his shot. The energy that he generates from his feet – Steph uses both a two-footed and 1-2 foundation – allows him to generate enough power to get his shot off against more athletic defenders. He always quickly drives his feet into the floor before rising up to release the ball. This highlight the importance of gaining your rhythm from your lower body and allowing that momentum to feed into your shot.

Whether shooting off the dribble or from a standing position, the foundation of Curry’s shot gives him the rhythm and timing to be a great shooter. His feet start the momentum and he finishes his shot with a high release and a quick flick of the wrist. These aspects give him the ability to make shots from anywhere on the floor and rarely have to take shots where he is out of rhythm.

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Key Points

  • Great shooting starts with your feet
  • Your foundation powers your shot 
  • Your feet act as a springboard and allow for solid mechanics in your upper body

 

 

Mindset

The best shooters have a special mindset when it comes to shooting the basketball. The greatest shooters have a unique ability to block out the negative and focus on the next shot. This can be a difficult exercise because many of us are hardwired to think more about our mistakes than our successes. However, great shooters are able to maintain their confidence despite the number of shots they have missed. Great shooters develop an inner confidence and arrogance about their abilities that allow them to concentrate during a difficult stretch.

Kobe Bryant is someone who embodies this type of mindset when he was recently quoted as saying that..

“I’d rather go 0-30 before I wouldgo 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game…theonly reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.” 

Admittedly, Kobe’s shot selection is not always the greatest, and I’m not suggesting that players should shoot 30 shots when their having an off night, but this mindset rings true for great shooters. Whether you are 0-5 or 10-10, great shooters  trust in their training and believe that no matter what the next shot is going in.

Key Points

  • Confidence comes from practice
  • Shooters always believe the next shot is going in
  • A shooting mindset allows you to concentrate and focus on the next shot

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