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.
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
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.
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.
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.