How to Become a Better Shooter in Basketball

The most important skill you can learn about playing basketball is how to shoot the ball consistently well. 

Shooters who are able to hit high percentage shots at any time during a game tend to win games.

If you want to improve as a player quickly, it’s necessary that you develop some basic skills around this aspect of the game. 

As an added bonus, these skills will also help with other aspects of the game such as passing and defense.

It’s easy to get distracted by all sorts of things when practicing your shot. 

Many players focus too much energy on making their shot perfect before each drill or live-action practice session. 

While this may be good enough for shorter drills, it doesn’t take into account what happens once actual gameplay begins. 

You have to keep in mind that there are only so many hours available per day to spend on practices. 

Therefore, it’s more valuable to refine and hone your overall skillset instead of spending countless hours trying to make every single move look “perfect.” 

Instead, put emphasis on improving your ability to play while taking consistent quality shots.

Steps to improving your shooting in basketball

Now, let’s go over five simple tips that will help you master the art of becoming a great shooter.

1. Practice your shooting regularly

how to become a better shooter in basketball - practice shooting regularly

One mistake new players often make is skipping out on the fundamentals just because they feel like they’re already pretty skilled. 

That leads them to believe that they don’t need to continue learning specific techniques for certain situations. 

However, if you want to stay sharp as a player, you should always try to incorporate different scenarios into your regular training routine

For example, do not skip out on running sprints just because you think you know where you’ll end up next season. 

Even though you might already know exactly where you plan to set screens and cuts, you still need to run sprints to see how fast you can actually travel without breaking down.

Not only does doing this type of exercise increase your speed, but it also helps to build muscle mass which improves athletic performance.

So, get into the habit of working on your shooting each and every day.

And by the way…

We’re talking figures like 300 to 500 shots per day here!

Similarly, basketball shooting requires that you carefully adjust your position based on the whereabouts of your team mates and the opposition guarding you. 

This is where you’ll want to incorporate the practice of moving yourself away from your opponent before you get a shot off, which can be difficult to do due to the fact that you could easily injure yourself if you immediately jump off the spot. 

To prevent injuries, use caution when attempting to perform this activity. 

Also, pay attention to whether or not you’ve mastered the technique properly.

If you find yourself falling back toward the basket, then you probably haven’t yet learned how to execute the proper follow through correctly.

In addition to practicing, you should also consider implementing video analysis software into your daily workouts. 

These programs allow you to review clips of previous shooting performances and give you instant access to information regarding everything from foot movement to offensive tendencies. 

They typically provide very detailed statistics related to various elements of the sport. 

Some even offer free trials in order to test its usefulness and determine how it compares to using traditional paper records. 

Once you’ve determined the program’s effectiveness, you can decide whether or not you’d prefer to stick with it since it has been proven effective.

2. Take shots from multiple angles

how to become a better shooter in basketball - take shots from multiple angles

When first looking at the basketball court, you usually assume that the best angle to shoot from comes directly behind you. 

After thinking about it further, however, you realize that this isn’t necessarily true. 

There are several factors involved in determining the optimal location to catch a pass. 

First, you must figure out the distance between you and the person throwing the pass. 

Second, you’ll want to calculate the velocity of the pass so you’ll be sure to catch it cleanly. 

Finally, you should factor in the height of the rim itself.

Taking shots from multiple locations gives you greater freedom in terms of deciding where to throw the ball. 

And ultimately, by choosing to shoot anywhere along the arc, you can potentially score points even when your teammate misses his attempt.

Increasing your familiarity with different areas of the court should improve your range of shooting, as angles that used to be typically awkward to throw the ball from become a walk in the park to make a basket at.

3. Refine your shooting form and positioning

how to become a better shooter in basketball - refine your shooting form and positioning

Although you’re capable of hitting a wide array of shots from varying areas on the court, you shouldn’t neglect the importance of refining your form. 

Even Steph Curry – a key member of the Golden State Warriors NBA team – recommends working on your shooting form.

In summary, he posits that players should:

  • Focus on shooting reps close to the basket;
  • Gradually increasing your distance from the basket;
  • Building endurance to make 100 perfect shots during a session

Refining your mechanics means performing exercises that require less physical exertion but produce similar results. 

Since you may not have the luxury of having a trainer standing beside you throughout the entire duration of a workout, you should always strive to maintain correct posture and keep your body balanced. 

Make sure you’re keeping your head up and square with the direction you intend to shoot.

Don’t lean forward excessively or flop backwards. 

Keep your arms relaxed and your elbows bent at 90 degrees. 

Avoid swinging your wrists in circles in order to generate power.

With regards to your feet, ensure that you step with your toes pointing forwards rather than facing outward in a manner resembling walking pigeon-toed. 

More so, try to relax while performing all of these activities. 

If you notice that you’re tenser than normal, chances are that you aren’t fully engaged in what you’re doing. 

Take deep breaths to calm down and remind yourself to concentrate solely on the task at hand.

4. Exercise your follow through stance after shooting

how to become a better shooter in basketball - exercise your follow through stance after shooting

A common error made by novice shooters is to stand completely erect immediately following a shot.

If done incorrectly, this action can hinder your balance and cause injury. 

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. 

Lean slightly forward to reduce the amount of weight resting on your heels. 

Hold onto something sturdy (such as a bench) in case you slip.  

Ensure that your knees remain locked. 

And then aim your eyes towards the target area.

An alternative method involves leaning backwards slightly as you extend your arm.

If you’ve never tried this approach, it can be disconcerting at first. 

Just remember that you’re giving yourself extra space to absorb the force of the shot and thus minimize potential damage. 

Leaning back causes you to bend forward while supporting the majority of your weight with your hands. 

It’s important to strike a balance between staying upright and maintaining a strong frame.

And whenever possible, make use of full-court warmups prior to official practices. 

Full-court runs are excellent ways to work on dribbling, passing, and shooting simultaneously. 

Pay close attention to your form when catching passes and driving the length of the court. 

During these sessions, it’s especially vital to concentrate on executing precise movements efficiently. 

Remember to breathe deeply while running. 

Focus on getting your timing down for steps, pivots, and fakes. 

Be aware of how far ahead of the pack you currently are. 

Concentrate on getting your moves crisp and smooth.

5. Ask for coach feedback

how to become a better shooter in basketball - ask your coach for feedback

Sometimes players overlook details that seem obvious to coaches themselves, as the former can sometimes lack insight into how their own team members function effectively together. 

Ask questions if you ever experience problems adapting to changes in offensive strategy. 

Always ask questions pertaining to how opponents defend against you specifically. 

Never hesitate to contact your coach if you notice anything wrong with your current form or positioning. 

Because they’ve dealt with many players in the past and the present, they should easily recognize areas where you can improve the accuracy of your shooting.

What makes a great basketball shooter?

Players like Lebron James are great basketball shooters primarily because they can be relied upon when their team is under pressure to score points.

It doesn’t matter whether that player is performing a lay up from close range, a three-point shot from beyond the arc or even a basic free throw.

A great shooter is reliable and his or her team mates can depend on them to make the basket.

They will also have a versatility to make accurate shots even when they come under pressure from opponents who try to block their attempts.

How do you become a confident shooter in basketball?

Practice! Practice!

And practice again!

Becoming a confident shooter all starts with making the baskets when no one is watching.

Once you become comfortable with shooting from a variety of positions, you will naturally begin to believe in your own ability to take and make shots during competitive games.

The best way is to start by trying to pull off shots from easy positions, and gradually progress to making the harder shots that generally involve greater distance and wider angles.

Check out the video below, as it also offers some insight on how players can work on bettering their shooting:

How long does it take to become a good shooter in basketball?

The answer to this question will depend on how frequently you work on your shooting deficiencies.

If you’re the kind of person that only takes to the court once per week, then it could be years before you see any kind of noticeable progress in your ability here.

Conversely, if you’re more dedicated and practice your shooting approximately four to five times every week, then it’s reasonable enough to day that you should become a better shooter in about a handful of months provided that you’re employing the right training strategies and techniques.

Of course, you should set reasonable expectations for yourself, because even after you refine your shooting skill you may still end up with the occasional air ball miss!

Final thoughts

Most importantly, remember that no two athletes are alike. 

Everyone learns differently and reacts differently under pressure. 

Every athlete has unique strengths and weaknesses. 

Your job as a player is to exploit those assets to maximize your capabilities.

If you meticulously follow the five guidelines mentioned in the article, you’ll soon discover that the art of becoming a better shooter in basketball is within reach!

For more content that walks you through various basketball game improvements, have a read of the articles below:

About Samuel Waihenya

Samuel is an avid fan of basketball and has been following the sport for over 10 years. He now intends to dedicate his time to produce great content for his own little basketball blog that aims to help its readership with whatever basketball-related topic they can think of. Have a read through Samuel Waihenya's author bio page here.