If you are reading this now, you are probably in a shooting slump. And when you think you are in a slump, you are definitely in one.
Maybe you made these mistakes in your last game:
- Passed up shots you would normally take (and make!)
- Took shots you would normally NOT make (and take!)
- Verbalized negative thoughts on the court after every miss
- Let your slump affect your defense and rebounding
In any of those cases, that hurts your team!
Your missed shots may result in your opponent’s made shots if you let YOUR misses linger in your mind…
Because as you are sulking, your opponent is sprinting down the court for an easy layup!!
These are problems I have personally experienced. I have managed to navigate countless shooting slumps as a player! And have led my players out of their shooting slumps!
I am going to show you exactly how to get out of YOUR shooting slump! I have guided my players (and myself) out of shooting slumps in just FIVE steps.
I guarantee you will get your shot back in no time!
Step #1: Attack the Basket!
In real estate, the three most important words are: Location! Location! Location!
On the basketball court, location is equally as important as it is in real estate. Are YOU taking shots that are outside of your range, off balance or out of rhythm?
If so, stop taking these shots!
Wait until the offseason to expand your shooting range, and above all, improve your “shot selection”! Maybe your slump is because you’re taking too many TOUGH shots that you have not mastered yet.
Just by improving your shot selection might be the only thing you need to do!!
If that is not the issue, then read further…
Ok, you are taking jump shots you would normally take (and shots that the coach has told you to take). Do not assume your next outside shot will go in.
Change things up!
You can only break your slump by seeing the ball go through the hoop. So what are the two easiest shots to make in basketball?
Layups and free-throws!
So when you have the ball, attack the basket!
If your shot gets blocked, then so be it. On to the next play!
More likely, you will either make the layup, get fouled, or both! An “And 1!” layup can be an awesome slump-breaking moment!
Yes! ONE play can END your slump!
But how can you break your slump when you do NOT have the ball?
You can ALWAYS do these three things WITHOUT the ball:
- Cut hard to the basket
- Sprint ahead in transition
- Crash the offensive glass
Have you always done these three things? If not, start doing that now!
What if you tried attacking the basket and moving purposefully without the ball and yet the slump still persists?
Then let’s move on to the second step.
Step #2: Ask Your Coach for Advice!
Now you know it is not just a one-game blip and it is a serious multi-game shooting slump. You’re probably asking your parents and friends for advice on how to turn things around.
But did you ask your coach for advice?
The first step I outlined was FROM my coach when I went into a shooting slump. I made it a point to attack the basket when I knew my three-point shot was not falling.
And it worked! I got out of my shooting slump in a big way! I ended up helping my team win a key conference game!
But what has worked for me in the past may not work for you in the future.
What works for you? Ask your coach!
How can your coach help?
In the next game, your coach can draw up a play for you to get you an open jump shot at your go-to spot (e.g. running a double screen to get you an open shot at the top of the key).
Your coach can also tell you if you have a subtle flaw in your shooting mechanics which is causing your slump.
Then you can correct it in practice!
But what if you doing what your coach is asking you to do but the shots are still not falling?
Then ask yourself this question…
Step #3: Ask if an Injury is Affecting Your Shot
You are doing everything you can to get the ball close to the basket – whether you have the ball or not. You are doing everything the coach asks of you.
But if you are still in a prolonged shooting slump, ask yourself…
Is there an injury that is hurting your jump shot?
Remember, shooting the ball correctly involves fingers, two hands, two arms, two legs, two ankles, and core muscles, all of which must be strong enough to keep your body aligned just as the shot is taken.
If any one component is removed, then it can potentially HURT your jump shot!
Listen to your body! If you are injured, sit out!
Don’t like to miss games? Me neither!
But your injury might be behind your shooting slump! It may be worth it to miss the next game to get back on track for the rest of the season.
Temporarily changing your shooting to compensate for a short-term injury is going to hurt your jump shot in the long run. Do not do this!
If your injury forces you to change your shooting mechanics, the injury is probably worse than what was previously thought.
But assuming you are not injured… take this next step.
Step #4: Adjust Your Pregame Routine
I always had to spend 45 minutes getting shots up at a local gym before each game.
Any longer and I was worn out for the game. Any shorter and I was not properly warmed up.
Bottom line: if I didn’t get my 45 minutes on the court, I knew I would miss my first few shots in the game!
Is that true for you as well?
Do you have to have an exact routine like I did?
Has that routine been affected? Did it hurt your game like mine?
What to do if the answer is YES:
If you find yourself with the same problem as I did, do this one thing.
Take every shot in the layup line like it is the game-winning shot!
The harder you go in the layup line, the less you think about your shooting slump. The increased blood flow will get you in a better state of mind prior to the game.
You may want to just shoot layups and practice form shooting on the blocks, so you go into the game with (most likely) a perfect shooting percentage!
What if the pregame routine is sound though? What if the shooting slump is so prolonged that it has to be resolved on the practice court?
Step #5: Practice for 30 Extra Minutes!
If time allows, ask your coach if you can go to the gym 30 minutes prior to practice. One of three things will happen if your coach says yes:
- You get 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to shoot whatever shot you need
- Your coach puts you through a slump-busting workout
- Your teammates want to join you for extra work on their own
All of these outcomes are awesome!
But if you get to shootaround on your own, let me give you one piece of advice:
Only take shots inside of five feet for the first 15 minutes.
Why only five feet?
When you are in a full-blown shooting slump, you begin to think about your shooting mechanics and this is one of the WORST things a shooter can do.
You start to think, and thinking is not doing!
Your jump shot has to be so ingrained in your psyche that you no longer think about how you are going to shoot the ball.
As you take these five-foot shots, you will subconsciously get your confidence back as the ball goes in over and over again.
But what if you have taken all five steps and STILL cannot get going in the game?
Then try this!
Bonus Step: Breakthrough Basketball’s Unique Shooting Routine
Breakthrough Basketball has a break-in-case-of-emergency lever for serious shooting slumps. If these five steps have not worked, then do this the next time you step on the practice court!
The nine-step routine is:
- Take 5 shots about 8 feet from the basket.
- Now take the same 5 shots with your weak hand
- Take 5 free-throws with your weak hand
- Take 5 three-pointers with your weak hand
- Take 5 half-court shots with your strong hand
- Stand on one leg, take 5 shots with your strong hand
- Do the same thing as #6, but now close one eye (it’s OK to miss here)
- Now do the same thing as #7 but NOW shoot with your WEAK hand
- Finish the shooting session by taking mid-range jump shots with your strong hand (by this point, taking a normal shot should be much easier than the previous steps!)
This routine gives your mind and body a unique perspective on how difficult it is to make a jump shot. The routine tears you down and then builds you back up.
Shooting slumps happen to the best players on the biggest stages. Even the greatest players and teams in NBA history missed key shots, such as:
- Michael Jordan shot less than 50% in his NBA career
- The Houston Rockets (led by then-league MVP James Harden) missed 27 straight three-pointers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals (1-in-72,000 odds!!!)
So YOU can have a shooting slump too! If you take these five steps I outlined, you will get out of your shooting slump in NO time!