Should I Be Practicing 3 Point Shots If I Am Not Good At Them?

All players have their strengths and weaknesses, no matter what level basketball they play. And not everyone is already a good 3 point shooter. Maybe you are effective at scoring from mid-range, or maybe you are more of a slasher and effective at attacking the basket. A common question I get asked is this:

 Should I be practicing 3 point shots if I am not good at them?

The answer is yes… EVENTUALLY.

Sorry. There is not one quick, easy answer that is the same for every player that has this question. Everyone’s game and everyone’s shot is unique. So to better answer that question we need to rephrase the question. The real question you need to be asking yourself is this:

Why am I not good at 3 point shots?

In order to help you answer this question and come up with a solution, I’ve outlined some steps to help you answer this question and ultimately become a better 3 point shooter.

  1. Analyze your shooting form.  This doesn’t matter who you are. All great shooters analyze their form, and focus on proper form and technique each time they start a workout. 
  1. Leave your ego at home.  If you go to the gym thinking “my form is good enough” – you won’t get any better.  Whether you have good shooting form or are struggling with your form and technique right now, the bottom line is make sure every time you do a shooting workout, you should be trying  to improve your form and technique.
  1. Start close and check your form. Start a couple feet from the basket and start checking your form. 
  • Is your balance good when you start your shot? Are your legs bent?
  • Are you gripping the ball correct? Do your thumbs make a “T” when you grip the ball?
  • Are you snapping your wrist and holding your follow through?

    You need to work through all facets of proper shooting form and technique to make sure you are ready to move to the next step. 
  1. Find your range with progression shooting. 
  • Start at the cone closest to the basket and shoot 10 rhythm shots here. If you make 6 shots or more, move back to the next cone.
  • Continue with this progression moving back. Remember, it is natural that in game situations your shooting % will go down. So when you are in the gym shooting uncontested shots, you want to make sure you’re able to hit more than 50% of these shots.
  • When you get to an area that you are not making 6/10 or more shots, you need to stop and try to figure out why?  
  • Move in one cone from where you are at. Shoot 10 shots again. If you make more than  5, take your step back and try again from the spot you were unsuccessful at a minute ago. 
  • You may have to repeat this step several times, but you’ll eventually figure out where your range is.

Ok You Found Your Range – Now What?

Finding your range is crucial. Don’t work on 3 point shots if your range is currently 12’ – you will only hurt yourself in the long run. You can move back 2’-3’ each time you try to increase your range…..but NO FURTHER! And if you start to struggle from any location, the answer isn’t to move further back, rather, MOVE IN and fix your problem first.

How Do I Get Better At 3’s If I Don’t Practice Them?

Ok- I know you are anxious to become a great 3 point shooter, but great 3 point shooters have great form and technique. You get this by starting in close, developing your shot, and GRADUALLY increasing your range. 

Steph Curry’s 25’ Jump shot was developed from 5’ away from the basket!

So, should you be practicing 3’s ???

Yes…….as soon as you have a consistent shot from 16’-17’. Otherwise you will do more harm than good. Take it slow and develop a shot that has good form and is repeatable by you..

Let’s say your range is 13’-14’.  Am I going to work on shooting 3 pointers?  Not yet. I’m going to work on increasing my range to the 15’-17’ range first.

Once I am consistently hitting around 60% of my shots from 16’-17’ THEN I will work on shooting from 19’-20’ (3 point range). 

You don’t want to find out your range is 12’ and decide to work on your 3 point shooting. This will only leave you frustrated and unsuccessful at becoming a 3 point shooter and you will probably develop bad habits.

Pay Close Attention To Misses

Misses to the right and left are what I call bad misses, especially if they are sometimes right and sometimes left. If your misses are right and left, spend extra time close to the basket working on form shooting until you correct this problem.

DO NOT continue to work on shooting deeper shots out to 3 point range if you have the majority of your misses going right or left. You will only create more shooting problems for yourself. 

Missing Short

If your misses are short as you move further back there could be a few problems.

  • Maybe you need to get stronger. More core and leg strength may really benefit adding range to your shot
  • Maybe you aren’t getting your legs into your shot enough.
  • Maybe you are not releasing on the way UP. 
  • Maybe the angle of your arm when you release is too low.

If you can consistently make from 15’  or 16’ and your form is good, try getting more legs into your shot.

If you still struggle, then maybe some added strength training in your core and legs will do the trick. 

Shoot The 3!

Everyone wants to practice 3 point shots and shoot them in games. Of course I want you to get there too.


It will take hard work and a conscious effort on your part to make sure you have good form and a consistent/repeatable shot as you move out to 3 range, but in the end, it will be worth the effort!

Now let’s get to work!

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3 years ago

SPOT ON! I really appreciate your step by step teaching style.

3 years ago

Great article, always hard seeing kids get in the gym and right away they go for the deep shooting.

2 years ago

Thanks man

Ben R.
Ben R.
2 years ago

This article was amazing!!! overall really helped me out. Just two years ago I dreamed of being the star player on my team, and for months I practiced. Also finding good websites for some nice tips and tricks. When I stumbled upon this website I read it then read over it! I told my self to be the best you must train like the best. I did the tips, and over next few months my skill started sky-rocketing point after point after point. I couldn’t be stooped, and now here I am playing on my schools A team (The best team to offer) and thinking… wow what a journey! From the bottom of my heat Thank You!!!

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